Reinventing Ourselves

We wake up each day with a clean slate to reinvent ourselves.

I struggled with low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, being extremely sensitive and empathetic my entire my life.

Being sensitive and empathetic are not traits that my family admire. I felt weak for crying and showing emotion. I started to suppress all emotions.

In my family, being negative is the way they live. We’d get into arguments because my views were completely different than theirs. I felt like an outcast; I am definitely the black sheep in my family.

My first suicidal thought came when I was eight years old. I didn’t take action until eighth grade. I was fascinated with death. I just wanted to be free. I wanted it all to end. I couldn’t stand it anymore.

My soul felt old and worn. I was home alone after school one day and I remember taking my dad’s belt and tightening it around my neck. I couldn’t find pills and there was nowhere to hang myself from in my home, so I thought I would suffocate myself. I tightened the belt as tight as it would go while sitting on my kitchen floor and that’s when I heard my parents unlocking the front door. Startled, I stopped trying that day.

I didn’t try again for a while, though every night I’d hit rock bottom. I’d pray that my life would be taken away. I had no energy to keep going on, yet somehow, I did.

I started self-harming freshman year of high school. It turned into an addiction rather quickly. To me, at the time, cutting myself was keeping me alive instead of killing myself. Deep inside I was crying for help. No one in my school ever knew I was deeply depressed. I was a fabulous actress.

I started seeing a therapist sophomore year of high school until senior year. I was in the car with my dad and I didn’t know what else to do but ask for help. Some nights it felt like I didn’t want to die but I didn’t want to live.

The act of breathing was too exhausting. I was beginning to feel tired of feeling this way. I didn’t know what else to do. My dad called my mom at work and the pediatric she worked for recommended a psychiatrist.

I barely ever opened up to anyone and I found it difficult to spill my guts to a therapist I just met. Usually, I would write in a journal which is something I still do. And it truly helps – especially if you don’t want to talk to anyone about your thoughts or emotions.

It took a very long time to find a therapist that didn’t automatically play the blame game. I was prescribed four drugs at a time. Each therapist wanted to give a different antidepressant or antipsychotic. None of those drugs made me feel better. In fact, I felt they separated me more from the outside world and from myself. I felt like I was numb and floating along. There was still no sign of happiness or peace of mind. At first, I thought that would be better than to feel everything so intensely. Turns out, as I grew older, I felt the opposite. My life was passing before my own eyes.

Music and playing the guitar helped me through my worst times. I graduated from high school and then from a two-year college. I stopped seeing a therapist after senior year. I got off all of those medications as well.

After I genuinely started to love myself, I “lost” all of my friends. They weren’t friends to begin with, is what I realized. I had allowed myself to be walked on and treated horribly. I couldn’t stand up for myself.

I thought it was what I deserved. I thought that if I kept filling these relationships with love and understanding, it’d be better. Well, it never got better. I attracted narcissist after narcissist. I was completely drained.

I’m still learning how to set boundaries. I learned that being alone is better than having people around just to use you and your goodness. Besides, I find myself alone, not lonely.

I’m lonely when I’m with people who do not give the same energy I give out. I was never taught that I am valid and how I feel is valid. I’d get yelled at for everything and anything. Even things I didn’t actually do. At the time I was naïve. I didn’t understand how family could make you feel this way or treat you this way. In my head, they were family, and that meant they were right. I was in complete denial.

Now, at 22 years old, I can genuinely say I’ve never been better. I know my worth. Doing yoga has helped save my life. Music and the arts have always been my lifeline.

Now that I feel that I deserve to live and as I instill hope and goals in myself, it is easier to go on. There are countries I want to explore and more concerts I want to attend. I am grateful to be alive every day. I was not supposed to die just yet.

There is more to life that I am meant to experience. In all of my struggles, I learned valuable lessons. I learned how to be independent, how to express my emotions safely, and most of all how to love myself. I am enough.

If we all walk this earth knowing we deserve the best of the best, we won’t have these issues. When a negative thought comes into your mind telling you are not worth it, know it is not true. We must nurture ourselves and love ourselves the way our soul craves. Only we know how to do that. Only we are capable of loving ourselves to that extent.

I know – it is easier said than done. If you treat yourself the way you’d treat your best friend, your life will change for the better. You’ll feel powerful in the best way.

You’ll look back at those days when you were so full of self-loathing that you’ll wonder why it took you so long to make the choice just to love yourself. You are good enough. You are worth it.

You can do it. It’ll take time, but you will get there.  Every single person on this earth deserves to be alive. We wake up each day with a clean slate to reinvent ourselves.

Create yourself to be kind, understanding, gentle, and passionate. Do not turn into the person that hurt you. It is okay to leave negative people behind – it does not matter how long they have been in your life. Stand up for yourself.

You deserve it. Spread your light and your love to all living beings. If I can do it, anyone can.

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Michelle Kelly

Michelle Kelly is a freelance writer from NYC. She specializes in health + wellness, activism, art, and music. She recently published her first ebook which is filled with healing gluten-free and vegan recipes. When she’s not writing poetry or advocating for animals she’s playing guitar or planning her next travel adventure. You can check out her blog here


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