Years ago, suffering from my own mental illness, I came across a quote that made me stop and think for a second. Scrolling through Tumblr I read “Sometimes you hit a crossroad in your life where you either change or self destruct.” At that moment, I took a step back and realized I was the only one in control of my life and it was up to me to decide what I wanted to do about it. I picked myself up and pushed myself to get out of bed. To see the good in the world, as hard as it was on some days. Although it was hard, it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and to this day, four years later, this quote still sticks in my mind whenever slip back into a mild depression and helps me pull back out of out.
So why was it that Ester diminished into a pit of self hate and destruction? She had it all; from travelling on her own to New York, to her first proposal, and even the loss of her virginity. She had reached the milestones of what womanhood was considered to be, yet instead of being filled with pride and satisfaction, she broke down feeling nothing but despair and sadness. Was it the stress of leading a life she felt like she couldn’t uphold? Or were the standards of society simply too far to reach? How many other young adults destruct when hitting this crossroad? What is it inside us that defines whether we are going to push harder or fall back when we are hit with the brick wall of mental illness? These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves when acting upon self care. If you are experiencing the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness like those Ester and I have experienced, it is time for a change. Not out of destruction, but of self-preservation.
The novel, Bell Jar, follows the character Ester, on a destructive path showing the overwhelming reality that can come of depression. I can only hope that others who are experiencing forms of mental illness can get the courage to love themselves again, because believe me, its worth it.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. London: Faber and Faber, 1966. Print.