When I was 17 years old, I realized that I was depressed. Each summer before cross country season came to a start, I had to get my annual physical. In the doctors office, there was a poster that displayed all of the signs of depression, and I just thought to myself, “…Huh, so that’s what’s going on with me.” Honestly, ever since I was 13 I had these feelings of defeat, anxiety, and deep sadness that I did not understand. It felt like I was a deflated balloon.

I did not want people to know about this. I thought it was a flaw. I thought that others would think that I was seeking attention, or that I should just get over it. I have a good life, right? What is there to be sad about? I even almost felt that I was being ungrateful for feeling this way.

I am a naturally chipper person. I want to please the people around me and maybe brighten someones day with a smile. I want to be a good friend and I want to make people happy. So when I went to school, I smiled. I loved and laughed and goofed around. I don’t think anyone suspected that deep down, I was truly in pain. Classmates would ask me, “Sienna how are you so happy all the time?” I even had one person tell my brother that they wanted to “flip me off” because I was always too happy! HA! That’s kinda a funny one.

When I was 21 I got tired of it. I got a diagnosis for clinical depression and anxiety disorder, and I was put on an anti depressant. I honestly didn’t feel that much better, but at least I was taking the right steps!

Now, at the age of 23, I am happier than I have been in 10 years. I don’t even take my medication anymore! I found my way out of the darkness for the past 9-10 months, and what a relief it is. I honestly never though I would escape it…

So, how, might you ask, did I find my way out that emotional turmoil? Well, that is the whole reason I am writing this blog right now, to answer that question.

I started living for me.

It sounds basic. And it might even sound unbelievable. I wouldn’t have trusted it even a year ago. But I am so so serious. I found the things that made me truly happy in life, I found a purpose, and chased that with all my might! I get to chose what I do each day, not someone else. If I find myself in a toxic situation, I leave it. If I find myself with toxic people, I disconnect from them. And each day, I stop worrying about what other people think, and I worry about ME.

This statement “living for me,” might also come off as sounding a little but selfish. And maybe it is a little bit, but overall I think that making yourself happy first puts you in the best position to make others happy. It might sound cliche, but if you don’t love yourself, how can you love someone else properly?

For me- I want to travel. I want to create. I want to document every aspect of my life and create things! All I can hope is that I inspire people along the way. And I have noticed that the happier I am, the more I want to spread it! I want to show others that they can find this brightness inside if only they look harder. If only they listen to their heart and live the life they wish to live. I can’t stress it enough.

I really wish I could reach out and give the people of the world a big hug, and express that everything will be ok. I wish I could hold the hand of every depressed teenager lead them through the fog. I wish I could sooth every aching heart and dry every tear, but I can’t do that… No one can do that. It’s up to YOU. You are the only person who can bring that happiness and joy back into your life. It’s by all means possible, as long as you want it enough.

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