As a child and teen, I loved reading books and writing. In 6th grade, I joined the Young Writer’s Club as part of my extra-curricular school requirement. Our moderator, Mrs. Lim, gave us assignments to write news stories, features, or interviews for our school newspaper. For 5 years I continued to write – in English for The Little Blue Star (elementary), in Filipino for Batingaw (elementary), and again in English for Blue Heights (secondary school).
I loved our excursion trips and seminars as we learned more about print journalism and photojournalism. But the most exciting club activity was participating in Press-Conference Contests where we compete with other student writers from different schools. News Writing and Proofreading & Headlining were my forte. I won in the District and the Division levels every year. Made it to Regionals once.
But winning wasn’t what made it great. It was the opportunity to meet other talented young writers with whom I wouldn’t have crossed paths otherwise. It was the exciting chance to enter a different school and see what it’s like there. It was all an adventure.
See, writing doesn’t come easy for me. My friends, classmates, and teachers would praise my writing ability highly, but they never understood how excruciatingly difficult it was for me to express myself – even when all the details needed are laid out in front of me. But I kept going because it was amazing to feel accomplished despite all the obstacles.
When I was in 10th grade, my family migrated to Canada and everything suddenly changed. I wasn’t part of the school newspaper anymore, but I kept writing. I started my first blog on Multiply (years before it became a site for online merchants) and documented my days and experiences in my new life through journal entries, photographs, and videos. I wrote about anything and everything. I wrote in English, Filipino, Taglish, and even in teen lingo.
Most of my friends enjoyed reading my entries, but a few years later, one of my best friends commented on how different my writing has become. She said that my short, quick posts were not as deep, thoughtful, or thought-provoking as my posts used to be. My content has shifted. I posted nonsensical things, just for the sake of posting.
That was shortly after I began university studies. Oddly enough, I am an English literature student. You’d think this is the time I’d hone my skills in close reading and eloquent writing. But it was quite the opposite. I lost interest in the things I used to enjoy. I wrote intermittently and my books piled in our basement unread.
A couple years later, my physician diagnosed me with depression and referred me to a psychiatrist. I felt relieved that, finally, there is an answer to the mystery of me: why I always feel lost, sad, unmotivated, lethargic, and lonely in spite of all the good things and people in my life.
For years I felt so frustrated about not being able to change and move forward to a better disposition. I tried to write on and off in hopes of unburdening myself of the mental war within me. I created several blogs at different points in my life to make myself accountable of my actions. But any resolutions I promised myself to keep fell apart soon after committing to them, especially since I had no idea how to gain an audience who would be interested in my posts.
Recently, I figured out that, more than anything, I felt alone in this journey of trying to feel better. Sure, I have a great support system, but they don’t really know what I’m going through. And I don’t know how to explain myself well for them to understand me.
And that’s when the idea hit me – perhaps so many others feel the same way I do. Perhaps I can kill two birds with one stone: help myself heal and help others deal with mental health issues through my own blog/website. After all, I find it helpful to read through inspiring quotes and sayings from Simple Reminders. Thus, Love Yourself Again was born with the intent to inspire, empower, and motivate myself and others in finding our true selves and loving us again.
Through this blog, I hope to reach out to others in a similar situation – whether they have a mental health issue, going through a difficult time in their lives, or simply having a bad day. I hope to help end the stigma around mental illnesses and to inspire others to do the same by sharing my story. I hope to encourage others to contribute to this blog, through posts like @Caitlin does or through discussion on comment threads, to build upon what I have started.
I created several categories as a baseline of what we may write about concerning our daily lives:
- a journal of personal stories
- love letters to self or others
- inspiration, motivation, and other ideas that touch on mental health issues and a positive mindset
- inspiration, motivation, and other topics on getting into and maintaining great physical health
- inspiration, motivation, and other topics concerning spirituality of all kinds
- and a section of writing I hope to fill with more creative writing
And now the journey has officially begun. Browse, read, comment, and subscribe or follow to your heart’s content <3