Life Stories

Fight Mental Health Stigma: From Questioning Life to Finding Meaning of Life

To fight mental health stigma, we continue sharing inspiring stories of those who battle with mental illness in hopes that others don't feel so alone. Elisa, who has found solace in faith and love today, shares her story on fighting mental illness (no edits, no filters):
Fight Mental Health Stigma
Meet Elisa Hart and lets listen to her story

One of the realities of this world that haunted me as a teenager was that I never decided to be born. If you think about it, we never select ourselves for this thing called Life. We don’t select our natural talents and strengths, and sometimes we wish we had different ones.

For me, my teenage years and into early adulthood were the hardest. I am 26 now and have overcome a lot in the last 10 years. When I realized I never signed up for Life myself, I didn’t want to DO Life. I remember understanding why people killed themselves, and when you can understand something so horrifying, that’s a scary place to be.

I spent years chasing boys that were not a good fit for me. In college, I pretended to be someone I really wasn’t so that I could fit in. Comparison stole all my joy. I was up and down, up and down emotionally. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do for a career. The list goes on.

But I showed up. Every day. And I tried to do my best. And I realized that as long as I do my best, I will make progress and someday I’ll figure things out.

Well, I did, and eventually, I met the man I call my husband today. He helped me realize who I really was because he loved me genuinely. He helped me see what career path was best for me and he helped me unlock those dreams and goals I had in my heart that were so pressed down by society. He connected me with great mentors and leaders to guide me in our career path together, lifting me up from feeling hopeless and purposeless.

Then, I started a real journey. A journey of getting out of my comfort zone every day. I did this because I learned how to set goals, and I learned how to journal about what I wanted in life in 5, 10, 15+ years. All of a sudden I started viewing my life as a gift, and I knew what I wanted and who I wanted to be, so I worked to become her (and am still working on that).

I grew in my faith every day and really came to follow Jesus. I grew in my dreams and what I expected from life. I went from anxious and blurry and depressed, to capable and ambitious and strong. I could start to feel the strength rising up within me every day by completing daily habits such as reading a personal growth book, listening to a podcast, attending an event, journaling my feelings to understand them, and reading The Bible.

Even when I didn’t feel like it, my emotions didn’t dictate my habits anymore. I learned the power of my words, and so I stopped speaking things like, “I just feel so depressed” or “What is life?!” and I started speaking positive things over me like “I am capable” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I chose to see the good in every situation. I pursued friendships with people who lifted me up instead of tearing me down. 

I still don’t wake up happy every day. There are days when I still feel depressed. Some days I just cry and cry and don’t even know why my heart hurts so much. Maybe it’s the growing pains. I wake up now so grateful that I was born and given a chance here on Earth. To make an impact, to leave a mark, to inspire others. My #1 goal in my life is to inspire others and I choose to live a life outside of the norm and show people that “radical” does exist.

A tattoo on my foot says “fighter” as a constant reminder of my journey. I’ll never be perfect, but I strive for progress.

Fight Mental Health Stigma

If you have a story to tell to inspire others, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Please learn more about our Finding Maya Initiative.

1 comment

  1. Great post! Finding meaning in life has always been of paramount importance. The feeling that one’s life has meaning can come from any number of things, such as committing ourselves to the pursuit of academic knowledge, focusing on doing our job to the best of our ability, committing ourselves to help others by doing some volunteer work or dedicating ourselves to raising a family. All of these are examples of worthwhile pursuits, but the more important point is that the actual purpose does not really matter. What matters a great deal more is that there is a purpose. Like you I spent some time exploring this fascinating subject and wrote a blog article about it https://authorjoannereed.net/how-to-find-meaning-in-life-the-secret-is-revealed/ – Feel free to check it out!

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