Photo by Anggie

Being human can be hard sometimes. We fight battles everyday whether that’s externally or internally. We taunt ourselves by ruminating on our failures and our weaknesses and we neglect ourselves when we ignore our mental health. My own personal story with failure, being bullied and shame eventually sprouted into a story of depression, self-injury and anxiety all because I was too fearful and too ashamed to talk about the things that I was struggling with in life. So 11 months ago I founded Respect Your Struggle, which is a movement dedicated to providing hope for people struggling with depression, mental health and life related issues. It is a movement that reminds people how to be human, it is provocative, and it is counter-culture. It is a place where people are accepted for being different. It’s a place for those who feel weak and you are accepted even when you make mistakes.

Respecting your struggle is all about embracing your struggles rather than ignoring that they exist. Healing begins with acknowledging how you feel and how your circumstances are affecting you. If you are someone who is struggling, your problems do not have the final say. Here are three ways to empower yourself in the midst of your struggles.

Learn to be conscious of what is taking place in your atmosphere. When we dwell on our problems, all we see in the world is our problems. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, be in the moment, be present and allow yourself to soak in what is happening in the here and now. You will find that when you learn to be present, nothing else in that moment matters.

I often find that people do not know how to handle the negative emotions that they feel. I’ve heard stories of people who think something is wrong with them because they can’t stop crying or they wake up feeling sad and emotional. What’s wrong with that? You are human; you were not created to only feel good feelings. It’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to have negative or sad emotions. When we experience our bad feelings, we learn to appreciate the moments where we experience joy and happiness. You can’t have the good, without experiencing the bad.

I struggled with depression for most of my life and it became more evident within my teenage through young adult years. I struggled with being honest with myself about the state of my mental health and I carried on in life too prideful and too shameful to seek help for my mental health issues. Ignoring my problems led to my symptoms worsening and it became more difficult for me to get to a healthier place. Honesty is neither shameful nor prideful, it is empowering, and empowerment first starts with self-empowerment. You have to be accountable for yourself in order to take care of yourself. Practice honesty daily, not only towards others but also towards yourself.

Understand that your struggles don’t define you; they are only here to equip you for your journey. Visit to read stories of hope and healing and if you are in need of help for depression, anxiety, addiction or other mental health issues visit our “find help” section to point you in the direction of finding support.

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