2017 was a bad year for my mental health. My anxiety got to the point where I had to play Netflix in the background as I slept just so I could keep the bad thoughts away. It was especially frustrating because nothing was wrong on the surface. I had it good in the Philippines—a loving family, good friends, a job I love, and a substantial amount of money in my savings account.
And still, I felt so bad about myself. I kept blaming myself for things that were out of my control. I started fucking up my relationships with my friends and loved ones. I did the bare minimum. I hated myself for it, but I never actually did something to be better. I pushed people who love me away. I thought so little of myself that I didn’t believe there was a single thing about me that was worth loving—no matter how much they tried to convince me otherwise.
I didn’t know what went wrong. But somewhere along the downward spiral I constantly found myself in, there was always this brief moment of sanity. It was a voice that kept saying I had to change something if I wanted to get through this alive.
Studying abroad had always been at the back of my mind. I just didn’t act on it because I thought I wouldn’t, in a million years, have what it takes to make it happen. But on a totally random October afternoon, I started searching online about how one can study abroad. You know, just to check it out. Maybe this was what I needed.
They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And I knew the moment I hit that search button, as my heart trembled the way train tracks do as the engine rushes in. This is it. This is gonna be the tastiest motherfucking lemonade I’ve ever made in my entire life.