Love, Life Stories

I’ll never allow mental health issues to set me back from my passions

The Tempest is a space where I can open up about my mental illness and creative writing aspirations at the same time, without feeling judged.

I love memes, and sometimes I write about them too. But if there’s any meme which I don’t personally find relatable, it’s the “me at the beginning of 2016 vs. me at the end of 2016” one.

My 2016 wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be — or as everyone makes it out to be.

Long story short: I applied for an Editorial Fellowship at The Tempest, and I landed the job. I started out with zero knowledge of how to work remotely. I didn’t know how to manage working around a huge time difference (twelve fucking hours!) either. Here’s the thing, though — the last few months mark one of the best times of my life, as I’ve teamed up with a group of the bestest diverse millennial women.

[bctt tweet=”I was about to accept the fact that 2016 was a dumpster fire.” username=”wearethetempest”]

My interview session with Laila Alawa was conducted at 1 P.M. EST, or 1 A.M. my local time, which roughly translated to “I had to leave my house to look for stable internet and so as not to bother my sleeping folks.”  Alas, I lost signal more than four times during the session. To compensate, I casually yelled into my computer speakers, hoping she’d hear.

At that moment, when my enthusiasm and anxiety raced against each other, I was about to accept the fact that the year 2016 was a dumpster fire and I probably wouldn’t work in media until at least 2017. I had lots of things on my plate, and rebuilding my life seemed drop-dead impossible. Clinical depression obstructed my way to college, and my parents were (used to be) separated. I actively found (and tried) several ways to die because I felt like a lost cause.

I didn’t think any of this would work out. English isn’t my first language, and I was afraid of the challenges that could pose. Besides, I straight-up stated in my interview that I’m currently dealing with my mental health — as if I had nothing to lose by being upfront. What if I’m actually not qualified despite my past experience and potential? Sounds scary indeed, but a heads-up never hurts, right? Sooner or later, everyone will know about it, I thought — but mostly, I was desperate. Really desperate.

[bctt tweet=”I felt like a lost cause.” username=”wearethetempest”]

A part of me was sure that my setbacks didn’t define me, but another part of me was convinced that (historically speaking) they kind of did. I went batshit crazy with worry for having admitted it. I felt that I’d low-key put self-honesty on a blind spot, and it made me feel vulnerable. But Laila believed in me, and recognized that I wasn’t defined by my mental health.  Here I am — formerly an Editorial Fellow at The Tempest, and now a Community Editor.

If you happen to face the same problems as I do, you know struggling with mental health stigma is more than just “being misunderstood.” It’s about finding a home in this cruel world, finding people who love and support you. The Tempest is a loving home for me, not a mere shelter. It’s a space where I can open up about my mental illness and creative writing aspirations at once. Our kickass staff and writers from across the globe are some of the funniest and brilliantly blatant people I know.

[bctt tweet=”I am not yet the person I want to become; I know I am closer to getting there.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I am not yet the person I want to become; I know I am closer to getting there. And now “lost cause” has been blacklisted from Frequently Used Words of 2016.

I am forever grateful. Here is to more experiences rejoiced and shortcomings overcome.