Worth Living Ambassador Jessica Rodarte
“Hi world! My name is Jessica Rodarte. I’m just a normal 24-year-old discovering my purpose in life. I am currently on the pursuit of happiness after being diagnosed with a mental illness earlier this year. I’ve overcome many obstacles throughout this journey by turning my negative into a positive for others. “
I never had an understanding of what mental illness was until I was diagnosed. Growing up I had a pretty normal life besides my parents’ divorce. I went to parochial schools from first grade through my senior year of high school. My parents provided the best life they could for my sister and myself. I had a house, a pool, and a couple of dogs; about what was there to be unhappy?
After high school, I continued my education and went to college. It wasn’t until after college and being thrown into the real world did the depression and anxiety occur in my life.
At first I guess you could say I was in denial of my condition. As days went on, I began to lose my appetite, over sleep or not sleep at all, lose my motivation to work out, was crying all the time, and just felt like I was ready to give up. In my head, I thought I would get better. I kept telling myself that it was just a bad day. But everyday turned into a bad day. It wasn’t until my family and boyfriend became very concerned of what was happening to me did I realize something was wrong. But still I put it to the back of my mind.
My parents told me that it was okay to quit my job and take time to heal and get the help I needed. I was officially diagnosed with major depression and anxiety in June, 2016. It was scary to hear those words come out of my Doctor’s mouth. I was put on medication and began going to therapy once a week. Honestly, being diagnosed with a mental illness made me more depressed. Having to explain myself to my extended family and friends about my situation was frightening. I didn’t want to be judged, who does? After a few months of dealing with the fact that I have depression and anxiety, I had come to terms with it. I accepted it and was no longer ashamed.
I decided to turn my negative into a positive. I created my blog Beeing Jess a platform to share my story. I got really tired of people on social media positing how “great” their lives are and portraying a fake reality.
I thought what if we were all able to share our stories the good, bad, and ugly? Why does society put a stigma on showing our true selves? When I posted my first post on Beeing Jess, it was a moment of mixed emotions. I was scared, excited, and calm all at the same time. I felt that a weight had been lifted off my shoulders by telling my story.
I was very surprised by the feedback I had received. All positive. I felt that by being true to myself and sharing my story, it helped people to know the real me. Social media is an amazing platform to spread awareness. That has been my message since day one; spreading awareness of mental illness and the importance of mental health.
There is such a huge stigma put on mental illness and it must be stopped! Having a mental illness does not make me any different from anyone else. Life is just a little harder for me to live and that is perfectly okay.
The numbers are 1 in 4 people experience some form of mental illness. So literally everyone at one point in life has dealt with this issue. People need to understand that it is okay not to be okay. Talking about it helps with the healing process. There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone, you are not the only one experiencing this. That is the comfort I try to give others by talking about my journey and struggles with mental illness.
“Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others.”
You can follow my personal blog at Beeing Jess