I felt really lost this past semester, and I struggled a lot with my identity.
I often found myself wondering who am I?
Am I my mental illness?
Does my GPA or major define me?
Two major identity crises from last semester stand out in my mind: questioning what major I’m pursuing and deciding to share my struggles with depression and anxiety.
I don’t know if it’s typical for people to question their major when they’re three-quarters of the way through their degree, but I found myself seriously questioning my academic choices. I took a class that was required for my major, and I absolutely hated it. I found the material dry and boring. I would think to myself if this class is what my future will be like, I want out. This experience made me re-evaluate my priorities, my values, and what I want to accomplish in life. I realized that the plan that I had for myself was not in line with any of those things, so I started to explore new options. Does that make me a failure or a quitter? Not at all. The paths of our lives are continuously changing as we grow and evolve. Embracing your new path and following your passions means that you're true to yourself.
I have always felt ashamed and embarrassed of the fact that I battle with depression and anxiety. I was always worried that if people found out about my mental illness that they would think of me as lesser, weaker, inferior, not good enough, incapable… pretty much anything and everything negative. It wasn’t until I met Ji Youn and saw her courage and vulnerability through her advocacy efforts that I began to feel as though I could share my struggles with mental illness. I had previously started my own blog, but I never shared anything about my mental illness – it was mainly a place to talk about school and my experience going through CPA Recruit. It has been very empowering and therapeutic to share every aspect of my life, including my depression and anxiety.
I can be the real Jasmine and not feel any shame or guilt.
I don’t have a 5-step system for how to deal with an identity crisis or how to find yourself. What I do know is that you shouldn’t let shame, fear of the unknown or other people’s perception of you prevent you from living your life for yourself. It’s the best feeling when you finally do find your true self and embrace yourself fully.