An Everyday Mental Illness

Nathaniel - 24073, Virginia
Entered on February 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

An Everyday Mental Illness

I am sixteen years old, and I suffer from a mental illness. Like many mental illnesses, I show very few external symptoms (the occasional very bad day, or a frown when confronted) and if I didn’t tell you I had it, you would never guess at its existence. This illness comes in flashes, and at the most inconvenient and unwanted times. However, this illness is quite curable, depending on my own state of mind or the potential dishing out of a couple thousand for a shrink, but it is an illness that I normally wish to keep to myself (being one of my only banes). What illness is this you ask? Well, in my ripe old age of sixteen, I suffer from an astronomically low combination of self-esteem and self-confidence.

Now, in this world of clichés and stereotypes, your first thought will more than likely be that I have suffered some tear-jerking travesty that has distorted my impression of myself and has destroyed my ability to recognize my capabilities. However, that notion would be inherently false. To many, my life couldn’t be closer to perfect: I’ve grown up in a stable family with two happily-married parents, two amazing little brothers, and a more-than-comfortable higher-middle class lifestyle. I’m well grounded in my faith life, I enjoy a large variety of top-notch friends, I take AP classes at school and maintain a 4.0 GPA. I play sports, remain active, and am relatively athletic, I’m well-liked by authority figures, I participate in several engaging extra curricular activities, and I have been told that my personality draws people to me. Despite all these wonderful blessings in my life, there always seems to remain a roadblock in my mind that fuels my low self-confidence. Why? Well, if you ever find out, be sure to tell me.

In all reality, I haven’t the faintest notion as to why I have such low regard for myself and my capabilities. All I do know is that it both plagues me (as I consistently fall short of my own expectations) and characterizes itself as my greatest benefit. For you see, as I’ve grown up, my greatest self-discoveries have spawned from my most epic battles with my own self-doubt. And these self-discoveries have allowed for me to stay strong and appear confident, no matter the obstacle or roadblock. And giving me the strength to continually tackle the day, and all its pitfalls

And due to these self-discoveries, I wouldn’t trade my illness for the world; because I’ve come to believe in my own self-confidence, despite its microscopic size; for I’ve always rooted for the underdog, and my self-confidence always fills that role. And in light of the fact that I have no idea if this illness will go away (either by my own doings or by actually shelling out those thousands of dollars for that shrink) or if it stays, I will continue to believe in my own self-confidence, no matter how great, or how small.