If you’re struggling with a physical illness, say you’re running the mile and your stomach cramps, you can easily step over to the left and take a break until you’re ready to run with everyone else again. But it’s not so easy to step over to the left and catch your breath when it comes to mental health, is it?

We often get so caught up in staying at the same pace as everyone else that we forget how absolutely ok it is to run at our own pace. I found it to be the hardest thing, to admit that to live and to live my best life, I had to take a step back from school, get myself together, and then wait to return until I was feeling myself again.

After I left USC early last semester, I was diagnosed with bipolar II. I was in an intense period of isolating, emotionally draining depression for the past 9 months and probably longer too before I decided to admit it. Now, I’m going to therapy, on medicine, and in recovery. I’m in a place of hypomania now, so I wake up at 6:30 every morning, suffer from rapidly racing thoughts, no filter when I speak, and impulsive/risky decision making. I bet through my social media, you would never be able to tell this about me.

When I was low, it was hard for me to differentiate social media from real life – it always is. But when you think about it, there’s a clear difference between who you are and who you want people to think you are. If you focus on yourself, take that step to the left, and remember that it’s more than ok to run at your own pace, you’ll get through it. Just like I am.

Originally published at coastconfused.com