How Admitting Defeat was Pivotal for my Mental Health Recovery

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Meet Hana

Hana is a passionate, creative, and collaborative soul who thrives in challenging environments. Her personal and professional experiences have shaped her into the positive individual she is today, and she strives to always bring out the best in the people around her. Her dearest held belief is that we’re all capable of greatness — so long as we support and encourage one another.She also believes peanut butter should never ever be wasted. Ever.

How Admitting Defeat was Pivotal for my Mental Health Recovery

When I transferred to the University of California, Davis from my community college, I initially transferred as a nutrition student because I wanted to be a dietitian. The reason I wanted to be a dietitian was because I worked with one at my intensive outpatient therapy program, and she changed my life. I appreciated that she didn’t cut straight to the technical, logistical information by giving me a meal plan and weighing me. Instead, she felt like an older sister to me, someone that I could be comfortable around. We talked about incredibly deep topics, including things that I just didn’t know about myself but she saw in me, and why I used food as a coping mechanism. She was willing to go with me all the way through my journey battling my eating disorder and anxiety. I felt inspired after working with her, which made me want to pursue the career so I could help people in the way she helped me.

Upon transferring to Davis, even though I had all the mental tools from the therapy, I was still heavily struggling with my eating disorder and anxiety. My body image was also getting worse because I was weight restored, and I was still learning how to live in my new body. So there were a lot of thoughts to deal with in my mind — a mental health disorder takes up a lot of space in your brain. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for many other things, which is why when I was going through my studies, I was feeling defeated because I couldn’t keep up with the lessons. Not to mention, working in a college setting was new and so were all the topics. I’ve always been more drawn to creative topics like writing and drawing, and while I’ve always been fascinated by science too, I didn’t really prepare myself to learn all the complicated topics at a university. It was a whole other level.

Eventually, I made the hard decision to drop out of the nutrition program and switch over to communications, which was actually my original plan because I wanted to become a writer. The field felt a lot better since the concepts were easier to grasp, especially because I was training myself in that niche. I graduated with a communications degree but still had longings of pursuing dietetics. But looking back on it now, I definitely could not have gone through with the program.My failure story comes from having to admit to myself that I couldn’t do it. For me, being a perfectionist and a hard worker, switching out of my intended major felt like a huge defeat. But in the end, it turned out a lot better because I actually had time to go see the therapist on campus and I had time to reflect. Even though I was still heavily struggling with anxiety after I graduated, I feel like I learned a lot about myself during that time. I also have to remind myself that it’s never too late to go back to school. Actually, I am planning to go back to school and become a dietitian because it’s been constantly on my mind. That’s another important thing to remember: it’s never too late to go back to the dreams you had in the past. It’s all about timing and seeing what you’re capable of in each chapter of your life.

I feel like it’s so important to recognize that these times where you feel like you’ve given up “too easily” or felt like a failure, you’re not actually failing.We need to release ourselves from the guilt and regret we place on ourselves because these moments always teach us something. We’re always trying to plan our lives out and we can have this intricate map of our life, but our plans won’t always turn out the way we want them to. So it’s important to take the situation as it is, reflect, and learn. Dropping out of the program was definitely a huge learning period for me and definitely a humbling moment. At the time it felt so huge, but I look back on it and everything turned out fine!

More of Hana

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The Brew Ep. 42 featuring Hana

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