I’m Good and I’ve Overcome


Joerell Baldonado black rock beach-3Joerell Baldonado on Black Rock Beach


By Joerell Baldonado 

Why am I good? I’m good because I’m my own self-fulfilling prophecy. I predict my future, and I make work hard enough to make my dreams come true. I’m good because I’m the first person in my family to attend college. I’m good because I’m setting a positive example for my brother. I’m good because I embrace being an adult, working a full-time job and attending school full-time.

I was born and raised on the island of Maui. I come from a low, socioeconomic background. My grandma never finished high school. My mother only finished high school. At a very young age, I decided that I would not allow myself to remain content with “living in paradise.” I’m good because I pushed myself to get a college degree.

Since I am not fortunate enough to have my family pay for college, most of my education is paid out of my own pocket. I work full-time as an assitant manager at an optometry office. I have only worked at the office for eight months, and being promoted to assistant manager in such a short amount of time is such an honorable accomplishment. I’m good because I am a hard worker.

With all my energy focused in work and school, it is necessary to unwind and de-stress. In order to relax, I like to go on adventurous hikes and trails with my dog. I enjoy doing yoga during sunrise or sunset. I like to get lost in a good book. I’m good because I have balance in my life.

There is no doubt that there is some stigma around mental health. However, mental health should not be taken lightly. When I was in middle school, I was anorexic and bulimic. I was constantly concerned about my weight and body image. I rarely ate; whenever I did eat, I would go to the restroom right away and throw up my food. My friends were concerned and did not know what to do. Eventually I mustered up the confidence to seek help. I went to my school counselor and talked to her in confidence. With the help of my counselor, I overcame anorexia and bulimia.

I believe the most effective way in ending mental health stimga is education and awareness. People need to be aware and mindful of the words they say and the actions that they do. It is far too often that people speak or act without thinking. Along with awareness, there needs to be education. It is not possible for change to happen without education. Knowledge is power, and education is the key in terminating mental health stigma.

I’m good because I value education. I’m good because I work hard for my life. I’m good because I overcame anorexia and bulimia. I’m good because I think that education and awareness is vital in ending the stigma around mental health. Life is full of bad and good. Life is full of ups and downs. With every negative is a positive. Sometimes it is good to view life through rose-colored lenses. I am good.

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Categories: Stigma, Wellness Tools


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