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Substance Abuse: Turning it into something positive

Chronic loneliness and depression had once been a cloud over me. This similar void of emptiness has unfortunately been felt by many and remains a common occurrence.

There’s no doubt that some of of us feel or have felt empty — lacking connection to the world, allowing for a hollowness that devours all positive senses and emotions. This cultivates a desperate craving for stimulus, to pleasure ourselves and remind ourselves we are still alive. In turn, each of us have reacted differently, be it through our silence or our voice . A common reaction is called substance abuse: indulging in something to escape the negative emotions of reality.

Unfortunately, some people resort to more extreme levels of substance abuse inlcuding drugs, sex and self -mutilation, in order to numb themselves. This can be changed.

My way of countering this negative substance abuse was to choose various alternatives that are more positive and have the capacity to increase my self- worth. These “replacements” became positive habits and all the more reason to avoid in indulging in harmful behaviours.

As with most people, I, too, have my own negative substance abuse. I have indulged in too much anime and fan-fiction to avoid reality and over consumed sweet food in the hope of feeling constant “sweetness” in life. My physical appearance changed — I gained weight and started to lose my curiosity and perseverance in learning, something I had always taken pride in.

This awareness devastated my spirit and lowered my sense of self-worth. To stop this negative cycle, I told my family and tried to change the “substance” of abuse into something positive. I decided to leverage on my strengths, such as creating arts and written works, as a replacement. Today, my academic profile continues to improve and I feel a lot better about myself. While I have relieved some negative feelings, though not all, I see the recovery path ahead.

Focusing on academic interests may not be the right option for all; there is a possibility one may over stress themselves and leave out other areas of life. However, to me, it has been a good step forward in gaining control over my life and actions, to battle the feelings of loneliness and self-worth, and to strengthen my willpower.

Keep in mind: the best way to recover is to rebuild your self-worth and to open up by talking. Talk to your friends, family members, classmates, coworkers, and/or partners. Loneliness, depression, and other mental health problems do not need to be faced alone.