Leanne’s road to happiness

Leanne Libas Road to Happiness

By Leanne Libas

There are two different categories that people fall into: those who make New Year’s resolutions and those who don’t. Do I believe in resolutions? Yes, just as long as they are reasonable and attainable. The problem I usually encounter with New Year’s resolutions is how I utterly fail at achieving my resolutions. This process consists of me accumulating a long list of resolutions, which I fail to accomplish. My one resolution I’ve made for the year is too important to fail.

Moving forward into the new year, I have to look back at 2015. I had so many highlights  I accomplished from graduating high school, surviving my first semester in college, and writing for the Art of Autism. As far as my lowest points, there is more to explain. I know that talking about my lowest points of the year is considered taboo, but there’s reason behind it.

During my first week of college, I was in a car accident. A few days later, I was experiencing the symptoms of whiplash. A week or two later, I started to feel sharp pain in my lower back. The result?  Physical therapy for the next couple months. Throughout all of the physical pain I endured, one may assume  I was going to be completely fine. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Before the accident occurred, I was enjoying the beautiful aftermath of “Breaking Out-My Autism Story.” [editor – the most popular blog on the Art of Autism website]. There may be readers of that blog who have assumed I had been self-confident for a while. In reality, I was slowly gaining confidence. After the disastrous process of accepting a college, I was ecstatic with myself as I was getting close to graduating high school. When a local newspaper published an article about me, I gained more self confidence. Then, I was contacted by Debra Muzikar and my story was shared on the Art of Autism blog.  It received lots of recognition, and I was euphoric. One of the readers commented that I was a good “role model.”

If I am considered a good “role model,” then I have to be honest. Before all this happened, my self-esteem felt normal. There were some days I self-deprecated. Yet I would be fine and move on to a better day. When the accident occurred, something snapped. For a moment, I watched my whole life right in front of me as I collided forward from the impact. Everything came crashing down. It was as if a tsunami ruined a whole town. Something was wrong. I was back to the beginning.

At first, I thought I was perfectly fine and I would have a chance to get back into running. Eventually, I realized  I was in denial. According to danisnotonfire, I was experiencing an existential crisis-that is where you question the meaning of your existence and purpose in your life. After I watched through his quarter life trilogy playlist, reality hit me. It was evident to me this is what I was experiencing. With my existential crisis, I had the typical symptoms. Now multiply it by a ton, and you will see the outcome. It got to the point where I frequently contemplated why I was here.

Why am I living now?

Why do I have to go through this?

Is God teaching me a lesson?

Is life worth living?

Am I really worth it?

I kept trying to convince my coaches  I wanted to go back to running, but they were not easily persuaded I was ready. My mental health was deteriorating. I didn’t want to be back on this path of destruction. I had to do something. There was one thing that I never thought I would have to do again: therapy.

I thought  I was confident with who I was. It’s not normal to consistently cry and contemplate suicide every other day. After I talked to the counselors at my college’s health center, I eventually went to a therapist that helped me near the end of 2015. After a few sessions, I was diagnosed with severe depression.

It was deja vu all over again. I had to find out about my depression through a piece of paper. After 6 years of attempting to have self-control without falling into pieces, I arrive to this? Obviously, I went through the same feelings  I experienced when I discovered my autism diagnosis. The only difference? Unlike high school, I immediately got help.

Yes, I have depression, but I’m going through it one day at a time. I have my good days and bad days. I cannot deny the fact that I was so close to cutting my life short. I couldn’t commit suicide because I knew once again that I would be leaving the life that I barely started. Also one of the main factors of why I didn’t commit suicide was my family and friends.

As the year of 2015 came to an end, I asked myself, “What is my New Year’s resolution?” My resolution is to be genuinely happy for myself. To clarify, it means that I want mentally and physically to have good self-esteem. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it will be difficult. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make myself feel better and have a healthier mindset. This is one of the most challenging New Year’s resolutions I’m attempting to achieve. It will probably take more than a single year  since it not an overnight process.

I know it is worth it because I know that deep inside, I’m worth it.

Art: Road to Happiness by Leanne Libas


Leanne is a monthly blog writer for the Art of Autism. She started advocating after a life-changing experience at YLF (Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities). Whenever she doesn’t work on her homework or scan a bunch of papers at work, she spends her free time reading books, watching YouTube videos, searching on the Internet to learn more about the disabled community and culture, and creating her own fantasy world with her latest special interests. Leanne has the most popular blog on The Art of Autism – Breaking Out: My Autism Story.

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