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  • Writer's pictureBella Sirpilla

Dental School Student To Mental Health Advocate

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

Title: My Journey From Dental School to Mental Health Advocacy.

Navigating the terrain of anxiety and depression is a challenging and overwhelming journey. Sharing the experiences from that journey can often feel like more of the same, but it doesn't have to be that way. My hope is that by opening up about my struggles, I can offer support and inspiration to others who may be walking a similar path. My story underscores the significance of being a mental health advocate, emphasizing the transformative power of self-love, faith, and the unwavering support of those around us.

Discovery in Dental School - My road to self discovery begins in dental school at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, where I believed I was pursuing my dream career. However, as time passed, I realized that this path wasn't right for me. The immense pressure and demands of dental school began to take a toll on my mental well-being, forcing me to confront the anxieties and depression that had been a constant presence in my life.

The Turning Point - Leaving dental school was an incredibly tough decision, but it marked a pivotal turning point in my life. I found myself plummeting into depths of despair that I had never before experienced. I felt lost and broken, and the fear was overwhelming. However, amid the darkness, my faith soared to new heights. The poem "Footprints in the Sand" perfectly captures my journey, reminding me that even in the toughest times, God was carrying me through the storm.

The Healing Path - After leaving dental school, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery and healing. I sought therapy, practiced positive affirmations, and gradually learned to love myself fully. What once was self-hatred has since evolved into self-acceptance and self-love.

The Role of Faith - During my darkest days, my faith became a rock-solid pillar of strength. I realized that, even when everything else seemed uncertain, my faith remained unwavering. My belief in God helped me find the hope and resilience I needed to keep moving forward.

The Power of Support - I must emphasize that I didn't navigate my mental health journey alone. An incredible support system, coupled with my faith, played a crucial role in my healing process. I want to stress the importance of reaching out to others and offering support to those who may be silently battling their own mental health challenges.

Feeling Less Alone - I've looked up to Selena Gomez my whole life, but especially in recent years. Her instagram bio has always said "By grace, through faith", and that is how I try to live my life. Her album, "Rare", came out when I was at my lowest. She has shown me through her lyrics & actions that my vulnerability is not a weakness, it is my greatest asset and I can help others by sharing my story. Her song, "My Mind & Me", made me feel seen and helped me understand my own mental health struggles. I've shared the song and her documentary with friends & family in hopes that they can understand my mental health illness & diagnosis. Selena doesn't enjoy being in the spotlight, but she knows that if she has a platform that she needs to use it for good. Her brand, Rare Beauty, helped me during my dark days to feel more beautiful and encouraged me to love myself fully. Every time I put on my Rare Beauty, I would think, "if Selena can get through this, so can I!" I have donated to her Rare Beauty Impact Fund where she has been raising money for access to mental health resources for those struggling and is fighting for mental health education in schools. She has helped me through my own struggles and made me feel less alone & that is such a blessing. I could talk about her all day, so more blog posts will be coming about her and the impact her songs have had on me and my journey.

Impact of Artists - I'm so thankful for artists like Selena Gomez, Harry Styles, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Gracie Abrams, Kelsea Ballerini, Miley Cyrus, Joshua Bassett, Sabrina Carpenter, Madison Beer, & more for sharing their personal experiences through their songs with the world. Their music has helped me get through some really hard years and has been a form of therapy. It must be hard to be in the public eye, but they've helped so many people feel less alone, including me. Their talents are a gift and I'm so grateful for their vulnerability and courage to share their music with the world.

Becoming a Mental Health Advocate - My passion for mental health advocacy was born from my own struggles. Having grappled with anxiety and depression throughout my life & looking up to others that have shared their journey, I understood the importance of speaking openly about mental health. My own journey of transformation and healing led me to believe that sharing my story could help others on their own paths to recovery.

A Beacon of Hope - Almost three years since leaving dental school, I have transformed into the woman I always aspired to be. My story serves as a testament to the fact that healing and growth are possible, even in the darkest of times. My advocacy efforts are dedicated to ensuring that no one feels as alone as I once did.

My mental health journey underscores the incredible strength of the human spirit, the power of faith, and the importance of advocating for mental health. I want to remind you that, even in your darkest moments, there is hope, support, and a path towards healing. Through my own courage and resilience, I strive to be a beacon of hope, showing that no one is ever truly alone in their struggles.

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