Inspirational junior athlete, Ela Meiring, has urged those battling mental health issues to seek urgent help and not be afraid to talk openly about what they are going through.
Opening up on Instagram a few days ago, Meiring took the lead as she courageously addressed self-confidence and its impact on mental health.
This is her story as told on her Instagram page:
“This month is #mentalhealthmonth and I want to address self-confidence and how it can make or break your mental health.
As a little girl I was the most energetic and confident girl you would ever meet, but I think this applies to most children.
Somewhere along the way my confidence started to dwindle. I always felt like an outsider since all my friends had fathers and mine was nowhere to be found.
Teenage years hit me hard with acne. Most of my friends had clear skin, still do, and I am the one with loads of red bumps on my skin. I tried to not let it get to me, but people asked me what’s wrong with your face, or you’re ugly. I eventually had to take medication, still do, to clear my skin.
My teeth gave me a problem prior to my skin. I had this one tooth stuck in the middle of nowhere and a gigantic overbite and of course had to wear braces…what a confidence boost.
I honestly felt like I didn’t belong anywhere, this frizzy brown haired and hazel eye girl in a family of sleek dark hair with blue or green eyes.
I had other problems to deal with on top of that I had no-one to talk to, except for my Mom who tried to boost my confidence and Conrad and Kyle that accepted me like I am, but never fully revealing how I felt. My academics suffered, my running suffered and I felt like this is the end, I don’t want to go on anymore. My mind went into dark alleys that I can’t reiterate my past thoughts.
This was approximately 2 years ago, and I have made a huge improvement when it comes to my mental health and self-confidence. I can finally speak without whispering, which was a trait of mine. When someone tells me to do something I do it, without feeling like the earth should swallow me up. The biggest improvement being able to talk about it, without feeling ashamed since it happened in the past and forms part of who I am today.
I want everyone to know that depression and self-harm is a real thing and should never be shrugged off. Many young people and adults have lost their lives to suicide, which was unnecessary. My message is that you should get help and not bottle your feelings up. We must all take hands and help one another be better versions of themselves.”
This is not the first time Meiring has shown courage. Last May, she was hit by a minibus taxi while on a long run, and less than a month later, took a giant leap forward when she raced the Comrades Race the Legends event, completing 21kms without any training for three weeks.
Photo 1 Caption: Inspirational junior athlete, Ela Meiring, has urged those battling mental health issues to seek urgent help and not be afraid to talk openly about what they are going through. Photo: Ela Meiring (Instagram)