Why Owning My 'Baggage' Was So Important in My Mental Health Recovery


When we think about baggage in a literal sense, we can think of a suitcase or bag we consider as our baggage when traveling. We have no problem at all owning up to our baggage when we see it on the conveyor belt at the airport. However, this word figuratively brings a different type of feeling. Even though it weighs nothing, it seems a whole lot heavier. Everyone has baggage when it comes to something they bring to a relationship, whether they realize it or not. I believe the sooner you find it and own it, the quicker you get to move on.

There can be baggage you have you didn’t even know you owned. It can be thoughts, feelings, people, etc. you avoided for years — without you even realizing it. This is something I have come to find in my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I have been holding on to thoughts and feelings I should’ve owned up to and then also some I should never had. These two types of baggage are a part of who I am today.

There are some thoughts I have held on to for years that affect my relationships and every day life. At first, I had a mixture of feelings once I realized how deep rooted some things were. I was shocked because I didn’t know they were there, pissed because I didn’t know they were there and then sad because I could have been approaching life completely differently without this baggage. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. I’m not saying it’s not necessary to grieve surprising or uncomfortable baggage, because it is. I believe it’s even more important to own it though. If you never grab your baggage off the conveyor belt, you never get to move on to your next destination with all you got!

My blog has given me the platform to own some of my baggage to hopefully help others own theirs. Once you own your insecurities, flaws, mistakes, etc. is when they don’t own you. You’re in more control and also you have more awareness of them. Let go of the “could haves” and “should haves” and you can start moving on! Moving on could mean a lot of things in this case. It could lead you to enjoying your life more or it could even lead you to a different kind of life!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via SergeKa


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Anxiety

dark shadow woman looking down

What It Means to Be 'Tired' as Someone With a Mental Illness

My wife says. “You look tired today.” I got enough sleep. I’m curled up on the couch that I haven’t left all day (unless it was to use the bathroom or to eat). I’m crying while watching romance movies. I’m wondering how they found someone who loved them so completely. Wondering if I would ever [...]
woman reading a book and sitting on stairs against industrial buildings background, digital art style, illustration painting

Anxiety Doesn't Control Me, Even if I Can't Control It

Dear anxious self, I get it. I know you are tired and anxious and you feel sick and awful. I know how much you want to give up on yourself and everyone else. I know you might be on the verge of tears and you might be so close to giving in to the anxiety. But please, [...]
Commercial aircraft cabin with passengers

10 Tips for Anxious Flyers

“I’m sitting on my flight home about to take off. Is my heart beating too fast? What if I can’t get out of my seat when I need to? What if I vomit? Oh my gosh, I’m going to vomit. I feel so sick. Oh wait, am I just feeling sick because I’m anxious — [...]
young man in darkness looking depressed anxious

How Catastrophization Holds Me Hostage Every Day

Catastrophizing is an aspect of my poor mental health with free rein of my mind day in, day out. It is characterized as irrational thoughts and is often a symptom of depression and anxiety. We all catastrophize throughout our lives on one level or another; it just happens that for some reason I face it daily, to some serious extremes. [...]