My Story: Dealing With Mental Health as I Mature

By Saniya Ghanoui —

JV explains how setting boundaries with the people in your life is important for growth, maturing, and mental health.


OBOS Today: Mmhmm. That’s really great to hear that you’re at that point right now. So, now that you have– you’ve gone through this shift of being able to prioritize yourself and being able to establish boundaries, do you think that’s affected any of your other relationships besides the ones you, you know, mentioned freshman year; maybe with your family or with close friends from before or do you think—did you see that change kind of translating to all your other relationships? 

JV: I think so, like even my parents like they were telling me you were pretty like bratty as a teenager but as soon as I went—left for college like when I was back like last year, junior year, and I’ve been home now, they’re like: you’ve really changed. You’re—I don’t know if the word nicer makes sense. I think it’s more– what they’re trying to say is I’m more understanding, like especially like as a teenager, you’re obviously gonna’ be more like rebellious against your parents but like now, we take those conversations a little bit more deeper, so it’s not so much oh, I’m just mad at you for not going out. Now the conversations are very different; it’s like housing and like money problems, things like are on the table. But since those topics have gotten serious, I feel like the way you speak about them—you have to speak about it like more maturely as well. So, I think my parents have definitely verbally told me that they seen a change, so that’s really—very nice to hear.

Um my friendships—I’m not sure how it is for everybody but a lot of us, like our friend group—a lot of people have been leaving the friend group, sometimes you lose friends over the year. I think as it goes on, it hasn’t so much happened to me like these past like few years but in my friend group people have had issues; it’s gone away. You really do see who your real friends are, and I feel like that is definitely part of the growth, too. Like I think we’re definitely all maturing in that way like a lot of my friends have gone through like similar mental health journeys, like freshman year, their friendships were kind of superficial friendships and then when you get older, you see like the real friendships are the ones with sub—with more substance so I think as you grow up, you are—you are better at handling those especially if they do end up like disintegrating—those like connections—it’s okay, it’s fine, it’s for the best. 

OBOS Today: Yeah, it’s more of a positive outlook and accepting what you’re doing isn’t hurting people, but it is just better for everyone all around. 

JV: No exactly. Yeah. 

OBOS Today: Yeah, you mentioned that um—I guess some of your friends rely on you because they don’t get the same emotional intimacy from their male friends so when you did start, you know, putting yourself first, did that translate—did that change that dynamic of your relationships with your guy friends or did they, you know, kind of grow with you, I guess? 

JV: Um, I guess like half and half, like for a few of them, I just distanced myself slowly anyway. And I guess them being guys, they didn’t really notice so it was like that big of a change. As soon as I stopped reaching out as much, they stopped reaching out too. It wasn’t like—I feel like for my girlfriends, if I did—like the ones I did end up like cutting off or stop being friends with, it was much more catty, it was much more what—like you stopped talking to me for week, like what is up with that? It was a lot more aggressive meanness. The guys, it’s just like oh you didn’t talk to me for a month, that’s fine like how are you? So, it worked out a lot better. I don’t think I had any—except that freshman year relationship, I don’t think I had any guy friends who were too emotionally like attached to me. Like as soon as I started giving space to myself, they kind of withstood and just fell with that pattern, so it really worked out.