DBT & Building a Life Worth Living

By Paxten WankumMarch 23, 2021

If someone had told me seven years ago that I would be writing about how there are things in this world worth living for I would have called bullshit. Seven years ago I wasn’t even planning on living until my next birthday. Because seven years ago I was in the darkest place I have ever been. I refused to leave the house for anything but school and even that was a kicking-and-screaming match every morning. I was asleep more than I was awake. I was self-harming in multiple ways. I saw no future for myself. I truly did not believe that life was worth living.

So what changed?

Things got worse before they got better. I was hospitalized in an adolescent psychiatric facility because I was an extreme danger to myself. It was there that I realized I was not alone. I met others dealing with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other mental illnesses. I listened to their stories and they listened to mine. Those two weeks that I was in the hospital I cried, screamed, and laughed. I learned and experienced so much. I began my journey in DBT—Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I began building a life that I wanted to live.

The motto of DBT is “Build a Life Worth Living.” Here’s a truth I learned—my life was already worth living for before I started my DBT journey, but I was so clouded by depression and anxiety that I couldn’t see it. DBT helped me change the perception I had of myself and of the world around me. Using the skills I learned in DBT I was able to insert myself back into society and do the things I loved to do before depression and anxiety took over my life.

Through DBT I learned to accept what I was feeling without trying to justify it to myself or others. I learned how to maintain my values and how to be friends with people who didn’t have the same values as me. I learned how to change my negative thoughts into more neutral thoughts. I learned how to define healthy boundaries. I learned how to make a life for myself that I wanted to experience.

If right now you can’t find anything in your life worth living for just know that I’ve been there. Live in this moment knowing that someone like you survived the darkest time in their life, and hoping that you can do the same. You can survive the darkest time in your life, too. You can build your life worth living. I know you can, because I did.


Depression has a way of making us feel incredibly isolated. We’re here to remind you of the truth that you are not alone. We encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help and to read more stories like this one here. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at info@twloha.com.

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Comments (2)

  1. Leeann Frye

    Very well written. Though tragic, it is encouraging. You can get through tough times. There is Hope. Hope in God.

    Reply  |  
  2. mustafa

    Very inspiring.
    thank you for sharing

    Reply  |  
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