Chiara de Blasio, who first opened up about her struggles with addiction and depression in December, penned a moving essay for xoJane Tuesday about her road to recovery and the daily challenges she faces along the way.
"I had an amazing, unconditionally loving, and unbroken family," Chiara, the 19-year-old daughter of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, wrote in the piece. "I went to good schools. I lived in a beautiful neighborhood. So why, then, did I always feel empty? I was surrounded by love, but I always felt less-than, out-of-place, restless, irritable, and discontent. Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking that I was simply ungrateful. Yes, I was. But a lack of gratitude wasn’t my only problem. I was the problem. I was not born a happy person."
She goes on to describe the various ways she copes with her health issues, from exercising to meditating to allowing herself to cry when "she needs to." Chiara emphasizes the importance of acknowledging progress and remaining grateful, despite obstacles that may at times feel insurmountable.
I practice gratitude by counting my blessings; no matter what’s wrong, there’s always something right. I try to make myself proud and give myself love. It’s not easy at all. But I’ve learned that if I keep on doing what I’m used to doing, I’ll keep on feeling the way I’m used to feeling. It has proven invaluable to me to make a conscious effort to break the vicious cycle that kept me in the hellish depths of depression and untreated addiction. Today I am in recovery.
Chiara, who is a college student in California, first revealed her addiction in a candid video posted to YouTube in December, just days prior to her father's inauguration.
"Getting sober is always a positive thing and by no means is it easy, it's the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's so worth it," she said in the video.
Last week, Chiara was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a recipient of an award honoring role models for young people battling substance abuse and mental health issues. Past honorees include Demi Lovato and Cyndi Lauper.