My Mental Health Story

To be honest, ultimately deciding to write about my own experience with mental illness was difficult, which just goes to show how stigmatized mental illness truly is. However, I’m not the kind of person who gives a shit as to what people think about me, and if by sharing my story I can make others feel less alone, I will happily disclose my struggles with anyone who crosses my path. Besides, if some people do choose to judge me, I’d rather they not be a part of my life.

My head-on battle with mental illness has been relatively recent, but when I reflect on my childhood, I realize that I’ve suffered from mental illness for a long time; I just never figured it out.

Sometime during my last year of high school, I had fallen into a black hole, from which I thought I would never claw my way back up. I would sit in my room and cry for hours, either eat a whole box of cookies or not eat at all, avoid any human communication whatsoever, and sleep for hours on end. Things that once gave me loads of happiness no longer appealed to me. Feelings of anxiety consumed me. I was unable to see myself having a future and attending college and maintaining relationships. Every aspect of my life seemed pointless; everything seemed so damn hard. I felt as if I had lost the energy to face life altogether.

There were a few triggers for my emotional decline, but  I didn’t really have any “reason” to be extremely upset, which is why my situation was not normal. This went on for weeks … I can say for a fact that it was one of the darkest periods of my life. Even talking about it now, one year later, is unsettling.

My parents, who couldn’t bear seeing me in so much distress for such an abnormally long period of time, suggested that I seek treatment. Mental illness is extremely prevalent within my immediate and extended family, and seeing as mental illness, just like most illnesses, is genetically inherited, they were not particularly surprised to see me experiencing symptoms of chronic anxiety and depression.

One thing that my psychiatrist said that particularly struck me and is still ingrained in my mind today is: “You’ve been feeling this way since who knows when, but you’re not supposed to be feeling like this. It’s been the only thing you know.” It was true. I had become accustomed to living with feelings of dread, anxiety, and worthlessness my entire life, and I had never even realized it. I had begun to believe that this was the way you were supposed to feel. It wasn’t, though. Life is not supposed to feel like a compromise; you are not supposed to feel like a burden.

After my appointment, after a long time, I felt optimistic. I felt as if things would get better. To anyone reading this who is suffering from mental illness, things will get better. I promise you. The dark cloud over your head will pass, and the sun will shine again. You can never afford to lose hope, though. Hope is the only thing that will get you through the day and onto a better and brighter path.

It has been a year now, and I can say I am so thankful that I got treated before my situation worsened. I am at college now, away from home, independent, thriving, learning, growing. The negative feelings that used to suffocate me and prevent me from living my life have drastically reduced. Of course, I still get the occasional state of depression or a burst of anxiety, but it’s nothing compared to before.

I am not ashamed to say that I take medication to treat my mental illness. It makes me who I am, but at the same time, it doesn’t define me. There are definitely some downsides to antidepressant medication, which I would like to discuss in more detail in another blog post. However, when I think of that dark hole I was in, I feel so fortunate to be where I am now.

The only thing I regret is that I didn’t share my story with others during that rough patch; it was transparent to no one but my family. If I had told even one other friend, I feel like my battle would not have been as difficult. For this reason, I want to listen to your battles and help you because I’ve been there and know how you feel.

Please, please, PLEASE share your mental health stories! We’re all here to talk to one another and give each other support, love, and empathy. You can post anonymously on my blog if you feel more comfortable that way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s