mental illness can blind you. it can take away your perspective, your beliefs, your faith, your vision. it makes it so that you can't see a reason to get out of bed in the morning. it's not beautiful, or romantic- it's life threatening.
personally, I suffer from severe depression, with a moderate anxiety component. I also have a genetic mutation called the MTHFR gene. this means that genetically, my brain doesn't produce enough folic acid, and even if it did, I wouldn't be able to process it in the right ways to make it into serotonin (the happiness neurotransmitter.) I was diagnosed in October of my sophomore year, and I've been hospitalized twice due to severe suicidal thoughts and tendencies- basically to keep me safe from myself during some hard times. I've torn through 7 (SEVEN) different SSRIs, and if you've never been on a significant medication, you can't begin to know how difficult it is to change between meds so frequently. I had to quit playing both club and school volleyball due to significant panic episodes that hit me on and off the court, and the depressive episodes that followed. I've had to drop out of first, the International Baccalaureate program at my school, then my AP classes, and finally my classes all together. I've been homeschooled on and off since my first hospitalization during sophomore year, and then was taken out of school completely in November of my junior year. Depression and anxiety have taken away my drive to make new friends, and the effort to keep the ones I have. I've lost so much due to mental illness. but this is not a sob story.
I have chosen to take my experience and turn it into something positive. I've taken every opportunity to reach out, including this one, and support those who are also struggling, or have family/friends who are struggling. I've spoken to countless people about my story, and made connections with people because of shared experiences. I'm planning to take my journey and become a therapist, specializing in depression and PTSD. I am fighting, and after almost two years of struggle with suicide and self harm, I am so proud to be sitting here typing this today.
if I could say one thing to myself two years ago, or to someone who's struggling in silence now, I'd say that asking for help is the brave thing to do. I'd tell them that it takes so much more strength to ask for help than it does to keep it hidden. it doesn't matter how far gone you feel, you are not beyond repair. I'd say that I am so proud of you for trying to handle this on your own, but you don't have to. mental illness is just that, an illness. you should treat it just like if you broke your leg. you wouldn't limp around on a broken leg, pretending you were fine, telling everyone "no really, it's just all in my head! I'm good." no! you'd get help from people who know how to fix broken legs. you'd get crutches and a wheelchair and some ice and some Advil and maybe even get surgery. it's the same thing. fix your leg, kid. find someone, anyone, and tell them your story and ask them to listen. if you're on this website, you've got a good start. there are so many people surrounding you who would be willing to help if you'd just give them the chance. you don't have to fight this war alone.
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