My Experience with Mental Health

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I would like to start off by saying I have never been diagnosed with a mental illness because I have never gone to seek treatment. With that being said, I strongly urge those who are in dark times to learn from my mistakes and go seek help. Background info: My story begins with bullying. I was bullied as a child and throughout middle school for being the kid that’s different. My voice was a little deeper, I didn’t like dressing in girly clothes, I played with spiderman toys and played any and every sport I could. You could say I stood out. Since I was a kid I never quite understood the social norms like everyone else seemed to. I didn’t know how I was expected to act. I still struggle with this but have gotten better at it through observation over the years. My story: Due to the constant bullying, ridicule, and constant reminders from others that my life means nothing, I struggled to cope. My depressive symptoms (like I said at the beginning- I have never been officially diagnosed but I have struggled) developed around the age of 11 or 12. I continued to act as I normally would at school and home so no one would know anything was wrong. I lived my life to fulfill what was expected of me. I was expected to be the athlete with good grades, good manners, and self-disciplined. What no one knew was what was going on inside me. I was constantly sad, lonely, tired, hopeless – even though I did not show it. My lowest point was in 2011. In the summer of 2011 I reached a point where I lost control of the thoughts running through my head. I could only insult myself, I felt nauseous at the look of my reflection in the mirror, I hated every single thing about myself, I was lethargic, lost interest in everything I used to enjoy, I only watched tv and slept all day, I ate nothing but crap because I simply could not bring myself to care. I didn’t have a strong support system in place so no one noticed the change. I was on my own.  The toughest part of this time was the thoughts of suicide. I could not think of a reason why my life matters. During this time my dreams were very vivid and I cannot remember if I dreamt or lived this: I opened the kitchen drawer saw the knives, knew what I thought I was going to do, slammed it shut and sat on the kitchen floor in tears wondering why/how I got here. The one thing that kept me from going through with it was that I wanted to know how my life would turn out if I didn’t. That one shred of hope is what kept me going from day to day, I refused to let go of it. From then on it was a slow battle, with setbacks, to where I am now. When school started again I had to go back to what was expected of me, it was tough but I managed to pull it off so no one would know what is wrong. I continued to cry myself to sleep as I did any other night, but things slowly started to get better. Over the years I have made substantial improvements to how I see myself, my confidence, my self-esteem. I ate better, kept myself distracted with school and sports, and began to work out and use the endorphin high to help me get better. I began to overly rely on working out to make me feel happy which brought me to my setback in 2013. I would work out for hours a day, I did not eat enough for the amount of calories I was burning, and overall, I caused a lot more harm to my body than I helped. No matter what I did it never felt like enough. I’m now in university and have learned how to manage. I work out within reason and eat as much as I should and have actually gained a lot of weight (in a good way: I used to be 5’6″ and 120lbs and I’m now 5’7″ and a healthy 149lbs), I keep myself busy with school, work, the gym, and volunteering at my high school where I can, and this works for me. I now feel more confidant and happy than I ever have, I like the person I am and am becoming, I have a few real friends that could act as a support system when I need them, and overall I feel good. I’ve become more open about what I’ve struggled with and shared it with some people. I understand I have things I still need to work on but I’m much better than I was before. I can say I’m happy and mean it, I’m not lying to everyone around me anymore. I love myself and I will never forget that, even during dark times. I still have dark times occasionally for no reason at all but I’ve learned how to cope with it and I know the dark times pass. It true when people say it gets better. It does.  

Comments

  1. Profile photo of Nadine Wong

    Nadine Wong

    May 12, 2015

    Hey Sara!

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience! I feel like I can relate to so much of what you’ve shared. Being able to relate to others makes me feel like I’m not completely alone and that there is hope for myself.

    Thanks again!

    • Profile photo of Sara

      Sara

      May 13, 2015

      I watched your video, thank you for sharing yours as well! It’s comforting to be able to relate to others and it’s great what you’re doing by creating this community. Thank you!

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