Today is World Mental Health Day, and I want to talk about my mental health story.
  1. I've written a few times about my depression and anxiety, but this will be more of a timeline type thing.
  2. I've had suicidal thoughts for a really long time. I think the first time I had one was in 5th or 6th grade.
  3. They came on and off from then until my sophomore year of high school. Because they were infrequent, and I could count the number of times that I had had these thoughts on my hands, I didn't think they were a big deal.
  4. In March of 2012, I was diagnosed with ADD and prescribed medication for it.
    The medication helped me a lot and this diagnosis was a little disruptive, but ultimately it led to good things (better grades, not feeling so all over the place, and just generally feeling better). I still take medication for ADD.
  5. In February of 2013, I was a sophomore in high school, and my depression started (or came back? I don't really know) and I began having suicidal thoughts 2-3 times a day.
    I had to find ways to talk myself out of it. I found things to look forward to, things to be excited about, reasons why I shouldn't end my life. It was exhausting. I also began crying or having meltdowns 4-5 times a week.
  6. When the meltdown was happening, I felt horrible and I hated everything and everyone and myself, but they always ended, and then I felt better.
    I began to think that this was just normal, that I was fine, despite the fact that I had taken multiple online tests that had diagnosed me with depression and done lots of reading that confirmed that I had depression.
  7. My self esteem slowly crumbled. I felt like a burden on everyone around me and convinced myself that all of my friends hated me.
    I told myself that it would be easier if I were dead. It would be easier for me, and everyone around me.
  8. 2013 was full of short periods of happiness and sadness. I finished my sophomore year of HS and started my junior year. I would have good things happen to me, and I would feel happy, and then bad things would happen to me and I would convince myself that I had to kill myself.
    I was the most sensitive person ever. I couldn't handle any form of bad news without getting upset and crying about it.
  9. I said horrible and hurtful things to my mom to try and signal to her that I was in pain.
    To this day, I still don't think I forgive myself for all of the ways that I hurt her.
  10. In February of 2014, my dog died. She was almost 13 and her death crushed me, but it was different from all of the other bad news I had gotten, in that I still wanted to live after she died.
    I didn't find myself wanting to kill myself, I just wanted to cry. I was so confused by how I felt, and felt guilty that I wasn't more sad.
  11. My life continued to spiral out of control as I felt more trapped and unable to escape.
  12. I thought about running away, just packing up my car and driving to our house in Pennsylvania.
  13. I cried so many tears I'm shocked that I still have the ability to cry, and I lost all hope that I would ever feel happy again.
  14. On April 9, 2014, my mom took me to visit a psychiatrist.
    This was 2 weeks before my 17th birthday.
  15. I told my psychiatrist everything, how I was crying all the time and about my suicidal thoughts, and she wanted to hospitalize me.
    I wouldn't let her, and she confirmed that I had major depression and anxiety. She said she had never had a patient she wanted to hospitalize in the first session. She prescribed me some medication, and made me promise that I would call her daily for the next two weeks to confirm that I was doing well.
  16. I started taking the medication, and felt better immediately. That instant change made me realize just how horrible I had been feeling, and made me wish that I had gotten help sooner.
  17. I continued to take my medication, finished my junior year, started my senior year of high school, graduated, and started college. Now I'm in my sophomore year.
  18. I still struggle with feeling "happy" and knowing what the true definition of happiness is.
  19. My years of depression have left me feeling numb, and now I have trouble feeling anything, whether it's happy or sad.
  20. Sometimes I just feel like I'm going though the motions, and I question if I really feel happy, or if this is how I want my life to actually be.
  21. I've suspected that I might have OCD, but not enough that it's taking over my life, so I don't plan on doing anything about it right now.
  22. My depression destroyed all of my self esteem, and now I struggle with feeling worthy of this world, worthy of taking up space, worthy of other people's love and friendship.
    I'm working on it.
  23. I'm thinking about journaling, maybe writing down when I'm feeling anxious or sad or happy or excited. I'm thinking it might make me feel better and help me track my emotions.
  24. This is my story, and there are many like it, and we need to talk about it.
  25. If you have a mental illness, you're not alone, and there is hope.