This week another follower was kind enough to share what she has been going through with her mental health. I am so in awe of how brave, strong and amazing you guys are. Thank you to the brave women who shared her story for you all this week (if you want to share your story email me at firstname.lastname@example.org). To this writer - I am sending you so much love!!
"It was in the fifth grade when others began to notice a difference in me, and I began to notice one in myself. I was no longer participating in daily activities at school, like going outside for recess, but rather I would stay inside and spend time with the teacher. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with others, I just couldn’t find the energy in myself to do those things anymore. This would be the beginning of what would be a long journey ahead of me, one that I continue to work hard to beat to this day.
In the seventh grade, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. This is when I began treatment with my first therapist, and officially knew what was actually going on with me. I was prescribed anti-depressants and was attending therapy every other week to get me back on a normal path. I was struggling with self-harm and thoughts of suicide, and overall just had a lot of anger in me. Part of the reason I have depression is because of biology and a history of depression in my family, but the other reason was very situational. There were certain events that triggered the depression inside of me. At this point in my life, I was being severely bullied to the point of having to transfer schools to escape what I was going through. I was feeling sad, alone, and had an overall feeling of emptiness inside of me. Some of my thoughts would include things like telling myself how worthless I am, how I lack a purpose in this life, and things would be better off without me. However, I still continued to push forward.
All throughout high school I continued to struggle with my depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. It was not until this past year that I really began to work hard to make a difference for myself in terms of my mental health. After going through the traumatic experience of having a physically and mentally abusive relationship with an ex-boyfriend, I sought help from a number of counsellors and therapists to heal all the damage I had been through throughout my life. I found a therapist through Aurora Mental Health Center who I worked really well with, and she helped me realize that only I can really control how I feel about things. She didn’t look at me as my mental illness, but rather as someone who just needed a little help. Through my work with her, I realized that I needed to change my perspective on life and focus on all of the good things that I had around me.
As of today, I am 21 years old and currently studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. When I was 12, I would never have expected this for myself. I used to find it difficult to look ahead at the next year, or even the next five. Although I still struggle with depression from time to time, I find it easier to cope with now that I have good mechanisms in place for myself and a strong support system to back me. The biggest piece of advice I can give to others on how to live with depression is to find others who bring positivity to your life, whether it is through friendships or personal relationships. Having constant positivity has helped me get through some of the darkest times in my life, even when I didn’t necessarily want to hear it. My other piece of advice is that if you do self-harm, you need to put an end to it. It is a tactic that so many people use to try and focus on a physical pain and avoid the pain inside of themselves. I covered some old self-harm scars with a tattoo that says, “Be kind”, not only to myself, but to others, too.
I encourage others to seek help if they need it, and if you see someone struggling, reach out. It is important to talk about things like this, even if it is a little uncomfortable at first. But it was things like others reaching out to me or me talking to others who share similar struggles as I do that saved my life in the long run. "