I remember very clearly in the third grade, in a new school, finding it very hard to eat in the crowded lunchroom. I’d never had this problem in my old school. My stomach ached and I felt nauseous, my throat was tight and the food on my tray was suddenly so unappealing. I went to the nurse. The first of many trips throughout the next, long, few years. I wouldn’t want to go out, not even with my family. I could barely eat in restaurants. School was hell even if I was fine on the outside. I became very good at hiding how I felt inside. I was petrified of gym class. Of lunch. Eventually, I couldn’t even focus in class and I felt like nothing mattered, like how I felt didn’t matter, but I had to keep going. I didn’t want to disappoint my family, didn’t want to cause problems at school. I knew the location of every bathroom in school and during which times they were least likely to have people in them. I became more familiar with those four walled stalls than any of my classmates. Not that I would tell them about any of this. I was the listener, the one who had a sarcastic sense if humor you could tell your troubles to.
I had no idea what I was going through was anxiety and depression,that I wasn’t supposed to HATE myself so much. I didn’t know that doing simple things like brushing my teeth and showering weren’t supposed to be so hard. I started counseling with no hope. It was like pulling teeth at first because when did I ever talk about my feelings like they actually mattered? My counselor (and my mom) greatly championed for me to get homeschooling and I will be forever grateful for that, I never would have graduated otherwise.
After, I slipped into depression worse than ever. I started self-harming worse than when I was in high school and will always have the scars. But I also came to know more about my mental illness. I learned that I mattered, even if I didn’t feel like it. I learned that my past, and even my family, had contributed to what I’m facing now and that this will be a life long struggle for me but suicide isn’t the answer and that asking for help when you need it, asking for what YOU need, isn’t being a burden. It’s what you deserve as a human being. Even if that means going to the hospital for your own safety, like I did. I am a patchwork of burn scars, tattoos, self-esteem issues and passion. I have just begun to find my voice, to find ME, and I have no intention of letting depression, anxiety, body image issues or anything else stop that.
I really don’t have a great way to end this so I’ll just say . . . I care. Know that there is someone out there that cares and just try to remember that.