My story starts at a young age! I was just 9 years old when I told my parents I needed help because I just couldn’t handle being so sad anymore. So my parents made me an appointment with a psychiatrist and a therapist. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with depression, anxiety and social phobia. I actually still have the piece of paper to this day that he wrote my diagnosis on. Even though I got on depression medicine it still didn’t help with my social phobia. Due to my social phobia I missed school… A LOT. I stayed home more than I went & due to that I started failing and my friends abandoned me.
When I was 13 I got in trouble for truancy and I was given an ultimatum to either go inpatient and get help for my depression and social phobia or go to juvenile hall so I chose to go inpatient. So there I was at the front doors of a big mental health hospital and I was scared to death. I was sitting in the waiting room waiting to be evaluated to be put inpatient. Finally they called me back there into a small dark room with a round table and four chairs. There sat me, my mom, my dad and the evaluator. She asked me all kinds of questions like: Have you ever been physically abused? No. Have you ever been sexually abused? No. Have you ever thought about ending your life? I sadly had to answer yes. I looked over at my mom who had tears rolling down her face and I felt so bad. After about 3 hours they finally said they were keeping me.
I had to say goodbye to my Mom and Dad which was so scary for me! I went to the back where they showed me my room & gave me a hospital bracelet. They stripped searched me and then told me it was shower time. They assigned me a “shower box” with baby shampoo, conditioner, a little bar of soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste. I got into the shower and couldn’t figure out how to turn on the shower so I had a panic attack and sat in the floor crying. That first night was very hard, but after that I was so glad that I went! My depression was a lot better after I got on a different medicine. I stayed for 6 days and got out the day before Thanksgiving.
Even though my depression was better my social phobia was still bad and I still didn’t go to school. I was told about a school at the hospital where I decided to go. It was called day treatment and I met a lot of people like me and a lot of people worse than me. Going to day treatment was one of the best decisions I ever made! I ended up leaving there to go back to school and I did for a little bit, but I decided to drop out because my social phobia was still so bad. Eventually I stopped seeing a psychiatrist because I really thought I was getting better. In July 31st 2011 my Dad passed away. He was my best friend and my whole world crashed. Every morning when I woke up it felt like a bad dream and I would just cry my eyes out. I eventually went back to the psychiatrist and got back on depression medicine.
I decided I wanted to get my GED and graduate for my Dad so I went back to day treatment because they started a new GED class and I was the first one to get my GED out of the class. It felt so good to be able to say I’d done it – that I got my diploma! I eventually sorta stopped taking my medication. By sorta I mean that I took it a few times a week and that was it. Then I lost my insurance and I couldn’t afford my depression medicine so I let my PCP change it to a $4 script from Walmart and I was doing okay and eventually I got my insurance back, but stupidly I didn’t go back to the psychiatrist and I got to where I was crying myself to sleep every night, but I was hiding it. When I couldn’t hide it anymore I called to get back in to see a psychiatrist and they either didn’t take my insurance or there was a long waiting list. I cried constantly and I didn’t wanna live anymore. If it wasn’t for my Momma I would be dead. I eventually had to go inpatient to get on some new medicine. It was once again one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only did I get better, but I met a lot of amazing people in the 7 days I was there! I’m always gonna battle my mental illness, but I’ve learned that I can’t go without medicine and to never stop going to my psychiatrist! We need to end the stigma on mental health! People shouldn’t be afraid to tell someone they’re suffering from a mental illness! I believe that if we all share our story we could really help end the stigma! If my story helps just one person then it was completely worth writing! No one should be ashamed or try to hide their mental illness! #EndTheStigma