The next day I was at school and for some reason I just lost it. I found myself in the guidance counselors office bawling my eyes out. I told her everything. Before this, no one knew about my depression. I never told because I didn’t think I had a reason to be depressed. I had food in my stomach, clothes on my back and a roof over my head.
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.
At some point I realized my heart was racing, I was breaking out in a cold sweat and my chest was tightening and and beginning to hurt. It was only a month later I realized I was having a panic attack. During my 25 years serving churches I had often faced hostility of all kinds, even death threats and now I was experiencing the toll all that had taken on me.
For mental health week at my school, there was an anonymous drop box where students could write their stories with mental illnesses. I submitted my story, thinking it would be a good outlet to let out my emotions. My story was read in front of the entire school in an assembly, and I told one girl who I thought was my friend that it was my story. She proceeded to tell the entire grade, and of course, the entire grade proceeded to bully me more.
Will I fully come to the surface? Will my true self give into this dark beast inside of me? I will not allow it. For everyday I have shown how I can overcome even a small battle against it, I WILL overcome this. And so can you. Speak up, call out till you are blue in the face if you have to, show how you aren’t a sufferer but a SURVIVOR. If you can even do the smallest thing like getting out of bed and do one thing that your brain tells you that you can’t. Know, that you are fighting it, you have conquered that part and you WILL come out of the darkness.
As a writer, this has probably been the toughest story for me to write. Although, I wish I could erase the memories, I know that my story will help other people understand mental illness, and, most importantly, I will help people realize that their not alone. My story begins with the darkness; the darkness that overcomes your world, clouds your mind, and develops into hopelessness.
We should share our stories and let our voices be heard. We need to show people that mental illness is not just black & white; that there is an entire plethora of emotions that people deal with. We need to show people that mental illness is NOT a sign of weakness or invalidity. Most importantly, we need for people to understand that this illness isn’t born out of ignorance or a crave for attention– but that it’s very, very real.