Mental Health and Me

I have survived 100% of my bad days.
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March 24, 2022

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<p>I can remember the first time I had an anxiety attack. I didn’t understand what was happening. I was at a Halloween dance at school. I stopped breathing. I stopped feeling. I dropped to the floor. I was surrounded by my friends. They were trying to reassure me that I was fine. I couldn’t stop crying. The school nurse was called to take my vitals and check me out. I was going through a pretty rough time. My great-uncle Arthur had just died a few months before this. I was close to him. I watched him take his last breath. I was devastated for months. Nobody tells you that losing someone that close to you can send you into a very dark and lonely place. I dealt with anxiety daily, never really knowing what the sharp pains in my ears and chest were. Never knowing why I would lose my breath so randomly. Nor why I had to constantly by tapping my fingers or drown my thoughts with loud music. </p>
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<p>The next year, things got a little more difficult. The real page-turner was when I transferred schools. I went from a school that had roughly 30 students in my class, to a school that had 500+ students in my class. I got lost in the waves of the many strangers. I started getting sick, physically. I’d catch random colds. I started losing sleep. I hated getting up for school. No one understood what I was going through. I constantly was being told by family members that I was FAKING it so I wouldn’t have to go to school. I can still hear those words to this day. At sixteen years old, I shouldn’t have been dismissed like that. But, the truth is, no one talks about mental health to understand it. I didn’t learn these things in school. I didn’t learn that it’s okay to feel anxious or tired or stressed. It’s okay to feel. But we are taught to turn our backs on people when they are going through the hardest times of their lives. We are taught to see them as less than, and like they have some kind of infectious disease. </p>
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<p>After many days of staying in bed, sleeping, crying, thinking, self-loathing, and whatever else came to pass, something happened in 2014. I had been contemplating suicide. I was researching ways to kill myself. I had written my “goodbye letters” to my family. I was ready to end my life. I don’t know what kind of intervention this was but I’ll never forget the call I got one day. My mom called me to check on me since I was not going to school at this point. She relayed information to me that has forever changed my life. One of my role models had been killed the night before. He was someone that I looked up to and appreciated. I stopped planning my suicide that day. I don’t think I ever stopped being depressed though. I just started learning how to “deal” with it. </p>
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<p>I dropped out of high school for a number of reasons. I could no longer concentrate on my work. It was driving me crazy to not have that kind of attention span. At eighteen years old I got my GED done in a total of four weeks. That is one of the proudest moments of my life. I did that for myself. I did that even though I had people telling me I couldn’t and wouldn’t. I overcame something that I saw as an obstacle. </p>
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<p>I’m not going to lie, there have been times that my depression has taken control of my life again and again. But there are times that I took control of my life. I chose the paths that scared me and made me question why I was ever afraid of falling. I have lost friends because I just couldn’t make myself keep up with communication. I have lost relationships because there were people that didn’t understand my needs. I have lost so many opportunities in life because I just couldn’t get out of bed. </p>
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<p>At twenty-five years old, I still deal with depression and anxiety. More than I want to sometimes. I’ve learned how to take care of myself. I’ve gained a relationship with a man that knows when to hold me and when to give me space. I have parents that now understand when I’m sad and need a pep talk. What I’ve learned since I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety is that we need to talk about these things. We need to make it known that it’s okay to go through these things. We need to make it known that no one fights these battles alone. We need to stop shaming and blaming someone for having depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues. </p>
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<p>You don’t realize the power your words hold until you can no longer speak to someone. Be kind, always. Make the world a better place, one day at a time. Start by making your world better. Take care of yourself. Reach out to a friend when you need to talk. Take a bubble bath. Listen to your favorite song. Write down your thoughts. Follow your dreams. Don’t settle for being pushed aside. Find your tribe of people and always make sure they are pushing you to be your best. Life isn’t easy. Never has been nor will it ever be. Normalize talking about mental health with your family and friends. You never know who may need to hear what you have to say. </p>
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Thank Deerodarc for sharing this story in the comments below.

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Mental Health and Me

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Anxiety, Depression

5 ways to start a conversation about mental health

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Project Semicolon, is the nation’s most effective grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for people all over the world experiencing mental health.

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When you're experiencing a mental health problem, supportive and reliable information can change your life. That's what we do. We empower people to understand their condition and the choices available to cope with the symptoms of their mental illness.

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