When I sat down to write this piece, I felt a little bit embarrassed. I hesitated and stressed about posting something so private on a website so public. Thoughts like "people are going to see my story and my struggles and think of me as weak" flooded my mind.
But, that's just the issue. People may see this and they may think of me as weak, but other people may see this and ask for help.
Asking for help doesn't make you weak, especially when you're dealing with your mental health.
As a senior in high school, I went through a lot of changes in life. I lost some of my best friends, my parents were getting a divorce, and I was moving to a college two hours away in a few short months. The more I thought about each thing, the sadder I felt. A sad day turned into a sad week, then a week into a couple of weeks, and weeks into months. With so much going on around me, I didn't want to be a burden to anyone about how I was feeling, so I never said anything. I would wake up every morning and cry before starting my day. When I was around people, I shoved my emotions down and put on a happy face. I went through the same motions every single day. I pretended everything was okay. Eventually, I stopping hanging out with people as often and began spending more time alone.
When that summer came around, I found myself laying in bed all day and barely eating anything. I didn't talk to hardly anyone anymore. I never checked my phone or on my friends. I never left my house or even my room. My mind kept telling me no one cared about me, I didn't matter, and I was nothing but a waste. I listened to these words linger throughout my head all day, every day, in my pitch-black bedroom.
I never felt more alone.
I had hit rock bottom.
I began to tell myself feeling and behaving like this wasn't normal. I talked to the close ones around me and told them how I felt. I was so nervous about being told to "suck it up" or "just get over it," but I was given nothing but an abundance of support from everyone. I called my doctor and told her what was happening. After a lot (and I mean A LOT) of tears, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and put on medicine.
The change didn't happen overnight, not in becoming depressed and not in becoming healthy again.
I began to notice how if I let those thoughts control my mind and my actions, I wouldn't be here today to share this story. For so long, all I could see was darkness. But now, I can see sunshine and I have realized there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
I still struggle with my depression and anxiety, but I have come to understand this disease does not own me and I am not weak for needing help. There is always someone there to help you.
You matter and you are loved.