To be completely honest, the past three weeks of my life have seemed like I was trapped in my own personal hell.
Since I was about 6 years old, I have struggled with my mental health. I've done talk therapy on and off even before I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 13. I definitely have grown from who I was back in 2012 in so many ways, and not to seem egotistical, I am proud of the progress I've made.
I have been able to identify my triggers, learn how to combat them, and appropriate coping mechanisms to calm myself down. I gained the courage to be more vocal when I am facing an episode. I have learned how to take care of myself, which has helped me a lot coming to college. For a while, I definitely had my bad days, but for the most part, I felt like I was on top of the world.
However, lately, I just lost that joy I feel on most days. I have struggled to keep myself distracted from the personal demons in my mind who want to play tricks on me. I lacked the motivation and energy not only to do the work for my classes but even getting up and going to class. I began questioning if I should stay at Temple or transfer because of how unhappy I was. I wasn't trying to run away from my problems, but just wanted to be somewhere I know would make me happy and that somewhere in Pittsburgh.
A series of unfortunate events led me to feel like a black sheep among my friends. My anxiety tricked me into believing everyone dislikes me if they didn't already. I hated just walking around campus or being seen in public because I felt like everyone had their eyes on me or I had a large target on my back.
These past three weeks have been my lowest point since coming to college. Normally, if I have an episode, I have been able to bounce myself back after a day or so. I knew the moment I felt that familiar hopeless, unmotivated feeling I knew too well from my childhood that something was wrong. I realized I was just emotionally, physically, and mentally drained that I just felt numb.
For the first time since joining Odyssey a year ago, I didn't even write an article. I just wanted to sleep all the time and be back home with my parents.
That was when I realized I am not okay. There was a grace period where I felt like I was in control of my emotions and doing good, but that all changed in an instant. I suddenly felt like I was spiraling out of control and just felt so miserable, most days I just called my mom crying about it all. God bless my mother is all I gotta say to that. All my friends noticed I wasn't okay either but it took a while for me to stop avoiding them and admitting what was bothering me. My chest always felt tight and I found it hard to breathe. I couldn't concentrate on anything. I just wasn't myself.
Admitting what was bothering me, however, meant that I had to admit I wasn't okay mentally. Sure, I was upset, but the bigger issue is that my anxiety has manifested itself and I no longer knew how to handle it on my own. It meant I have to go back to my psychiatrist and come up with a game plan to be the best version of myself.
And I'm okay with that. For me, life is all about progressing and becoming better. It would have been better if I didn't have the numerous mental breakdowns that showed that darker side of me. I know though that I will get better. I am not ashamed of my mental illness and the constant battle I encounter.
This personal struggle of mine does not define who I am, but it makes me stronger because of it