Author: Hannah B.
Depression and anxiety are much like anorexia/bulimia. [But], at the same time, they are worlds apart in the way that one’s depression manifests itself. Disorders such as anorexia, depression, or anxiety are not fads or [things] to be romanticized. They are not made-up for attention. They are very real, very scary, and very dangerous.
When I was younger, I was an extremely good student. I paid attention in class, always did my work, and got good grades. My freshman year of high school was a breeze, and so was the beginning of my sophomore year. During my second semester [of my sophomore year], things started to change. I lost all of my motivation and actually put on a little bit of weight. I stopped doing my homework and really didn’t pay attention in class. My grades plummeted. When I got home from school, all I did was eat and watch TV.
Most of my junior year was pretty uneventful. I still had the same habits as before, and I just didn’t feel right. Things changed in June of 2015. My mental health deteriorated rapidly with the pressure of school, college applications, and EMT school. A major contributing factor to my stress was poor time management. I didn’t put enough time and effort into my college applications or into studying for my finals. I put all of my time and energy into passing EMT school. This resulted in me failing two of my finals and not getting any of my applications in on time. I went to see a therapist once a week for a few months. I struggled with speaking about my issues, and showing my feelings. Eventually, I stopped going to my sessions. June of 2015 was also the first time I had one of my most severe anxiety attacks.
Summer came and went, and I still wasn’t doing anything to help myself. The fall of 2016 started my senior year of high school. At this time, tension started with a group of my friends. I started fighting with my [elementary-school] best friend. My other friends decided to get in on it, and I got called fairly horrible things. They were really the only people I hung out with ever since middle school, and suddenly I felt isolated.
While all of this was happening, I was starting to come into myself and realizing who I am. I’m bisexual. I had such a big secret, and I was so afraid of getting judged that I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell my family because I honestly didn’t think they would care about me anymore. My brother always had a “smart” comment about homosexuals, making jokes and what not. It seemed like his favorite word was “f*ggot”. Every time I would get offended about his comments, my mom would defend him and tell me that I needed to calm down because he was not saying it about me. At times, I felt like I didn’t fit-in in my own home. This made it even scarier to, one day, tell my family about who I am.
Between this and not having many people to talk to, my anxiety and depression got the worst [they’ve] ever been. I guess you could say that this [was] the point where I hit rock bottom. I started burning myself to try and get rid of the constant aching feeling I had in my chest. I wanted to concentrate on a different kind of pain [that was different from] what was going on inside my head. I [had] many angry outbursts and constant fights with my parents. I found myself lying on the floor crying, wondering why I was still alive and wishing I could die. Suicide was never really a solidified thought in my mind, but it was still there. I went for months without getting help or talking to anyone.
Things started to change when I came home one day and saw my mom out on the porch crying. She started screaming at me and asking where I had been. She thought that I had possibly gone to kill myself. That’s the first time that I was ever scared for my own safety. It dawned on me that her fear was very real, and she wasn’t overreacting. Since my parents had no idea where to go, they turned to my school and everyone agreed that I had no choice but to go back to therapy. In the beginning, it was tough because I struggled to open up. But in a few months, my attitude and the way I was feeling changed. I started to try and better myself, and let go of people from my past. I realized that people can judge me if they want, but if they do, they’re not [people] I need in my life. I wanted to focus on my future, and everything ahead of me. I connected with new friends, stopped harming myself, and found myself smiling a little more every day.
Is it still hard to overcome obstacles? Of course it is. As cliché as it sounds, my life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. I’m constantly trying to improve my outlook on life and work towards having more good days than bad ones. My anxiety and depression [are] still there, but I’m not going to let [them] define me. It’s a constant battle for me, but I will win.