I Will Rise: Lauren’s Story

Author: Lauren S.

Lauren Smith's Story.jpgMental illnesses are becoming more and more common. In my honest opinion, I feel that everyone deals with a mental illness at some point in their lives; however, no matter what disorder someone may be battling, there is always a possibility to recover. Help is always available, no matter what.

I was typically a happy child growing up. When I was a kid, my mom was in and out of the hospital a lot, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t realize how serious things were until it was too late and my mom had passed away, due to what I later found out was damage to her lungs from the chemotherapy she had been treated with as a child. Eventually, I learned to move on from this appalling loss and live my life to the fullest.

In seventh grade, I began struggling with depression and anxiety as well as my unceasingly low self-esteem, which later led to an eating disorder. Everything that I previously loved doing became meaningless. I suddenly felt that no matter how hard I tried to be happy, I couldn’t. The constant feeling of numbness caused me to resort to self harm, the only thing that made me feel human. I began isolating myself to the point where being in public for longer than five minutes could trigger a full-on anxiety attack. I would rarely be seen anywhere except school.

Due to the fact that I didn’t know anyone else that was dealing with this, I thought I was the only person in the world dealing with these issues. At first, I kept my problems a secret because I was terrified what people would think of me. I was different from my classmates and was petrified of being judged. I didn’t know how common mental illnesses were, so I was positive that no one would understand me if I tried to talk to them about what I was experiencing. Keeping my feelings a secret made things even worse for me. I couldn’t be myself around the people I loved. I constantly found myself plastering a fake smile on and pretending everything was okay, when clearly, it wasn’t.

Not long after that, I became suicidal. My thoughts persistently contained death. What I never learned to understand was how I was panicked at the thought of death but wanted to die at the same time. Not long after seventh grade started, I made the decision to kill myself. I didn’t think I would be missed. I didn’t think people would care. I richly remember exactly how I planned on doing it, but before I knew it, I was getting hospitalized the same day.

It wasn’t until about a year later, after my second hospitalization, that I realized I wanted to get better. At this point, I had lost all control of my eating disorder, and my depression was at its peak. The self harm continued to get worse and became a daily reoccurrence. Going into high school, I was still battling these disorders. I eventually made friends that were going through similar things as me, which made me realize that I wasn’t alone. I saw how much people really cared about me, and I decided that I would change for the best of things. I started getting treatment from numerous psychologists. I told people how I honestly felt, while I was still scared of being judged for my mental problems. I no longer got embarrassed when someone pointed out my self harm scars.

To this day, I still struggle between relapses and recovery, but I am certain that this will end. I will live a happy, healthy life in the future. I will not let my disorders control me anymore. My disorders do not define me. I am perfect in my own way, and I deserve to love myself for who I am, despite my disabilities.

-Lauren S.

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