I know this is a serious topic but…
I would consider myself a normal person. I get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and go off to class like any other college student. However, there is something that holds me back; you can’t see it just by looking at me. I have mental health problems. During my first semester of college at age 19 I started to feel very disconnected with myself. I didn’t like to leave my room, talk to others, sleep much, or even really eat. I started having panic attacks. I knew something was wrong but I thought I could just bury it under the surface and no one would ever know. I kept up a 4.0 amid my personal struggles to convince my parents that I was fine.
But my feelings started to change even more during the second semester. I thought that people were judging me and I was either severely depressed or anxious. There was never an in-between; no regular feelings. I either cared too much about things or didn’t care about them at all. I cried almost every night worried about events from my past or in the future. I thought about getting help sometimes but I also thought about seriously injuring myself. I hate to admit this, especially as a Christian, but I did think about suicide. That’s when I knew I had to at least say something.
The only person I was fighting was myself.
I told my Mom what had been going on in my life and she suggested that I go to counseling on campus. I was too afraid to go but I convinced her to let me see a doctor. She helped make the appointment in the summer, but I basically thought that I was “fine” and told her to cancel it everyday but she never did. I saw my general practitioner and she diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder. Yes, a disorder. She also recommended that I go to counseling and prescribed medication.
I know there is a lot of stigma about medications for mental disorders, but I decided to take it for my own well being. I take a low dosage of an antidepressant and I’m not ashamed of it. It, along with proper counseling, has helped me to stay calm and focused without worrying and feeling depressed.
I just want to say that I am not a bad person. I just happen to think a little bit differently than everyone else. I am allowed to express myself and feel the way I do. I don’t have to apologize for that. Mental illness is serious and people who don’t think it is have never experienced the turmoil that I have. Mental illness is real and I want more people to talk about it, embrace people with it, and help find answers for it. You are not in this alone-there is always someone to talk to. #nostigma
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
You and your mental health matter! xo-Ashley♥