This is 33rd story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Sofía has felt immensely lonely her whole life, but after asking for help, her life changed and she was able to overcome her metal disorder. This is her story:
Sofía is from México and moved to the U.S when she turned 12 years old with her family. Her greatest passion is photography, especially lomography. Sofía said, “Whenever I click the shutter I feel overwhelmed with joy, I feel alive.” She also loves to read. Her favorite books are from the author Anne Rice. Other great books Sofía has enjoyed reading are: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, and The Great Gatsby among much others. She is fond of playing the violin, is vegan, and watches as much movies as she possibly can during her free time.
Sofía’s goal is to graduate and become the best programmer. In 5 years, she hopes to be in either Canada or New Zealand. She wants to also travel the world with her boyfriend. Sofía would love to rescue and adopt many animals. She was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with chronic depression, but thankfully she has recovered. Sofía’s had depression since she was young. She said, “Ever since in the second grade I felt lost and sad most of the time, and when I was 9 years old, my parents got divorced. It went downhill from there.” Sofía’s psychiatrist prescribed her citalopram, bupropion, and sleeping medication, along with psychotherapy.
She dealt with terrible symptoms, Sofía always felt exhausted. She said, “I lost so much weight: I got to weigh 78 pounds. I slept all day and stayed awake at night. I couldn’t focus on anything, really, but I was always overthinking every single thing that I did or said or how others treated me.” She planned and tried to kill herself many times. Not only that, but the medications she was prescribed with affected her. Citalopram made her nauseous and sleepy. Bupropion was worse for her, she said, “Beside the nausea, my hands were shaking all the time, which made everything more awful because I was in art school then. It made it impossible to draw. My vision got blurry at times, and when I told my psychiatrist he said that it was normal, and that I should not stop taking my medication.”
This affected every aspect of her daily life. Sofía was alone most of the time and didn’t talk to anyone. She said, “I couldn’t make any friends, and when I did I couldn’t find a way to keep that friendship.” This led her read many books such as, Hold Still, Go Ask Alice and Willow among other books. Sofía was also bullied. She said, “It was hell going to some family gatherings because always someone had some negative comment about how I looked, how I seemed. It drove me away from my mom and my brothers amongst other people. I hurt myself. I tried so many times to run away, but thankfully there always was a friend that found me. I cannot tell you how many times or how many hours a day I spent planning my death. I felt worthless. I felt like no one would care if I died, I thought about who would be at my funeral, who would cry and who wouldn’t.” She also had terrible anxiety that took control during class. This provoked her to not think straight and she would hurt herself with a bench.
Sofía became addicted to cutting, she said:
“When I was 13 I started cutting myself, but it wasn’t until I turned 14 that I attempted suicide for the first time; I grabbed as many pills as I could and swallowed them. I locked myself in my room and waited to die, but I didn’t. By then, I was addicted to cutting. I could barely stand a day without it. I carried razors around with me. I did it every chance I had. It got so bad I could do nearly two hundred cuts in one sitting. I think overcoming this addiction is one of the hardest things I’ve done.”
After leaving a terrible relationship, Sofía became obsessed over him. She became sick and lost too much weight. Her eyes looked yellow and dry. She stopped eating and drinking water. She seemed lifeless. This affected her relationship with others, many left her side, but she met some of the most important people. The turning point for Sofía was during the summer of 2013, when she decided that she needed to get help. After going to see a doctor, he recommended Sofía to see a psychiatrist and told her mother she wanted to kill herself. This made her mother cry, Sofía said, “I had never seen her so devastated and determined. When we got to the car after the doctor’s appointment, she turned to me and cried for so long. She told me that the thought of losing me was more than she could handle. She told me she loved me, and that she’d do anything and everything to keep me alive.”
The strategy she used to overcome her mental disorder was taking it one day at a time. She kept fighting for her family, but her boyfriend, Luis helped her the most. She said, “He met me when I started going to the psychiatrist. He literally has seen me at my worst, he walked next to me on my road to recovery, and also has stayed now that I’m healthy. I remember one time I ran out of medicine, and it all got so terrible, but he didn’t back out. He met me at the park with his guitar and sang me some beautiful songs about having to keep fighting and he also bought me my medicine. I truly believe that it’s love that helps the most.”
The lesson Sofía learned from this ordeal is that life is rough, that she needs to keep going and enjoy herself and nature. This experience changed her outlook in life, she said, “I believe in love. I believe in honesty, and that we shouldn’t lock ourselves away. I am now a more open person, I accept and understand others more easily.” She now speaks up whenever she starts feeling down. She realized how great it can be to open up.
This is her advice for others struggling with similar situations:
“Please don’t give up. Talk to someone you trust. Remember that you’re not alone, and that all you have to do is ask for help.”
I am glad Sofía has been able to overcome her mental illness. It was not easy for her, but none the less she did it. Her story is proof that after years of being chronically depressed, you can beat it. Help me make a difference by sharing your story.