Mental Illness Recovery Series: Story # 6

Image by: Jessica Reiss
Image by: Jessica Reiss

This is an anonymous story of depression for the Mental Illness Recovery Series. Anonymous is from the United States and she enjoys reading and writing. Her favorite book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, but she also is fond of John Green and Toni Morrison books. Her goal is to be financially self-sufficient and to be happy. In five years from now she wants to either be in graduate school or working at a job she loves.

She still is struggling with depression since middle school and started showing symptoms of anxiety in high school. Even though her depression was informally diagnosed, she knew she had it. She went through various treatments such as individual cognitive behavioral therapy, group dialectical behavioral therapy and medication.

Image from: jessicakristie.com
Image from: jessicakristie.com

The symptoms she still deals with affect her immensely. She said, “I felt empty and constantly exhausted. I overthought everything and hated myself. I either slept too much or not at all. Same goes for eating.” This affected her life, she constantly struggled keeping up at her school. When she felt emotionally worse she resorted to self-harm at the age of 14, stopped and started again at 16. Then she became suicidal, thankfully she was too afraid to attempt it.

The only relationship that was not affected was with her best friend, this ordeal made them closer. But her relationship with her parents became difficult and quickly deteriorated after she asked them for help. She said, “I felt judged, misunderstood, and ultimately rejected.” This made her feel angry and frustrated with her parents over the last couple of years. Her parents handled the situation poorly making her feel trapped and isolated.

Image from: pinterest.com
Image from: pinterest.com

The turning point of overcoming her depression was the realization that it is an everyday battle. The strategy she used to cope with her illness was learning that there will always be bad days. She focused on creative outlets and practiced self-care to cope with her illness. Not only that, but her best friend and school teacher helped her along the way.

This ordeal taught her many aspects about herself and now her outlook in life has changed. She said, “I am almost a completely different person than I was when I started high school 4 years ago. I’ve become cynical and distrustful, but I’ve become so much more open-minded and empathetic.” She now makes a greater effort to keep toxic people out of her life.

This is her advice to those still struggling with depression:

“Reach out. Learn self-care. Mental health before everything else, even and especially school. Home isn’t always a place and family isn’t always your mother(s) and/or father(s); your best friends can be your family. Hang in there. Relapse doesn’t equal failure. You deserve to happy because you have worth and you have worth simply because you are.”

She is now going to start college this year and hopes that staying away from toxic people will allow her to feel free. She wants to find something worth living for. What are your thoughts on her story? Any advice for her and others struggling with depression? Comment on the bottom of the page.

P.S. Would you like to share your recovery story? If so email me at mlgaston1@gmail.com

Edited by: Holley McLane

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