Growing up I always knew something was different about me. I started really noticing the differences when I was a freshman in high school. After hearing that one of my friends was diagnosed with severe depression, I started doing some research. I took every online test that I could find and they all said the same thing, “You may be suffering from depression, please speak to your doctor about taking the next step.”
But what was the next step? I was a scared little 14-year-old crying in my room while my parents slept, wondering what was going to happen to me. Would I ever be able to be happy? It wasn’t until a year later that I heard the news say Demi Lovato had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I loved her music and movies, so I looked up what Bipolar Disorder was. I started reading more and more and realized that a lot of what these websites were saying was what I was feeling inside. I wasn’t able to put my emotions into words yet, and then all of a sudden here they were. I again took every online quiz I could find and once again they all said the same thing… “You may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder, talk to your doctor.”
It was heartbreaking. After I read so many horror stories about people with this disease doing terrible things to themselves and others, I was scared. It wasn’t true, it couldn’t be true. I wasn’t crazy, the website was crazy. There was no way I had this disease, so I denied it for another year or so. It wasn’t until I started lashing out at my family and friends that it hit me – I needed to get help because this was not okay. I didn’t want to end up alone like the people I had read about previously. After high school graduation, things got better. I figured most of my problems were over with the end of high school so I didn’t get help.
Then I went to college. The first two years were okay, I was struggling but not as much as I used to, so I figured I was fine. I started my junior year and things just changed. I wasn’t going to class or doing homework, and I lost interest in things that used to bring me so much joy. I just knew something was wrong and it was getting worse. On October 15, 2015, I finally went and talked to a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with severe depression, mild anxiety, and bipolar disorder. There it was. I was absolutely crushed. I always knew I had these diseases, but hearing it from a professional was a different experience from reading it from some online quiz results. From that moment on, I knew everything was going to change. I dropped out of school after that fall semester and moved into an apartment with a friend. I started taking care of myself for the first time in a long time.
Since I was diagnosed almost 5 years ago, I also discovered that I have ADHD and my anxiety moved up the scale to severe. I have been on so many different medications and attend therapy sessions every 3 weeks (or more, as needed). I also went back to school and graduated with a degree in Theatre and am currently in grad school for HR Management. I would love to work in a nonprofit that supports those with mental illness and give back to the community that has given me so much.
I like to be open about my struggles because I want people to know that they are not alone in this world.
I hear you.
I see you.
I am here for you and things will get better.
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