I am 18 and I survived Depression
Hi, my name is Kendall. I am 18 years old, and I struggle with anxiety and depression. This has been an ongoing battle for about 6 years. It's been really hard, let me tell you. Experiencing a series of toxic relationships throughout my adolescent years and dealing with mental illnesses. Sometimes, I'm surprised as to how far I've made it.
A few months ago, I started experiencing more intense symptoms of depression and anxiety. Ever since my senior year of high school started, it seemed to be a never ending roller coaster. I was always a nervous wreck. I would have frequent panic attacks in my classes, followed by lingering sadness/irritability. I was always tearing myself apart for a former friend, to the point where I no longer was an individual. I tried everything to get better. I tried some coping mechanisms, tried seeking support, tried just toughening it out. I was always negative about everything. I felt like nothing would get better. I felt like I didn't serve a purpose in the world. I either lost interest in my hobbies, or struggled to pursue them. I wasn't…me anymore. I was always stuck in the past. Always dwelling on past relationships or conflicts. Defined myself based on my enemies' opinions. I gave my past friends/enemies and my struggles so much power over me.
Almost two months ago, I went through a life-changing experience. It seemed as if I reached my breaking point. Because of some news my former friend had sprung on me, I descended into madness. It was more like the final straw, because I was trying to keep things together for so long that I finally snapped. At this point, I was desperate for help. I almost turned to self-harm, and was considering suicide. I turned to a girl that I had a falling out with almost a year ago, and that only made things worse. It was because of her rejection that I couldn't take it anymore. I started sending out apologies to people. Apologizing for everything: for who I was, for any mistakes I've made. I felt that if my enemies thought I was crazy, then what was the point of living? Unfortunately, I did end up self harming. Because I needed a release. I needed to cope, to finally let out all those negative emotions that I was trying to hold back. I then reached out to the former friend (the one who gave me the news) and he didn't want to help me either. He told me that I had weaknesses. Same with the girl when the falling out occurred. Only she rejected me in a much more cruel manner. That's what I felt like I was always told by people. That I was weak, that I was too sensitive, that I was being irrational. And it irritated me so much, because you should be allowed to feel what you feel. In fact, you are ALLOWED to feel what you feel. Expressing emotion does not make you weak. Emotions are valid.
But it was at that point, that I had hit rock bottom. I felt so lost, I felt…messed up inside.
But a miracle occurred. Because as soon as I started opening up to people, they wanted to help me. My uncle drove all the way from where he lived to my house just to hang out with me for an hour. Another friend of mine was giving me reasons as to why I do belong in this world. Telling me all the great things about me, and even offered to give me food because he was worried about my loss in appetite at the time. As soon as I got out of the crisis center the next day, I posted my story on Facebook. Because I was tired of hiding it. I wanted people to know that I was struggling. And the amount of love I received was…amazing. I had acquaintances checking on me. People offering me gifts. Everyone encouraged me to stay strong. That I was an amazing person, and that they would be there for me if I needed them. I couldn't believe it. It was at that point that I knew what love was supposed to be like. That I am valued as a person. It really inspired me to keep going.
And ever since then, I've been trying to better my life. I've been surrounding myself with nothing but positivity. I've been trying to change my views on life. Praying to god, listening to positive podcasts (thanks Positive Head for motivating me to be the best I can be!). Devoting some of my spare time to reading up articles to get a better understanding of what's behind all my traumatic experiences. Posting positive quotes to my Instagram in order to expand on my newly optimistic views. Honestly, life feels good right now. I've never felt more happier in my entire life. Freedom feels…amazing. I finally can be who I am again without worrying about being judged!
So in a way, I'm grateful that everything happened the way it did. If it wasn't for the trauma, I wouldn't have been inspired to try to change my life. As I've heard my mom tell me, everything happens for a reason. It's also helped me realize that I want to help people. I want to help people who struggle with mental disorders. I want to advocate for people who have been impacted by (or close to) suicide. Maybe I'll look into the psychology field in the future. Who knows?
But I want everyone to know that just because you have a mental illness, doesn't make you less of a human being. You are NOT your anxiety, depression, bipolar, eating disorder, etc. You are human. You're unique, strong, and amazing for choosing to be alive as you struggle with these demons. I feel like mental disorders are so invalidated by society, and it irritates me. Mental disorders are real, and they're not a joke.
But for those who have struggled or are struggling right now, just know that you're never alone. There's people out there who can help you. Friends, family, teachers, counselors, support groups, crisis centers near you, even the suicide prevention hotline. Just know, that it's okay to seek help.
As they say, once you hit rock bottom…the only way to go is up.
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