My Body, My Home | Teen Ink

My Body, My Home

December 4, 2021
By Belleutiful BRONZE, Middletown, Ohio
Belleutiful BRONZE, Middletown, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

     “At home they expect you to be fixed. They say they understand, but the only people who really understand are the ones who’ve been to that place, too”, wrote Neal Shusterman. That place Shusterman refers to is the hospital, specifically for those who are struggling with mental health issues. Six times. I’ve been to the hospital six different times. Every time I was terrified. The last time, I was on a phone call with my therapist crying, her not understanding anything I was saying, then telling me she thought I needed to be evaluated again. It’s my sister who drove me to another hospital, to a different “home”. Home is where the hospital was, a safe haven for me in my darkest times. It was the one place where I didn’t have to worry. But within these hospital visits, I learned that I’m not broken, that there’s always room for self-improvement without changing everything about myself, and that I can be my own home.

     Growing up, I watched as many members of my family were depressed and suffered from some sort of mental illness. That’s when I decided I wasn’t allowed to be depressed or to feel things. I got called names like robotic because I pushed down all my emotions, not wanting to become like my family. The only time I couldn't control my emotions was when my anxiety got worse. I didn’t understand that depression was a thing I was capable of feeling too. I just kept telling myself that I wasn’t allowed to be depressed. Teachers would tell me that I needed to stop crying, speak up in class, and be confident -all these things anxiety wouldn't let me do. One teacher mistook it for shyness and told me she’d help me get over it. That made me believe it was something I had to get over, which made my anxiety worsen over time.

     Eventually, my mom had the idea for me to see the doctor about medication and starting therapy. It was my therapist who made me realize that I wasn’t broken, that just because I was struggling it hadn’t meant I didn’t deserve to be born. After a while of talking with my therapist, she sent me to the hospital to be evaluated for the first time. They decided they’d keep me and sent me to another hospital, where I’d stay for two weeks. During that stay, I felt many emotions. Fear, anger, sadness, and then one day, I just felt calm. Before then, I can’t recall a time in which I’ve ever felt calm. I worked on many things throughout my hospital stays. I learned coping mechanisms and de-escalation techniques. I learned I’m capable of loving parts of myself, which gives me hope that one day I’ll love all parts of myself. I discovered that I am allowed to feel things.

     Before I went to the hospital, I was always trying to impress someone, show that I was good enough, perfect enough but when you’re in the hospital it’s everybody trying to work on bettering themselves. There was nobody to prove yourself to, just me, and I realized then that I just wanted to be okay. If I had never gone to the hospital, I would’ve never been put on this journey of bettering myself and working out my issues. Realizing I’m capable of so much more than I ever gave myself credit for has opened up doors for me, allowed me to finally be hopeful for the future. I’m constantly working on improving myself without erasing myself, and I’m proud to say that I finally feel at home in my skin.

The author's comments:

The author is an eighteen-year-old girl who wrote this essay and got into one of her dream schools. She's still waiting to hear back from other colleges before making a decision about where she's going.


This piece means a lot to me. I wrote about something very vulnerable, something that I've had trouble talking about. Writing it has been eye-opening for me. These kinds of things should be talked about, not silenced, and that's why I'm going to keep talking about mental health and making it my priority. 

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