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My Struggles with Mental Illness
Hello everyone! My name is Emilie. I am 16 years old I love art, writing and music. I'm a little strange, which isn't a bad thing, and i play guitar and ukulele. I spend most of my free time drawing and writing, even when I should probably be doing homework.
Unfortunately I also suffer from mental illnesses; more specifically, severe depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
We've all struggled in life; we all have our trials. My trials came in the form of mental illness, which began to show itself around the age of 12.
It began with just plain old sadness. I was just… sad all the time. I didn't know what was wrong with me, but I didn't find the joy in life like I used to. I lost motivation, and didn't want to hang out with my friends anymore. My life began to unravel bit by bit as I got more depressed.
I didn't understand it. There was no reason to be so sad; i had a great family life, amazing friends, and everything i could ever want. To make matters worse, I started hearing things, voices and crowds cheering even when nobody was there. They were really scary experiences in the beginning, especially considering I was 13 at the time.
Everything spiraled out of control until I reached a breaking point. I wanted to feel something, anything other than the sadness, so I turned to something I could control. Pain. I didn't do it very often in the beginning. I finally confessed to my friend, who freaked out and told my parents. I was mad at him in the beginning, but now I'm grateful that he said something so my parents could be aware of the problem and help me. I was too afraid to say anything on my own.
Just when I thought things couldn't get worse, anxiety and paranoia decided to join the party. I was constantly on edge and I started to have panic attacks over little things, like I remember one time when I made plans to go to a corn maze with some friends, and the night before, I got worried we would get lost in the maze. The thought sent me into a huge panic attack. I tried to get overcome it but ended up cancelling. By 7th grade I had some idea what was wrong. I had heard about depression, and I felt like the symptoms accurately described how I felt, though I kept trying to convince myself that it would go away if I ignored it.
After a while my mom started to notice the change in my mood. When she finally confronted me about it, I felt so relieved; I was too afraid to say anything, but I really had no reason to be afraid. Anxiety, am I right? Irrational all the way.
We talked about me going on meds, but we didn't do anything about it. It took a while to finally schedule the appointment, and the whole time I just kept getting worse. Luckily I had family support to keep me going at this point.
When we finally got in to a doctor, I was prescribed Zoloft, which did help for the first little while.
But I still wasn't happy where I was at. I wasn't happy with myself or my situation in life. I needed a change. So in 8th grade, I decided I would move back to public school rather than stay at my charter school. I had a slightly uneasy feeling about it, but I switched halfway through the school year anyway. My first day at the new school, I got yelled at by one of my teachers and had a panic attack in math, so you could say it went pretty well. I didn't have any friends for all of 8th grade and most of 9th grade. I remember walking to one of my classes thinking, I'm just a loner. It's the type of person I am. I'm a loner and I'll always be one. I wasn't happy with that, but I accepted it. Luckily I did end up finding some friends near the end of 9th grade. I was on Prozac at the time, since the Zoloft started making me sick. I was all over the place mentally. Some days I would feel great and other days I wanted to die.
During the summer of 9th grade, i lost my cousin, whom i was very close to. That just made things worse.
When I got to 10th grade and moved up to the high school, things got so bad I nearly didn't make it through my sophomore year. The stress of it all was enough to break me. I like to say that 10th grade nearly killed me, literally. I was still taking my meds, but they no longer helped. I got depressed again, more depressed than I ever had been. I started hurting myself, more frequently and painfully. I felt like I didn't matter to anyone. I had no self esteem whatsoever and thought of myself as the worst person on earth. My friends were all very concerned for me, and tried to help in different ways. One of my friends even reported me to the counselors office. I lied my way out of a hospital stay. I remember the conversation very clearly. I sat down and he goes, “how are you doing, Emilie?”and I said, “I'm doing alright.” Then he said, “Really? Because I have reason to suggest otherwise.” In my head I was going crazy, like oh my gosh he's going to send me to the hospital. He asked me if I was suicidal, and I said no even though I was.
I was hearing and seeing things very frequently. Usually my voices don't address me or talk directly to me. It's like walking through a crowd, I hear bits and pieces of conversations, but it is still hard for me to deal with sometimes. The things I was seeing were really gruesome, like a black dog that had its face ripped off, exposing the bones underneath. It was always really scary, and still is when i see things like that.
Near the end of 10th grade I got even worse. I had a plan. I was going to kill myself, and soon. The night I planned on doing it, I was sitting at the computer and my dad came downstairs to help me with homework. He could tell that something was wrong, and I finally broke down. We agreed that I needed to go stay somewhere to help me get better. The next day, we went to a mental hospital called highland ridge where I stayed for almost two weeks recovering. The hospital helped me so much and I got quite a bit better. All of my teachers were very understanding, so I won't have to retake any classes.
I'm still trying to get better, bit by bit. Highland ridge kickstarted the recovery process, and i'm glad I decided to go there.
I still have my hard days. Things aren't all sunshine and rainbows since I got out of the hospital. I have really hard days sometimes, but through the support of all my family, friends, and therapist, I'm doing a lot better.
I start school in 2 weeks. I’ll be in 11th grade, and this time I'm prepared. I'm on the right dosage for my meds, and I have my support group. I’m not going to let things get as bad as they did in my sophomore year.
So, why did I decide to blog about it? Like I said before, all of us have our trials in life, and for some of us, those trials are mental illnesses. It can be hard to feel like you have anyone to relate to. I wanted to hopefully create another support system, not only for myself but for others as well. I want to make a difference in someone's life, and even if it's just one person, it's worth it.