I’ll admit it. Pretty much my entire life, I’ve been wearing a mask and hiding who I truly am. I’ve always wanted to make myself look like the perfect person who has everything together, but in reality, I am far from that. But now it’s time to come out and announce to the world who I am truly am, because I want to use my story to help other people. I am mentally ill. This is who I am.
I’ve always been an anxious person, constantly worrying about everything and everyone. But when I was in the 4th grade, everything changed when I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. People make a joke of this disorder all the time, saying that they are “so OCD.” But the truth is, this illness is no joke. It is a horrible illness that consumes the victims life until he or she spirals out of control. I was unable to go out into public, unable to focus on anything, and felt constantly trapped in my own brain. I was not in control of my body, but OCD was. OCD would tell me to wash my hands over a hundred times a day. OCD would leave me unable to leave the house because I had so many rituals to do. OCD would tell me that every single thing I did was wrong, when in reality it wasn’t. After intense psycho-therapy, I was eventually able to control the OCD. It never goes away, and I still have it, but I am able to control it much more.
I do not only have OCD. My first few years of high school were great, but after that my mental health deteriorated. I don’t know why, but it just happened. I became increasingly full of pain, and once again lost control of my life. I would eventually be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
The year after diagnosis, last year, was the worst year of my life. I dropped out of school, became unable to hold a job, and unable to keep friendships. I was not even able to take care of myself, as I barely left bed for an entire year. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I dropped down to just about 100 pounds. I was slowly starving myself to death and increasingly started binge-drinking. I lost control of my own emotions, being unable to control my anger and sadness. My mood would change by the minute and I would latch on to others in order to make myself feel needed.
Eventually, it got to the point where I no longer wanted to be alive. I wanted to be dead, and wanted anything to be away from the pain. That is when I was admitted into the psych hospital, and spent the next month hospitalized both for my own safety, and because I was unable to care for myself anymore. I had given up on life.
I am proud to say that since then, I have worked so hard at recovery. Through intense therapy, self-work, God, and medication, I am happy again. I am at a healthy point in my life where I am back in school, have healthy friendships, work full time, and can control my own emotions. This doesn’t mean I don’t have relapses and I am cured (I will always have these mental illnesses), but I am in control of my life again and know how to live with them. And it continues to get better and better. I am a survivor.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because now that I am in the “ongoing recovery” phase of my life, it is time to use my story to help other people. I completely believe that God put me through these trials so that I can use my experiences to save lives of people who are going through mental illness currently and to help others understand what it is like to be mentally ill. Through my story and life, I want other people to know that there is hope and that all of your pain is only temporary. I want others to know that it is NEVER worth ending your own life.
Coming out about being mentally ill and being open about who you are is extremely important and can save lives. I hope that through being open about this, I can do my part in breaking the stigma about mental illness and letting others know that it is nothing to be ashamed of and it is perfectly okay to seek help.
A few months ago, I announced that I have just received my first book deal. Now, I am proud to announce the subject. This book (title to be announced), will be a memoir on my recovery from mental illness. It will bring you inside the mind of someone who is mentally ill, and hopefully save lives in bringing people hope. It will be published through Trigger Press. No publishing date yet, but it will likely be out late this year or early next year. More information to come soon.
Through this book, I hope to break the stigma of mental illness, let people know that it is okay to seek help, and help the loved ones of those who suffer have more understanding. And above all, I hope to help people know that it is never worth ending your own life.
I am no longer ashamed of who I am. I will no longer hide my true self and I don’t care what others think of me. I am mentally ill. And that’s okay.