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For someone who is incredibly emotional, I have never been one to talk about my feelings. I always thought that if I could fake a smile long enough, I would start to believe that I was happy, too. Over the years people have complimented me on my "outgoing personality" and "cheerful disposition.” Little do they know, I managed to make it through three and a half years of high school with anxiety and depression, while never disclosing it to anyone. I felt as if I would be a burden, as if speaking up would inconvenience those around me, because surely I was in the wrong.

The pressures I put on myself were far too heavy to be carried by such a weak foundation. I pushed people away, people I couldn't believe would actually care about me. I self-harmed. It got to the point that I didn't care whether I lived or died, because at least then I might feel something.

The pressures I put on myself were far too heavy to be carried by such a weak foundation.
The thing about emotions is that they're so fluid, so strong, that holding them all in might just break you. There is no barrier for pain or sadness. Senior year taught me this lesson well. I couldn't find any motivation to do homework, couldn't bring myself to care about parties or any conversations I was having. My spirit, broken as it was, was silenced by none other than myself. I went numb and one day, I broke. On February 19th, I talked to a counselor. On March 2nd, I was diagnosed.

To anyone who's hurting, anyone who feels worthless or sad or nothing at all: you are not alone. There are people you can talk to, people who really do care. It is difficult at first, especially if you have been accustomed to hiding in the dark for so long. The light will blind you for awhile. There might be people who won't know how to talk to you anymore, people who might be so uncomfortable with your grief that they choose to leave. I've learned that recently. But all you can do for yourself is reach out. Find your foundation and speak up. You are alive and you can feel and you can be strong.