I have sat down at least five separate times and have written multiple introductions for this post. Do I preface it with a warning? Do I set ground rules because it’s a more serious topic? What details should I share and how much information is too much?
I’ve been avoiding this topic since the moment I created this blog, yet it was one of the first topics on my list of writing prompts. It’s a bit uncomfortable to talk about, to say the least, but I feel like it is important to address. This post is in no way meant to get people to pity me. I just want to share my story so that you guys can get to know me better and maybe even be able to relate with my experiences. Anyway, I’ve been dancing around this topic for too long so let’s just dive right in.
I struggle with anxiety, depression, and binge eating.
Now that I’ve gotten that out there, I’m going to warn you that the rest of this may just be awkward rambling about my experience. Again, it’s a pretty uncomfortable subject for me to discuss, so just try and bare with me.
I’ve dealt with depression since middle school.
Towards the end of elementary and throughout middle school, I was bullied. Some of those people who picked on me were your typical bullies; they were just some kids who lived down the street from me and received satisfaction from poking fun at me. They called me names and made fun of my religion and creativity. I let it get to me. Although their words hurt, they only affected me a little bit because I wasn’t close to them personally. What really got to me was in middle school when my friends started to pick on me. They called me, just to list a few, a “goody-two-shoes,” “pizza face,” and “boy-crazy.” These things hurt even more than the teasing from the bullies. I considered them my best friends and to have people that I trusted pick on my personality and looks hurt me a lot.
7th grade (I’m the one in the middle).
I didn’t recognize that I was depressed until 8th grade.
The summer before my 8th-grade year, I met this guy who became a close friend of mine, or so I thought. We got along great and eventually, we liked each other as more than friends. However, without any explanation, one day he began actively avoiding me. This lasted for six months. I cried myself to sleep for a majority of that time because I had lost someone who I thought was my best friend and I had no idea why. However, towards the end of 8th grade, I got into a relationship with a guy and it made my ex-friend jealous. He started talking to me again suddenly. For some reason, I went along with it and eventually even dated him after my other relationship ended. I don’t really know what I was expecting considering his past actions. He ended up emotionally abusing me. He liked to build me up, calling me beautiful, smart, and loveable. Then he would turn around and tell me that I was annoying and awful to be around. Although I’ve forgiven him, it really affected my self-esteem and to this day I still struggle with believing that what he told me were lies.
Between my friends teasing, my ex’s emotional abuse, and being bullied, I became really insecure about my personality and appearance.
I transitioned into my freshman year of high school with a mask on. I pretended to be someone else by straightening my hair, listening to different music, and even going against some of my beliefs to show people that I was in fact not a “goody-two-shoes.” I craved others’ approval and even when I received it, I wasn’t any happier. God definitely was not in the center of my life.
Throughout my years in high school, I developed severe anxiety. I hated being around a lot of people and being out for a long time. I always felt like I was being judged and therefore I secluded myself. This caused me to lose a lot of friends in high school, which made me feel even more unaccepted. I began to have anxiety and panic attacks regularly. My anxiety became more generalized over time; social situations were not the only situations that made me anxious.
Freshman year of high school (this picture really cracks me up 😂).
This next part is a little more sensitive so I felt the need to add a trigger warning: Self-harm and suicide are discussed in the next few paragraphs. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, please talk to someone you trust or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
In middle school, I began to consider self-harm. I knew a few people who cut themselves and I thought that it would be an ideal way to cope with what I was feeling (disclaimer: it’s not). Thankfully, I was too afraid of my parents finding out to back these thoughts with any action. However, I dreamt about cutting for years. I romanticized self-harm which led to suicidal thoughts.
In high school, I lost a lot of friends. I didn’t feel like I had anyone who considered me as their best friend. I felt like people didn’t want me around and I believed those lies. My junior year was the first time I planned my suicide. I was originally going to take a few pills for a headache. However, I felt so awful about my current situation that instead I decided I was going to take the whole bottle of painkillers. I grabbed the bottle from the medicine cabinet. I starred at it for a few minutes before I burst into tears. Sobbing, I put the bottle away and immediately told my dad.
I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts since then. There have been times where I’ve thought about overdosing, hanging myself, or deeply cutting my wrists. Thankfully, I never attempted. These times were the only instances in which my anxiety came in clutch.
In middle school, I also became really uncomfortable with my body.
I always thought I was fat. I’m short, only 4’11, so my body is a little more compact. Genetics also provided me with thick thighs and curves which I struggle to accept. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) as well. Some of the symptoms are weight gain and difficulty with weight loss. I’ve always had a bit of a bad relationship with food. The foods I ate were overall pretty healthy, however, I have never been good with portion control. It wasn’t that big of an issue until my senior year of high school. I began binge eating at night without my parents knowing. I would sneak out to the kitchen, collect a bunch of snacks, and eat them in my room. This got worse in college. I thought it would be easier to eat healthier because I controlled what food I kept in my dorm. However, because I lived on my own, I indulged even more than I did before. I gained about 12 pounds last fall.
Now don’t worry, there’s a decent “ending” to this story.
I use the word “ending” lightly because I know I’m going to struggle with these things until my time is up. However, I have started to reach out to others for help.
The week before finals last semester, I went to my school’s counseling center. I was able to meet with a professional therapist and we discussed my mental health. She gave me some really great tips about how to address what I was struggling with. Applying these things to my life, as well as giving up all of my struggles to God, has really helped me improve. I’m not 100% “better” by any means and quite frankly I probably never will be. I have my bad days, as does everyone else. However, things have been looking up :).
Me now (a few days before the start of spring semester).
Well, that’s about it for now.
In the future, I may post updates on my mental health. My journey isn’t over until God calls me home, so instead of letting my mental health consume me, I’m going to let God use my story to help others.
Comment below if I should write a post about the strategies that I use for self-care/coping mechanisms!
Tip: if your college offers free counseling, utilize it!! Some of your tuition is going towards the center, so if you’re already paying for it you might as well use it!