Fighting Through The Darkness: A Personal Mental Health Story

One moment you feel like you’re the sun: with light shining from your eyes, and a big smile. Even when you embrace people you give off a positive feeling of warmth.

However, somehow over time that energy and light slowly starts to dim due to the expansive storm that has now engulfed you.

To go from feeling on top of the world as if nothing could bring you down, to now being unable to get yourself out of bed in the morning, so consumed with inner turmoil that motivation for school, work, and life in general is nonexistent.

Spending hours a day crying, feeling worthless and unwanted by family and friends.

Feeling like such a failure at life and that you’re becoming a burden to your loved ones, that the only option you land on is that the best way to relieve them of having to deal with you is to no longer be around.

At first it starts out as I’ll just run away, but then you start to think somehow that won’t be enough so your mind starts to wander, to getting in your car and driving off the first bridge you get to.

When that thought crossed my mind that’s when I truly became scared of myself.

Anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder—tie it up with a bow and you’ve got yourself a mangled, but somehow still beautifully wrapped box that is Me.

For most of my life, I have struggled with anxiety without knowing it. When I was younger I used to have suicidal ideation but it never went past being more than just a thought.

Here I am, now in my early 20’s, and this dark cloud is hovering over me once again.

I was constantly beating myself up for not being strong enough to pull myself out of a rut. I started putting any form of responsibility on the backburner.

I was in the final semester of my college career and my anxiety had kicked in so heavy that I landed in the world of a deep depression.

I began isolating myself, not wanting to burden my friends with the negative energy that surrounded me. I spent every day in bed because it was easier to just sleep instead of facing my problems.

I began confiding in an ex because he had already seen every flaw there was in me but after a while I began to realize I was using sex to escape reality and myself; to feel something for even a moment.

When my room began to feel more like a dungeon than a sanctuary, I knew it was time to get help.

I went to my psychologist and told her that I think I’m going to check myself into the hospital. That night, I went home and wrote out everything I was thinking/feeling:

I don’t know what to do to help myself anymore. I try to find the parts of who I am that I love but sometimes I start to think what about me is worth loving.

I tell myself to bring back the girl who loved life, who took pride in who she was without fear of everyone else, an energy that could light up a room—this girl loved and was loved.

The girl that’s living inside me now has lost her way so much that she can’t even pretend to be okay. I somehow stopped loving myself.

I guess one way to look at it is I’m exhausted. I want to shut off my brain. I need to just breathe for a second, to recollect myself.

After writing that last line, I made the decision in that moment that it was time to check myself in.

I asked my friends to take me, and the entire drive there I was trembling and hysterically crying but I knew it was the only option at this point.

Despite knowing I had to do this, I started to play the tape in my head that resorts to self-blame and hatred, “I made a mistake, that I shouldn’t be doing this, I was overreacting and that I was being weak.”

I spent eight days in the behavioral health unit in the hospital and every day I wanted to go home.

Subconsciously, I knew I wasn’t okay and I needed to have that time away from life to look at myself as well as my negative thought patterns.

As much as I still have a dislike for in-patient care I don’t regret making the decision to go. After eight days in the hospital, 2 months of Intensive Out Patient therapy and a lot of inner strength that’s when I could look at myself as a beautifully mangled present—with a bow on top!

By no means, am I trying to make my experience out to be the most heart wrenching story of all time.

I’m instead trying to shed a light on one person’s struggle with mental illness, the capability it has to bring you into the depths of darkness but the strength we fail to see in ourselves to find even the tiniest bit of light.

I don’t wish this pain onto anyone but I no longer blame myself for it happening and have even gotten to the point of strangely appreciating it, because without reaching the bottom you never know what the top looks like.

Without losing yourself you never fully experience meeting the soul that lives within.

There is a stigma within society around mental health and I want to send my embrace to anyone going through a rough time ,or anyone fighting to no longer let it control you.

It’s a part of who you are but it is not who you are as a whole. When you spend so much of your time living inside a dark cloud it’s hard to see the light that is being hidden.

It’s at that moment though that you can no longer let it consume you, it’s time to choose joy, to choose light, and to find the sun again.

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