Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash “Yes” “No” “Maybe” Three words that I am proud to have in the English dictionary. Three words that I am happy that I have the ability to use, being aware that there are many who are unable to use those words for a variety of reasons. When spending time with a mixed cultural couple, I was able to learn that the French do not have a good word for ‘may...
They tell you before your freshman year that “the next four years are going to be the best time of your life.” When you have a mental illness, all the joy in your life is clouded. You can’t completely see all the happiness you are capable of because of the fog you must walk through that is your illness.
During my freshman year, I didn’t know I was ill. However, I did know that I felt numb all the time, I never wanted to go to football games or a friends house on a Friday night. I also knew that it would get harder to breathe before going to school. I constantly felt sick to my stomach at the thought of leaving my home. I thought that everyone felt like that, I was also ashamed to tell my parents. I went through the first year of high school in a haze. I was already ready for high school to end.
The summer going into my sophomore, the unthinkable happened to my big sister. My sister was sexually assaulted. She is my best friend, so when I saw her dealing with the aftermath, I realized that I had been acting the same way. I told my mom, she got me to see [a] doctor and I started therapy. I became secretive about my mental health with everyone.
When going back to school after the summer, it felt like I had a label on my forehead that said: “I have depression and social anxiety.” I began to lose hope, I was on all these pills, I saw a therapist every week and nothing was getting better. I would even go to the point of making myself sick just so I could stay at home and not have to face reality. I eventually stopped seeing the therapist, and I was doing okay. All the sudden it felt like I hit a brick wall. My social anxiety was through the roof as I prepare for a school presentation. Later that night I was in the hospital due to self-harm.
A few months go by and I was doing okay, I can almost see the end of the school year. However, I also ended up hitting the wall ten times harder. I was put into a psychiatric hospital for a week due to suicidal thoughts. I met many other kids my age going through some of the same things I was dealing with. I started to become more open about my diagnosis. I wasn’t afraid to tell people how I was struggling to just get out of bed in the morning. And finally, I became a junior.
My junior year started out good. I was going to a school I liked, I met new friends, and no one at my new school knew anything about what happened last year. It was the brand new start I was looking for. For once I enjoyed going to school. However, it never lasted. My anxiety took on a whole new level, I was always paranoid, and I began hearing things that aren’t there. I would hear two voices calling my name. I couldn’t leave the house, I ended up having to drop out of the school I loved. I left school without telling anyone what happened. I felt so isolated and weak for allowing these voices to control me.
My depression was worse than it ever was. I became suicidal again, I was hospitalized for a second time for a week. I was doing okay for a couple of months. I had recovered from the time in the hospital. After about two months of being released, I developed the sensation of tiny little bugs crawling under my skin and a third voice. I had begun scratching my skin raw in order to release the bugs from under my skin. All my doctors just say it’s from anxiety. I believe there is something else.
I have decided that I will go back to school in the fall for my senior year. The last three years were not the best years of my life. However, I am grateful they happened. I finally was able to see how strong I am to be able to keep pushing through it all. I was able to prove how strong I am and to see who my real friends are.
I am no longer ashamed of my mental health. It is apart of me and I’m proud of who I am. I was so ready to throw my life away, but I’m ready to take on my senior year. I might have lost the last three years but, I will not throw away my last chance at high school.
My name is Hannah, I’m seventeen and I have depression and social anxiety, but I will graduate from high school.