If I could go back to the start of high school and tell myself the things that I know now, I feel like my experience would have been completely different. I struggled through the last four years in silence because there are a lot of things that nobody tells you about mental illness.
For starters, my naive 14-year-old self had no clue what was “wrong” with me. I was tired, unmotivated, and always had this sad feeling hanging over me. I isolated myself and never really made an effort to change until I hit senior year. This past September is when I finally reached out for help with my severe depression and anxiety disorder. Since then I’ve come to realize a lot of things about myself, mental illness, and even our school system.
I wish that we had talked about mental illness more in school, and were given the resources around us to contact for help. Honestly, I am a little disappointed in how I was dealt with at school. I found that my teachers weren’t always that supportive even though I provided doctors’ notes. Rather than asking me if everything was okay they bugged me about my lack of attendance.
I found a lot of organizations on my own that I am thankful to have discovered, but what about the kids who never gather the courage to reach out, or never realize that they need help in the first place? This is why I am writing. I am writing for all of the kids and adults who feel helpless and are too afraid to reach out. I think it is so unbelievably important to talk about these things because the more we talk about mental illness the more comfortable everyone will become with it. It has taken me a very long time to not only accept my anxiety and depression, but to be able speak about it openly.
I’d like to think that just maybe we can save somebody’s life by writing or talking about our own experiences. For me, I find such peace in reading or hearing stories of other people’s journeys with mental illness. It has a way of making me feel less alone in this very lonely process of mental illness. So, let’s keep talking about it.
About Emma Holden
18, tea enthusiast, animal lover, word writer, and wants to change the stigma on mental health one blog post at a time.