Seven. Seven years old, and my first diagnosis appeared on my lap like an unwanted animal, begging for attention. I didn't know what ADHD was, or even if it was a real thing, and not just random letters in the alphabet. How was I to know that the reason for my constant "story telling," the way I always tapped my foot while the teacher was talking, or interrupting class just to say something that didn't even pertain to what was being taught, was my very own diagnosis?
When I was in my junior year of high school I started to be more anxious than usual. I began to have insomnia and since I was taking such hard classes and studying for my SATs I became very distant from myself and my needs. Eventually it got to a point where I would spend days without eating a proper meal or sleeping. I am only human, but in my obsession with being perfect I became so ill I was hospitalized for 10 days do to heart failure. My body gave up on me; the lack of food and sleep got me down to 84 pounds, which led to feeding tubes down my nose and painful needles everywhere. I didn’t want to accept it, I always thought this was just a coincidence and that I was fine, I just needed to get through the year and everything would go back to the way it was. However, as you can guess that wasn’t the case. I developed depression and became such a ghost of a person I stopped recognizing myself. This went on for over a year until it became so much for me I started to harm myself in many ways, no need to mention them, you can guess. I became obsessed with death and the peace I thought it would bring me. I planned it many times in my head, I even started leaving notes for my friends and family so they would have something to hold on to when I was no longer here. So, trust me when I say I know what it feels like to see no choice, no light whatsoever in the life you’re living. But take it from a survivor of such a horrible illness, you can make it through.
Overcoming mental illness is a process that affects every part of your life. It is a constant battle between the brain and the self. One of the worst aspects of this affliction is so often the brain and the self feel as though they are together on this horrible journey. The brain being such a powerful organ it can seemingly control every aspect of your life during mental illness. It feels as though the two are completely inseparable.
An Open Letter to the Abused:
I really wonder what has happened to me. In my school, when I was bullied, I turned into some kind of a wise, mature person. I became alone and I felt lonely. But that gave me the chance to explore introspection. I began to wonder what's the point of teaching about morals and kindness when "no one" (my class was like my whole world to me) is going to learn them. I was bullied as a feminine boy so I began to wonder why can't people see that a boy is a boy no matter what. I began to think like this and then for some reason, I felt I had started thinking on a universe level. I began to wonder what was the purpose of our existence. To take birth, to study, to give exams, to get a job, to get married, to have children, and then die? In fact, why do we have children when we find them annoying to raise? And then they leave us afterwards (a majority of them maybe). Anyway, but that was 4-5 years ago. Within 2 years after that, my classmates changed but not all of them. They all still bullied me but mildly then since we all were in our final two grades. We had to focus on our grades. But they became a bit friendly with me. It made me felt nice. But I guess that was a bad thing that shouldn't have happened. My brain changed its course of thinking. It went down from universal thinking to an average person's thinking and I felt I had dulled myself. I stopped thinking about universe and people.
The following excerpt is something I wrote a couple of years ago to help heal a wound inside of me. It's about my sexual abuse experience, so it may be triggering for some and may help others feel less alone.
You're not the only one that wonders if you're the only one like you.
Lately, I've been in touch with parts of me I have ignored for years. Some of these hidden in corners, memories that I wish I could forget. Past lives I wish I hadn't lived and self-destructive cycles that seem to ignite me the same way every time.
What do you want to be when you grow up?” The famous question asked by relatives, family friends, doctors or teachers, normally accompanied by earnest grins. The question that was once answered with a smile from ear-to-ear, and eyes bright with wonder and aspiration as different career choices were pondered upon meticulously. However, the pubescent years turned to faded memories, and the reality of the world became abrasive. The same question that was once answered with a variety of specialized professions and ambitions, slowly began to be replied with shrugs, tired eyes, and a despondent aura that filled the breathes between conversation.
Let me preface this entire article by saying that anxiety and depression have been an active part of my life since I was 14. Now, as an almost 21 year old, I have learned how to handle these two destroying illnesses way better than I ever thought I would be able to. I have been able to find coping mechanisms and exercises that keep me right side up while my world is toppling down around me.
I was once called "the most negative person" someone had ever met. It didn't hit me until years later. Maybe that person was actually right.