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‘But you don’t look depressed’ – My Mental Illness Story

I will be very honest about one thing in life, and that is that I’m sick.

I’m physically healthy for my age group, but my mental health has been in shambles for about ten years.

13 years of bullying don’t exactly do wonders for your sense of trust and self-esteem. It wasn’t until I got older I understood all those times that I couldn’t move for hours because I didn’t have any energy to function (even when I was completely healthy) or the times when I thought that if the world ended then and there I wouldn’t care.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 20. I was in a spiral of suicidal thoughts and was having a hard time coping with my living situation.

It was my second semester of college, and I had recently come back from winter break where I spent time with my family that until this day lives in Panama.

I had wholly forgotten an assignment, someone just asked me about the brownies I was sharing with a friend, and then all of the sudden I couldn’t breathe.

I felt like I was dying. I couldn’t stop crying. I was scared. I was frustrated. I could feel the eyes of my classmates directed to me, but nobody said anything.

Somehow, I gather the strength to ask to go to the washroom. I lost 20 minutes of class because I couldn’t control my sobbing and I wanted to look less destroyed when I got back to my classroom, where everyone pretended nothing happened, just like I did.

My life hasn’t been particularly hard. Both of my parents are alive but divorced and remarried. I never needed anything, but crave constant praise from adult figures for my accomplishments, to later be confronted with the reality of being criticised whenever I slipped and made a mistake.

I have had several mental breakdowns. I can’t even describe how terrified I was when I had my first panic attack. My anxiety makes me wary of everything and anything, but I’m trying to feel better.

Today I had an anxiety attack. One of those when I’m crying and laughing because I felt like life was playing a joke on me. It’s been a couple of months since my mental illness made itself so visible to me and my boyfriend, who was trying to comfort me, saying ‘it’s okay,’ ‘I’m here for you.’

I have high-functional anxiety and depression. I keep myself busy to cope with the overwhelming feeling that I might choke and disappear.

I doesn’t look like I’m sick. You won’t see me cry in public. You won’t be able to tell how I feel.

It makes me feel sad how misunderstood mental illness is.

It’s so invisible, but yet too present on the excuses of people that have never been diagnosed with the things they say to have.

I’m just trying to pull out a splinter from my heart. I want people to know that they are not alone.

I’m never going to give up on my happiness, and if you ever feel like you need someone to talk with, I’m here for you.

Break the stigma. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You are not weak; you might need help.

In any case, today I’m happy to see that I no longer hit rock bottom when I’m at my lowest, and I can finally see the beauty of small things.

Be grateful for the things you have, the good people surrounding you, and the stories that warm your heart.

This will not be the end of my story.

 

I don’t have a big closing remark; I want to encourage you to talk about mental health with your family and friends.

Until then, stay bubbly my friends.

 

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