— From Our Readers

My Silent Battle With Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are not always visible. You may never know when somebody is fighting a silent battle.

In 2012, I first got diagnosed with depression in the winter, but I overlooked it and underestimated how bad I actually was. I had finished high school that summer, and was 16 years old. I had always been the type of person to keep things to myself, but never in my life had I ever felt as alone as I did in those months. I couldn’t sleep one night and became an insomniac extremely fast, and within the blink of an eye, days were flying by and I hadn’t moved out of my bed. I would sit up writing songs and stories all night and sleep all day, and sometimes I would even forget that I had school or other responsibilities to attend to.

When I faced the reality, my anxiety would suddenly flare up and it was too much to cope with. So again, I’d sleep all day and stay awake all night. Eventually it became such a routine I would become numb to it, and slowly started becoming my own worst enemy. It was as if I was trapped inside my bedroom, and if I ventured out of my room, it was the scariest thing. Eventually, I would go back in my shell, and continue to suffer in silence, and act like everything was OK to my parents, my friends, and my family.

As the year progressed and summer approached, I became less numb, and started trying to participate on my own terms, but my anxiety had gotten so bad that I would be forever pulling myself out of social situations or turning up to school late with an excuse. It would take me so long to even contemplate getting on the bus that I’d run back to my house and ring for a taxi. I think I kept the local taxi company in business over my two years at school with the amount of money I gave them.

This went on for several months. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking that this would never end. Once I’d pulled myself out of feeling low, I’d experience getting happy, and hyper, and then my anxiety would kick in and pull me straight back down. I wanted so badly to get involved in social situations, yet, for some reason, I’d be in a crowded room full of people and feel like if I sank into the ground then and there, nobody would care, or notice.

By 2014, things got a lot worse. I started experiencing severe depression, mood swings and anxiety. I was numb, I was happy, I was sad, I was lonely, I was hyper. I was never content. I was anxious, I was insecure, I felt insane, and I had built a wall up so high that nobody could ever climb over to see what was going on.

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