MHAM Submission - Stephanie Roberts
You never know who may need to hear that they are not alone and we could all use a little inspiration from day to day, so here's my story.
Now, I am going to take this back to the very beginning. The moment I first felt alone, and the moment I felt as though I was being bullied. When I was young, I went to Our Lady of Peace education system which also had a church within the school. I remember the day very clearly. We were talking about God, and where we wanted to go when we went to heaven. The teacher called on everyone in the class. When she got to me, it sounds silly now, but I said Chuck E. Cheese because that was my favorite place to go at that point in time. Every one of my classmates laughed out loud and I started to cry. That moment right there is where I believe, it all began. From that day on, I felt out of place and I felt like I didn't belong with the other kids.
Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I never really felt like there was a place for me within the crowd. I felt like the odd one out. I felt like there was not a single thing I could do to make anyone like me. I was very quiet in school, and I just kept to myself because that is what I was comfortable doing. Because of that, people made fun of me for not talking. They thought I was strange for not interacting with anyone besides my teachers and my friends at the time. The not wanting to even go to school, started in third grade. I remember my parents standing in my door way of my room and I said I wasn't feeling well and that I wanted to stay home. That snowballed until the day I decided to withdraw from high school. I would either cry while I was there, or I would cry every single day when I returned home. I was utterly miserable. I didn't understand how my classmates could hate me so much as to make fun or embarrass me. I didn't know what I could have done wrong to make them act that way.
I think my anxiety and depression started long before I even thought it had. Looking back, I have always been depressed, but it didn't become apparent up until I left school for good.
Feeling alone. I've always felt it. I've felt it deep within my bones and I've felt sadness throughout every inch of my body. Depression and anxiety can consume you. The darkness is so real and you can't pretend it isn't there because when you least expect it, it will rear its ugly head out of absolutely nowhere. I know this because I've lived it. I am still living with it but I've learned better ways to deal and to cope with my mental illness. It took time, but I got there.
Being bullied was never a joyful occasion. Not by any means. I am grateful that I had gone through it all though because it has made me into a tough individual. I've been through absolute hell. But I've gotten back up again every time.
I've lost seven family members within five years. No one should have to go through that much heart ache during a short period of time. I wouldn't wish any of it on my worst enemy.
At this current point in time, I want to express how I'm feeling. I'm not feeling like myself at all. I feel helpless, and lost within myself. I don't know how I am going to get through this rough patch, but I know I will eventually. I will wake up one morning and feel happiness in my grasp once again, and I can't wait. It is just so frustrating because I know I am stronger than this. I know I can beat this funk that I am in, because I have dug myself out of a hole more than once. It's just the waiting period that I am having trouble with.
I wanted to post this, this month in particular, solely because of it being Mental Health Awareness Month. It's something I struggle with on a day to day basis. It is a very important subject that many people relate to, myself included. I want to inspire others with my story, or at the very least, help them through a dark time in their life.
I encourage you all to ask for help. It may take you some time, and that is completely okay. Everyone is different in their journey to recovery. Mental illness affects each individual in a different way. Medication for mental illness, works the same way. It takes time to find the medication that will bring you back up to surface and help you feel like yourself once again. But only you can get yourself through. Medications are there to help, yes, but it's YOU that pushes you through the tough times. If you haven't been told yet today, I am proud of you and I will always be here if you need anything.
Happy Mental Health Awareness Month. Here's to wellness and strength, and one step closer to removing the stigma.