Hi, I’m Anonymous. I am supposed to start this out by making myself relatable, but the truth is that I worry too much about what other people think of me. And I think we can all relate to that, right? I had every intention of starting this out all strong and brave and stating my name so that I could be a positive role model to others going through what I have… but unfortunately, I am still a work in progress.
I am a 29-year-old straight, white, female. I am married to the love of my life and we have two little boys together. I grew up in a nice town, with a nice house, a nice family, and I didn’t want for anything. So, it made no sense to my parents when I tried to kill myself for the first time when I was only 12 years old.
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with depression. I started taking medication for it when I was about 11 years old, but I hated it. I didn’t want to be different from my peers- middle school was already hard enough without the constant reminder that my brain worked differently than everyone else’s. But, even with the medication, I would go in and out of depressive states. Some days I would be so down it was impossible to stand up. And the next day? I would be so happy and in love with my life it felt like there would be nothing that could bring me back down. I would fight with my parents over taking my prescription, and they would force me to do it, but it never seemed to help. My parents believed it helped… But that’s just because they refused to think anything else could be “wrong” with me. Depression they understood. Depression they could handle. Depression they could “fix.”
During this time I was one of the lucky 20.2% of kids in the United states who had to experience bullying. And although this article is not about my experience with being bullied, I think it was the main reason why I didn’t get the proper help I needed sooner. All of my feelings and emotions were chalked up to how others had treated me that day. The truth was that even during “good” days, my body was always in a constant struggle with its feelings. Whether I was happy or sad or angry or anxious: nothing really felt in my control. My emotions never seemed to match up to how I SHOULD be feeling.
So, I stayed in my depression. With no logical reason of why I was there. Since I had no control over my mental pain, I started cutting myself to have a physical pain that I COULD control. In high school I became angry. I was depressed from always being depressed. I started drinking and smoking to help escape from my feelings. I lost friendships. I stopped doing things I had once loved to do. I contemplated suicide often, and had even attempted it more than once by the time I graduated high school.
High school graduation. I’ll never forget this day. This was the day that my family had been waiting and praying for for 8 years. IF I could just make it through middle school, and then IF I could just make it through high school, I would be able to go off to college and THEN I could finally be happy. At least that’s what I was told. So when all the other parents stood and clapped in tears of pride as their child walked across the stage, my parents stood in tears of joy that I was still alive to make it to this day. I had survived, and now I could finally start my new life of being happy.
And I WAS happy. I moved away from the town that held all my confused and painful memories. I had a boyfriend (who is my now husband) who I loved deeply, and I had friends who understood me. I loved my life. And then, I REALLY loved my life! I felt so euphoric and free for the first time ever. I skipped classes to take adventures, I skipped meals because I didn’t want to slow down, I skipped sleeping because I didn’t need it! I was happy!… Until I wasn’t.
The first semester of my sophomore year in college is a blur to me. I don’t remember most of it. It’s like a whole period of time is completely erased from my memory. But the memory I do have is waking up one morning and being unable to get out of bed. Not from any physical ailment, but here I was once again- depressed. So depressed that I couldn’t move. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t talk. I could do anything but lay there in my bed wondering what the hell had happened to make me feel this way. Again.
My boyfriend called my parents, and they came and got me. I was forced to drop out of college, move back home, and leave my life I loved. And finally, at the age of 19, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
The diagnosis wasn’t as hard to take as you might expect. For me, it was a huge relief! It made sense. Everything made sense. This was me. This described how I had felt for as long as I could remember. And now I could finally get the proper help and medication I needed to live a “normal” life.
Finding the proper medications and learning how to avoid “triggers” was not easy. But knowing that this would finally help me was motivation to keep trying. And eventually, I found some that worked for me. I found a job I loved. I moved in with my boyfriend, I took my pills, and I became the most “normal” version of myself possible.
Now, after 10 years with my diagnosis, I am the happiest I have ever been! Yes, I still struggle with my depression. Yes, I still have days of feeling unexplainable joy. But I am who I am today because of my crazy emotions!
I learned to be strong- stronger than I knew I could be when I was sitting on the bathroom floor with a razor blade. I learned to love- because true love comes from the ones who see you at your worst and never leave your side.
I learned to live in the moment- whether its good or bad. Moments pass, and time keeps going.
And I learned to accept. Accept people. Accept life. Accept was has been and what will be.
So now, as I try and wrap this up while typing through tears of emotions… I want to say something to those of you who can relate to my story, whether through your own experience or through the experience of a loved one. There is nothing wrong with your brain, or your feelings. You CAN be happy. You CAN be successful. You CAN have a family. You CAN live the most incredible life far beyond what you think is possible! So wake up every day, and rise up out of bed knowing that your life is beautiful and worth living. And although I was not brave enough to share my name, I hope that by sharing my story you can find strength in knowing that you are not alone.
❤ Love, Anonymous