An eight-year-old standing in the living room staring into the kitchen watching her parents fight (details left out to avoid triggers for others). A frightened child who got nauseous every time she went to the doctors and the dentist. A child misdiagnosed with asthma because she was having breathing attacks. A happy adventurous child who was made to think that she was nothing but screwed up and missing something.
All the signs were there, but no one had any eyes to see. I started asking for help, but no one wanted to admit there was a problem.
I dived into self-harm and developed an eating disorder. I was so alone with everything that was going on in my head that I literally couldn’t take being around other people anymore. If they weren’t going to help me then what was the point of them being around. I lost all my friends and I didn’t even care.
My senior year was the worst. All my anxiety had just piled up and then exploded. I felt awful, worthless, and hated. My senior year was also the best. People stared to open their eyes. People began to see there was a problem. People began to help. People began to show that they loved me.
One by one, I slowly began to build up a support system. People I could call at all hours of the day. People I could walk up to and they knew if I was okay or having a bad day. People that wanted to see me succeed. People that pushed me to be the best person I could be.
I started going to counseling. I was officially diagnosed with anxiety, and eating disorder,
depression, and PTSD. I was overwhelmed and scared about what that meant. I had thoughts like, “so my parents were right, I am messed up” and “there is something wrong with me.” This feeling worsened when I was put on medication.
Four counselors later I began to realize for the first time that there isn’t something wrong with me. I am not a problem. I am not a burden. I am loved. I have value. I have worth. I have a voice. I was just as overwhelmed when I began to realize these as truths. I began to realize there was nothing wrong with taking medication.
Today, I cherish the people around me so much more. I cherish the journey I have traveled because it has brought me to where I am now. It wasn’t easy. It was horrible actually and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. But I am me, and I am only who I am because of the journey I took to get here.
So, if I had advice to offer, it would be that you too are strong. You fight battles every single day. You fight these battles with yourselves, others, and the world. You couldn’t do that if you weren’t strong. The path isn’t perfect, but one day, you too, will look back on your path and realize it is what brought you to exactly where you are. Keep fighting. You are worth it!