I’ve met the demons of my mental illness more than ever since starting college last year. I openly struggle with social anxiety disorder, depression, as well as generalized anxiety disorder. Being away from home was difficult for me as I realized I was a little bit more than just shy when I was having panic attacks walking to class while worrying what people were thinking of me. I was sleeping all day and found it hard to get out of bed or be motivated to do anything.
I cried for no reason and sat in the dark crying uncontrollably without understanding why I was crying. My thoughts are very repetitive and one thought will run through my head even if it’s something I can’t change. I had to show up at least 30 minutes before class started so I wouldn’t feel like all eyes were on me when I entered class. Entering the dining halls were a challenge as well. I’d walk back to my dorm because I was too nervous to eat in front of people.
My Story With Mental Illness
One thing that is troubling for me is feeling alone during my battle with mental health. I find it difficult for people to understand what I’m going through. Many think I need to change the way I’m thinking; it’s a troubling approach for someone with mental health issues. For those of you battling mental health issues, your feelings, illness and battle are valid. I understand healing isn’t linear. There are weeks when I feel unstoppable and then there are weeks where I can’t come out of my room.
I sleep for three straight days and can’t find the energy to get out of my bed.It’s important to find what helps you personally. Some things I find helpful are going to therapy and taking medication. Having a strong support system is crucial for fighting mental illness. Daily exercise and keeping a journal are great ways of coping as well. You are not weak and shouldn’t be ashamed for needing help. Mental illness is common diagnoses.
Being open and honest with my therapist has allowed me to discover myself and what makes me happiest. I couldn’t face the childhood trauma until I started going to therapy every two weeks. Whenever I have a tough day, I think of my therapist saying, “it’s not your fault. you did the best with what you were given.” While I’m on the path to healing, I’m also working to fight the stigma around mental illness. I wanted to share my story to let people know you aren’t alone. If today, all you did was put yourself together and get out of bed, I’m proud of you. Don’t be afraid to seek out your campus resources as well as outside sources. The national suicide hotline is available 24 hours a day, is free and confidential and their number is 1-800-273-8255.
Let us know what you think about mental illness and the stigma surrounding it in the comments below!
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Currently a sophomore at Virginia Tech, lover of coffee, romantic comedies, puppies, Omega Phi Alpha and Atlanta Falcons football #gohokies