Miranda s Story
“When I was 12 years old, I had appendicitis, so I was out of school for the first month of 7th grade. When I returned, there were rumors spreading about why I was gone. Classmates would whisper in my direction and laugh at me as I walked from class to class.
They would call me ugly, fat, a liar, and unlovable. My close friends started to believe these accusations being made and stopped being friends with me. After a while, I started believing that I was fat, ugly, unlovable, and pathetic.
I dreaded going to school due to the anxiety of being bullied- in a place where I was supposed to feel safe. Eventually I transferred schools and things were going really well until high school. When I was in the 10th grade, my anxiety ‘came back’ - and what I mean about ‘came back’ is that I never really thought I had anxiety- I thought throwing up every morning was normal because I was just nervous.
It wasn’t until I started throwing up in the morning, during school, and with the thought of something going wrong, that I realized this was not 'normal' nervousness. I started attending therapy weekly, which is when I was diagnosed with anxiety. My extended family has a history of mental illnesses- depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD. However, through therapy, I discovered that the bullying I dealt with in middle school contributed heavily to my disorder. My anxiety is triggered when I feel alone or rejected by my peers.
I was prescribed medication for my anxiety, while still attending weekly therapy. I felt ashamed and embarrassed about my diagnosis- it wasn’t until the next year that I felt comfortable with sharing with my friends.
In 11th grade, I was diagnosed with depression. And, in the 12th grade, I tried to take my own life. I felt lonely, desperate, dark, and sad. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my best friend, Devin, who called my mom because he was banging on my front door, standing in the rain, because he was scared I was going to hurt myself- which I was planning to do...
At college, I see a therapist every other week. I am on medication and still trying to figure out which medication and what dosage will work best for me. Also, keeping a journal really helps me cope during an anxiety attack or when my depression clouds my judgment and mood.
There definitely is a stigma around mental illness. Through the media, they convey having a mental illness as someone being crazy, a loner, and unlovable. However, this is not the case. A lot of victims that suffer from mental illness are some of the most outgoing people, who seem like they have their life together, but could be suffering from a mental illness severely on the inside.
This stigma causes people to not seek help for their mental illness and isolate themselves. This is why I really like what 'The Invisible Illnesses' is doing because we are breaking the stigma and allowing people to be proud of themselves for living each day and coping with their mental illness.
Today, I am living each day to the fullest- even if that’s just getting out of bed. I want everyone to know that it does get better. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for my mom, my dad, my family, and my friends. Even if you feel alone, you are not. You are not your mental illness; your mental illness does not define you. You are you, and you are here for a reason don’t let your mental illness consume you."