Dana s Story
Long Branch, NJ USA
"For as long as I can remember, I had a general anxiety about almost everything. In middle school, I never wanted to go out and hang out with friends. I was content with being alone and on my computer. Everything was scary to me.
In high school, it got worse when I was bullied during my sophomore year. Being bullied was the peak of my depression and anxiety. Everything I said or did was ridiculed by my own thoughts, by my own neurology.
'You’re not good enough. No one likes you. Everyone is staring at you.'
These thoughts would go through my head every second of the day at school. The only place I felt safe at was in my own bed, sleeping, not thinking about the next day. Every day, when I stepped into my high school, felt like stepping into a place where I did not sense any belongingness. I felt alone. I felt like I had no friends.
The thought of killing myself crossed my mind every day for so many months until I was sitting at the kitchen table one day and I just lost it in front of my parents. Thankfully, we went to the doctor and they enrolled me in therapy.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. Every single day felt like a struggle. Getting out of bed felt like pulling myself out of a deep, dark ocean that I was suffocating in. Going out of the house and to school felt like I was going to an even darker place. I wanted to be alone all the time, every day.
Therapy helped a lot with the depression and anxiety, but there was still a sense of sadness. After a few months of therapy not really working for me, I was pulled out and forced to deal with my struggles on my own. I slowly came to terms with my major depression and started to speak out and try to talk about it.
Doing research and doing a lot of thinking started a passion in my heart for mental health. Today, as a freshman Psychology major, I continue to promote the awareness of mental health. I continue to suppress the stigma surrounding mental disorders so that people living with them feel more comfortable to speak out and get the help they need.
I still deal with small episodes of anxiety and depression, but I always tell myself that it is okay that I am on medication for this and it is okay that I utilize my school’s amazing psychological services. Mental health is my biggest passion and I hope that the passion I have makes my depression and anxiety go away forever. That’s the dream.
In reality, my actual dream is to be a therapist for teenagers who went through the same feelings and thoughts that I did. I want to help people and make them know that they are not alone in this struggle. And by being a therapist, I want to use my knowledge and passion to continue to promote the importance of mental health and to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness.
We must always remember that we are stronger than our mental illnesses. We are stronger than the stigmas. We are important."
Dana Breslau is the Monmouth University Campus Representative