Haley s Story
Chapel Hill, NC USA
"It all started when I was about 7 years old. I still remember it, to this day, as a sign of my mental illness, lurking in the background. But, since I was little, my level of self-realization was small. I remember I was frustrated with something that happened and I proceeded to rub my wrists on my porch railing to give myself splinters.
I still think about that moment, and relate it to what people describe when it comes to mental illness: a chemical imbalance in your brain. That’s what a mental illness entails. But, for some reason, it’s made into something much bigger by society. I’ve had several depressive episodes before, as I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety around 15 years old. However, nothing made me more scared than my freshman year of college did. I remember it so clearly.
I had a 'black cloud' surrounding my brain, blocking myself from thinking, eating, drinking, or getting up out of bed. I did not want to move. I wanted to sulk in my pain, which I thought was never ending. It was hard for me to walk down the street, let alone go to my classes.
I ended up at the ER one night because the pain got to be too much and I was afraid of what I would do to myself. It wasn’t the first time I showed up to the ER, though. I was there once before when I was 14 for the same reason. And when I was 17, my anxiety got to be so bad that I had panic attacks every single day.
At 19 years old, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, instead of depression. It was the reasoning for my heavy mood swings and episodes of dark depression and then intense happiness a day later. In my times of darkness, I used every single thing that I had gone through as to why I shouldn’t be here. I thought, 'I am not fit for this world. Everyone doesn't care as much as I do. People aren't as sensitive as I am. People weren’t diagnosed and sent to the ER as much as I have been. I will always be this way.'
I felt weak because I walked around with bandages around my wrists. But I’m here, breathing today, happy today, to tell you that I was wrong. Completely wrong. I was meant to be here to share my story. I was meant to be here to spread the love I never had inside myself until now. I was meant to be here to explain my silver lining, in hopes that some may find theirs. I was meant to be here because I haven’t wanted to be here before. And, I was meant to be here because I deserve to be happy.
You do too. I promise you, you will be okay. My favorite quote is 'this too shall pass.' Because everything you go through, that you think will always be inside of you, will pass. I am living proof. Don’t give up."