Kelly s Story
Chicago, IL USA
“I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and an Eating Disorder. I would say my disorders are genetic. I decided to get diagnosed because my friend, who suffered as well, told me to get help. I was first diagnosed at the age of 16 years old. I felt lost, confused, alone, and it was difficult to be accepted.
I could tell you multiple stories about how my mental illnesses have affected me…
I remember my first panic attack. I was surrounded by people and I felt an overwhelming sense of fear. I started to shake uncontrollably and I felt like everyone’s eyes were on me.
My anxiety disorder ended up getting in my way of attending school because these attacks happened daily. I still had all my classes, I just did them alone at home. Other students did not always care or treat me kindly because of it. They would often make fun of me for it.
My depression affected my life heavily. I used to constantly debate if life was worth living for. I felt alone and felt as if no one understood me. Every day was a constant struggle to wake up and be productive.
My eating disorder affected the sport that I love more than anything. My team is what helped me get treatment and they became my support system. I was so malnourished that I would black out while practicing. I was exhausted- my body was weak and anytime someone touched me, my body would bruise. My hair thinned out. I would describe it as every day it was like I was playing a game of ding-dong-ditch on death’s door. I went into a day program for eating disorders, which helped me immensely.
Mental illnesses have constantly affected my life, whether it is my own or my friends’ mental illnesses.
I feel there is a huge stigma around mental illnesses. Our society makes mentally ill people sound crazy. The only time they care is when someone dies from the illness and then it's a tragedy, but yet if there wasn't this stigma, this person could have reached out for help.
My advice to anyone struggling silently is to reach out. There will be some that might not be willing to help or understand, but eventually, you will find someone who will be your rock and pull you out from rock-bottom. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get help. It’s hard at first, but it does get better.”