Maz s Story
“Growing up, I had always been seen as a gifted and talented honors student, and my intelligence was always really important to me. It was drilled into me as a child that not only was I better than other people, but that I had to stay that way and keep achieving ‘amazing’ things.
Figuring out I wasn’t inherently better than anyone else was actually a huge relief, but up until that point, I pushed myself constantly and beat myself up when I wasn’t scoring perfect grades or finishing all my work impeccably.
Being a straight ‘A’, 4.0 GPA student in high school nearly killed me. I went through my senior year in a fog. Most of the time, it was like swimming through soup: I was tired all the time, I couldn’t focus, and I couldn’t get anything done. I didn’t even have the energy to harm myself. I was in the IB program and marching band, but I had to quit many things just to stay afloat.
Even when I got to college, I was constantly tired mentally and physically, and nothing seemed to make it better. It took until the middle of my sophomore year and a suicide attempt to get the right medication and diagnosis: Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety, and Gender Dysphoria.
I finally accepted that I was transgender and came out this past spring, but there was a huge pushback from my family regarding my desire to transition that cut me deep. It’s really difficult to keep striving for happiness when you feel like you’re being punished for it. My own body just isn’t what I feel like it should be. Now that I’ve realized that, I’m a mix of both happier and upset: happy that I can transition, but also upset that I mightnever really be seen as a man.
I have a couple of mental health professionals I see and I’ve built up a good support network. Sometimes I slip, but most of the time I can go see someone, listen to music, or call my girlfriend. Most of it is just pushing forward one day or week at a time, and trying to stay organized.
Do I think there is a stigma surrounding mental health? There absolutely is. You’re expected to be able to take care of yourself and keep functioning ‘like everyone else,’ even if you’re struggling. Accusations of laziness or lack of care are insulting and unhelpful when someone has a mental illness, especially when they feel they can’t get the help they need.
If you are struggling with a mental illness, it’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad and tired and messed up- like you’re falling apart. It’s okay to let go of things that you can’t do. It’s also within your power to find and get help, and once you get started, it’s a lot easier to keep up with it. You will be okay no matter what happens. Please don’t give up on yourself.You’re worth having around.”