Michelle s Story
Washington D.C., USA
"I’ll maintain a facade. No one can cross the gates. No one can build a bridge." - Romana Rubyy
I was twelve years old living two different lives. I was masking everything that I felt deep down inside of me, however that was nothing new. Fake a smile, fake a laugh, pretend you’re enjoying life, don’t let them see the darkness that consumes you.
I was twelve years old the first time someone told me to 'go kill myself'. The first time I self-harmed, I hoped that it would take it all away and free my body from the pain it was clinging onto.
The emotional, physical, and verbal abuse that I experienced for most of my childhood was a gateway for severe depression at a very young age. For years, it was difficult for me to come to terms with the hurt and abuse that I had been exposed to. With the support of teachers, professionals and loved ones- I finally got the help that I needed.
Years had passed; I was now in college thinking that I was cured and that nothing was wrong. One thing I quickly realized was that there is no cure for a mental illness. Depression can’t just disappear overnight and it was impossible for me to pretend or try to be anybody else than the girl I had become.
I slowly began to lose touch with myself and I was constantly worried about how people were perceiving me. I found myself isolated from everything and everyone around me. I could be in a room full of a hundred people and still feel completely alone. I shut everyone out of my life.
It wasn’t until the end of my second year of college that I hit a breaking point. The thought of ending my life sounded much better than dealing with another day of living. I felt so low and no one close to me noticed me drowning on dry land. On one of my lowest days, I had a conversation with someone and they shared their story with me. They reminded me that I was never alone and that, somewhere along the path of life, there is a brightness, even if it was difficult for me to see it.
I still suffer daily from depression and severe anxiety brought upon by my past. It was difficult for me to share my story, but I wanted to because I want other people to know that it is okay not to be okay. It’s okay to have a bad day. It really is worth holding on because life is worth it, despite the struggle.
The stigma behind mental illnesses needs to come to an end. There are so many good people in this world that want to spread their compassion and love with you, you just have to be open to letting it in. I wish that I would have let someone in sooner.
Although you may feel alone, there are others who also feel that way. And it helps to know that even on the worst days, you are not fighting the battle by yourself."
Story by: Michelle Soler, The Catholic University of America Campus Representative