Mental illness shutters life’s beauty, light

Mental illness shutters lifes beauty, light

Mental illnesses are generally misunderstood and judged by our society. Is it fair? No, not at all.
However, I understand that no one is perfect either. Many things we do aren’t “right” in moral standards. But today I will help society see that this is something that needs to change.
Why? Because I had an illness myself, for about a year and a half of my life. The summer of 2012, just after I graduated high school, is when it all began. I was playing as a goalie in a soccer game, an opposing player dribbled the ball toward my goal, I darted toward him and dove at his feet as he pulled his foot back for a shot, then felt the full force of his kick as his cleats slammed into the side of my head and knocked me out.
I ended up going to a hospital and a specialist on separate occasions, only to be told I was perfectly fine according to the tests. However, I knew something was wrong, I didn’t feel like myself. I was always sad, exhausted, unmotivated, and unsociable.
I stopped talking to my family and friends, quit pursuing my hobbies and talents, lost 20 pounds due to mal nutrition, and eventually dropped out of college.

Everything seemed to be going in a downward spiral, and I had no idea why. I didn’t talk to anyone about it because I felt like people would judge me.

Society typically labels people struggling with mental illnesses as weak or crazy, and considers it a problem that pure will-power can overcome. After months of suffering and hiding, I lost hope of ever getting rid of the negative cloud over my head and became suicidal.

At this point, I knew I needed to take action quickly because it had gone too far. I was diagnosed with depression by a doctor, and received medication.

The first two prescriptions I took did not work for me: one caused unbearable side effects and the other did nothing at all. I wanted to give up, however, I read stories of others who had let this illness go untreated for too long and how it affected them and their loved ones, so it pushed me to continue to endure the pain.

By the third medication, I finally found something that worked for me. It gave me my energy back and cleared a lot of the dark thoughts from my head. Eventually, I went back to college full time in fall of 2014, took a full time job at a bank, reconnected with friends and family, started pursuing my hobbies and interests again, gained a few lost pounds back, and even discovered a new talent: writing.

After months of being on the right track, I took myself off of the medication. It has been almost two months since then, and I am still doing great. It feels so comforting to know I don’t have to wear a mask anymore.

And now I know that in order to stay strong and healthy, I must continue to pursue my goals, and keep all of my loved ones close so I am able to keep each aspect of my life stable and supportive for when times do get tough. It was a long hard-fought battle, but I survived.

Unfortunately, in many cases, depression is a life-long war, so it may come back to strike again.

If it does challenge me in the future, I will be ready because I now know how to defeat the depressive beast. I am truly grateful that I was able to survive and escape the dark hole of depression. Unfortunately, not everyone who is cursed with the illness gets to experience a “happy ending” like me.

It has killed people in the past and will likely kill people in the future too.

I hope anyone who is currently suffering from a mental illness, reads this and learns from my experience.

Whether or not you speak up about it and seek help could determine if you live or die, so don’t worry about what other people think. Whoever stands by your side during your time of need are the people you should surround yourself with.

I’m well aware of the fact that I may be labeled or judged when some people read this column, but that doesn’t matter to me.
What’s much more important is that those who are going through what I did, gain the courage to fight back. To the people who are lucky enough to not know this feeling: if anyone you know needs help defeating this negative monster and escaping the darkness, please lend them a hand, because to them, your hand may be a light of hope toward their recovery.

Life is beautiful, and everyone deserves the opportunity to see its beauty.