Mental Health, Actually

I’m always conflicted on when my story begins. Was it in 2009, when I first received my diagnosis of depression? Or does it go back, way back to when I was a small child, unable to properly express my feelings or understand what exactly they meant? I guess it’s both.

My struggles began when I was a child. It’s difficult to remember any specific instances but I just remember this feeling of uncertainty that seemed to go beyond what most of my friends and classmates were feeling. Despite being a bright student I constantly lacked motivation and I spent a lot of time not wanting to go to school. I was deemed emotional and shy by adults and my peers, but the truth is it was my depression and anxiety manifesting itself. Self-harm began at 13 when, ironically, I saw the movie Thirteen and learned that I could control my internal feelings by wearing them externally.

In 2009 I reached my breaking point. I was in my last year of high school and I just wasn’t right. My depression had begun to turn itself into rage and I had so much of it. I remember sitting on my couch, watching Grey’s Anatomy and Googling my symptoms, and coming across depression. In 2009 I didn’t consciously know a single person with depression. It wasn’t until I told my mom that I needed to see my family doctor that I learned mental illness ran in my family. Suddenly everything made sense.

I don’t necessarily love describing myself as someone with depression, but having an answer makes it a little bit easier to navigate through life. Sometimes.

In 2018 I hit the lowest point of my life with depression. I think if I’m being honest with myself, suicidal ideation has always been hovering just under the surface, but that year is when I had to confront it head-on. For the last 14 months I’ve been the most open and raw about my depression and anxiety that I’ve ever been. And in those 14 months I’ve had so many positive interactions regarding mental illness and mental health than I ever have. I’ve talked to so many people who have recently decided to open up about their stories and I’ve felt inspired.

I’ve realized what a lot of us need is to know we’re not alone. That we’re not the only ones with funky brain chemistry. So, my main purpose is to talk to people who struggle with their mental health in some way or another so we can understand that not only are you not alone, but mental health takes on so many forms, creates so many stories, and that your story matters.

If I can make just one person feel less alone then I’ve succeeded.

Take care of yourself.
You are loved.

One thought on “Mental Health, Actually

  1. Hi Courtney,

    Thank you very much for sharing your story: as you’ve mentioned, knowing that you’re not alone helps a lot. I can totally relate to your feelings. Me too, I’ve been suffering from a mental disorder (OCD) for over a decade now and it went out of control when I was in senior high. And I’m glad to read that you’re getting better. It helps a lot to talk about our feelings.

    I’m really looking forward to reading your future posts!




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