I was privileged enough to live in a very nice community growing up. Big houses, good school district, low crime. Unfortunately that didn’t come without all the social issues it created. I lived more or less in a bubble, literally. I mean the students drove nicer cars than the teachers. Hell, there were never more than 12 black kids in our high school at a time (around 1200 students.) It wasn’t diverse at all. I was caught up in an environment all about who had what. You should have seen the moms latch onto the wife of a former assistant general manager of a pro sports team in Pittsburgh. Basically if you didn’t have something material to offer someone else, you weren’t good enough. I feel bad for my parents though, because when they couldn’t afford a car for me I ripped them apart. I didn’t know what it was like to be grateful for what I did have, because I was so accustomed to getting what all the other kids had. It wasn’t my fault though, I was a product of the bubble I lived in. A teenage girl who had no idea how privileged she was, and so quick to expect things to be handed to her. Everything was constantly a competition in that kind of environment from the parents to the children to the teachers and throughout the higher-ups of the school district.
Another issue with living in a bubble community is it is college or bust for all of the students. I remember when I was a junior in high school I found out a girl I knew who was older had to come home after a semester at college. I guess she wasn’t doing very well and had to go to community college. I was so shocked when I found that out because I believed that going to community college was basically the end of the world. We were constantly told by our guidance counselors, teachers, and parents that we pretty much had to go to a “real” college or university. Nobody told us that most of us will probably change our majors, some of us will drop out, and some of us will have to take some time off to figure out what the hell is going on.
Well fast forward two and a half years. I have attended two different colleges and am currently taking my third semester off from school. My freshmen year I spent at Point Park University, and I spent a semester at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Yeah that actually happened. (We will get into all of that in more posts to come.) Why haven’t I been in college for over a year? Well, I took time off to battle depression. I was struggling with mental health issues for a really long time. I’d say they started in middle school. But it wasn’t until my freshmen year of college did I really notice them. I used different outlets to escape from my depression. Once those outlets dissipated on me I finally had to deal with the absolute demon that my depression had turned into.
If you knew me in the last 2 years you only knew a person who was completely dictated by her depression. I was told by my doctor I had to change my major because newsflash you can’t be a cop if you can’t buy a gun. I didn’t go into public for 6 weeks at one point. I binged to an extreme. My social anxiety sky rocketed so high that I would have to talk myself into entering a store. I didn’t shower for so long and slept all day that I thought my head was going to need shaved because of how matted my hair was. My family considered sending me away to a rehab center. I quit my first medication cold turkey because I was at the point of giving up completely. The cops were almost called on me several times, and I was very close to being put in a hospital for my safety. That isn’t even close to describing everything I have experienced dealing with major depression and anxiety.
It has taken me almost a year of weekly therapy, 2 trials with medication, and months of pretty much doing nothing but focus on my mental health to get to where I am right now. Yeah, I’m almost 21 years old and I’m not in school nor do I have a job, but I don’t know where I would be if I would’ve had to work or be in school. I am so grateful to have experienced this at an age where quitting everything to focus on mental health isn’t totally taboo. I realize a lot of people don’t get that kind of choice, and I applaud anyone who has battled a mental illness while working, in school, or raising a family.
I have gained so much from dealing with this and I want to share my story to help others realize that it is okay to have a different journey into the real world. You don’t have to party or get hundreds of likes on Instagram to be happy in life. Trust me, I definitely broke out in tears in Kohl’s in Mankato, Minnesota because I thought the key to happiness was being a hot sorority girl who partied all the time. I CANNOT tell you how much I have changed since then. I see through the superficialities that I was blind to a year ago. I see through the facades people put up online and to be honest most people are not as happy as they seem. Never wish you were someone else or wish you had more things, because all that wishing is taking away from the life you could be living. From experience, material items and the approval/validation from others will never make you happy. Running away from your problems will never solve them, and lying to yourself will only make your problems harder to overcome. Seek help if you need it. You don’t need to be in my situation to see someone. Anyone truly can benefit from seeing a professional. Many of us go about our lives believing the cognitive distortions we have created in our heads. It is until we recognize those distorted thoughts and challenge them will we become more self-aware.
Thanks for reading this post. It was an intro into what this blog will be about. I will go into detail about certain times in my life and use it to try to help anyone in a similar situation. I have gained a ton of self-awareness and want to dive into my thoughts on social media, life after playing a sport, bullying in school, minimalism, a vegan lifestyle, and all the other wild things I think of in my mind. I want to share my journey in life and my battle with depression specifically to help others. I have plenty of funny stories and absolutely ridiculous things that have happened to me and I’m sick of only getting to tell my two best friends.