I’m a teenager, I live in Europe and I turn 18 soon. At a glance I am just like any other teenager, my room is a tip, I sleep later whatever chance I get and I can easily walk around in tracksuits all day. I don’t really care what other people think of me in many respects, I dress the way I want, I don’t wear make-up and practical goes before anything else. My grades are very good and I excel in sports and other extra-curricular activities. Many people say I am the dream daughter: Mature, intelligent and responsible. No-one sees the other side of me, the side that people would rather pretend doesn’t exist in our world. The mental health side.
I was bullied all through school because I was different. I was the intelligent one, the kid that all the teachers liked. I put up with verbal abuse mostly, but there were also occasions when it went further. I became withdrawn very early on and by the age of 12 I hardly spoke to anyone, my social life still suffers greatly from this. At the age of 14 things took a turn for the worse, looking back this is probably when my depression actually started although it wasn’t diagnosed until I was very nearly 17.
At 15 I started self-harming myself and there are still days when I feel like things just aren’t worth it. What strikes me the most, looking back, is that no-one ever reacted or helped me. I am sure there were people around me that saw there was an issue and noticed that it was more than just a phase. The assumption I have drawn with time is that they were scared; they didn’t dare get involved, as if it were infectious. At 16 I very nearly committed suicide.
Now, two years on from that day I first met the psychologist who did nothing to help my situation I can look back and be proud of myself for pulling through. I still have a long way to go before I can live my life normally, but I believe that I only have myself to thank for being here today. I found a spark within myself to keep going and to prove that I wasn’t weak. I am not the person I was 2 years ago, I am now a more mature individual who knows myself very well. I now feel the slightest of down periods coming on and know how to handle them with a little help from a few trusted people around me.
Mental health issues don’t have to be a negative, they don’t have to stop you doing what you want to do. Since I managed to overcome the brunt of my illness I have been more focused on reaching my goals, more than I ever have before. I keep fighting and I do my very best to help others do the same. I am not scared to share what I have been through as I know that I can give others the belief to carry on going. Today I am living my dreams, pursuing an athletics career and doing extremely well at school. Just as I was before all of this started.
I asked Felicia if I could share my story because I want people to understand what bullying can do to a person but also because I want people to understand that mental health issues are not scary. They are not infectious and treating a person differently just because of their illness isn’t helping them, it is only making them worse. More often than not a person suffering from these problems just wants to be regarded as a normal person, just like I am.
You could get on the bus tomorrow and sit next to a person who is severely depressed. You could eat lunch with someone at work who cries themselves to sleep out of despair every night. A smile, a “Hello, how are you” makes a huge difference in our lives. Next time you meet someone, smile, you may of just saved their life.
About Our Guest:
Online I go by the name Tindris, I am a young web developer with a passion for writing. I ramble along on my website www.tindris.com.Photo Credit: Katherine Evans
Posted on March 1, 2013 by Felicia