As someone who has always encouraged people to look on the bright side of things, I may have really been trying to talk myself into it.
Mental illness is real. Anxiety is real. Depression is real. Every mental illness, big or small, is REAL.
In the world we live in today, people often think these illnesses aren’t real or that people use it as an excuse or are faking. Some may, but that’s not the case with me. I haven’t really talked much about my story.. and it may come shocking to some and not so much to others. I’m sharing because I feel that it is truly important for people to look into things more deeply than what they seem. A lot of people probably see me as Kenedy Douglas, the cheerleader, the girl who tried out to be a DCC, the one who talks to anybody and everybody, the happy one. Yes, all of those things are true, but do you really know who I am? Or do you only know how I have perceived myself for so many years.
So here goes…
It all started when I was a sophomore in high school. I often found myself feeling so alone and helpless due to there being a lot of problems at home, with friends, family, etc. I felt abandoned and completely alone in this dark cruel world. I prayed because I felt as if God was the only one who truly would never leave me. I prayed that he would send me someone… someone to save me because I was ready to leave. I felt that I did not have a purpose here and that nobody would even notice if I was gone. I liked being alone, but not feeling alone. There’s a difference. I would drive around at night on dirt roads & more times than not I thought about driving as fast as I could into the ditch. I would scrape my legs with thumb tacks. I would pull my own hair and claw myself. Why would I do that is probably what you’re thinking right now. But the truth is, I wanted to feel something. I was so numb and depressed that I simply just wanted to feel something, even if it hurt but felt so good at the same time.
Im not going to lie and say that these things don’t still happen to me, but I am going to say that I am growing. I am strong. I am learning how to live with it. I am choosing to do my best to let it all go.
Fast forward a few months to the answer to my prayers in one word and you all know it: Gus. I was so close to being gone when the weird guy in my BIM class randomly started talking to me, snap chatting me, & walking with me from class to class. I felt that I finally had someone, my saving grace. I’ve always told him that. Without him, I fall off the deep end every time. We broke up for a time, and I hated him. I hated him for disappointing me and not being that saving grace that I needed so desperately. I went to college and I lost it again. I fell into a deep depression and wouldn’t leave my room for days at a time. I would have anxiety attacks and feel like I was being suffocated. My friends and roommates would ask if I was okay and try and get me out but eventually they knew to just give me time. I ditched classes and wouldn’t eat. I just wanted to sleep forever. But they cared. & Gus still cared because he saved my life again by not giving up on me. Yeah we both made a lot of mistakes and fell short.. but one day when I randomly agreed to have dinner with him, I felt it all over again. I was reassured by God when I just felt at peace when I looked him in the eyes. He was still my saving grace. I never left him behind. People think we are crazy for being together again but they have no idea.. I love him with everything in me. Because without him, I wouldn’t be here anymore. He came into my life just when God had planned, because I was ready to go.
Yes I’ve been to the doctor. Yes I have been diagnosed with a strong general anxiety disorder & depression. Along with a sleeping disorder to top it off. Yes I am on medication, Xanax, Paroxetine, & sleeping pills. And lastly, yes I hate having to take all these pills and wish that I could just be “normal.” We all feel that way.
But, I am normal. I’ve recently come to realize that without all of the struggles and hardships I’ve been through, then I would not be the person that I am today. I have such a huge heart for others and often find myself putting others before myself. I have chosen my career and dream because of all that I have been through. Life is hard, and I’ve finally accepted that. I’m moving forward. I’m closing doors that have caused so much pain and hurt and I am growing from it.
I recently got a tattoo of my face with flowers and the seratonin molecule and a semicolon to represent happy thoughts and mental health awareness. I made the choice that I was going to get it and be stabbed thousands of times with little needles, and then I was never going to hurt myself again. I was never going to cut, claw, or scrape my skin again. I promised myself. Ive also started keeping a gratitude journal to remind myself of all of the good things in my life! To name just a few, I am a Chi Omega, a full-time student, I have Gus, my family, and friends, I have a job, and a baby puppy!!! I AM BLESSED AND I AM ALIVE!!!
So love on those around you, say “I love you,” and enjoy every moment because you never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. Save someone’s life by simply being kind. I have a mighty and loving God who has never left my side but has comforted me and forgiven me.
I AM LOVED AND SO ARE YOU! Don’t hold it all in like I did. Free yourself and find the things in life that bring you joy even when everything is falling apart around you. It’s okay to be different, we aren’t all the same, and that’s okay.