“I know you’re sad, so I won’t tell you to have a good day. Instead, I advise you to simply have a day. Stay alive, feed yourself well, wear comfortable clothes, and don’t give up on yourself just yet. It’ll get better. Until then, have a day.” -Unknown
When I was a little girl, I was happy. I played with the other kids my age and ran around with so much energy that, now, I couldn’t even ever imagine having. I’m honestly astounded when I watch home videos!
When I was 9, I slowed down. I hated sleep overs. Kids were boring. It was the complete opposite of how I was. I talked more with the adults because they had more interesting things to say. I was 12 when I was diagnosed with severe chronic migraines and they didn’t know what to do.
By the age of 15, I was on an anti-depressant.
I had been diagnosed with crohn’s disease as well as anxiety and depression, and we were still having a rough time with those migraines.
My junior and senior year of high school, I wasn’t there much. I was in the hospital from my crohn’s and, we later learned, chronic appendicitis. During that junior year, my counselors were so angry with me because I wasn’t in school. They berated me as soon as I walked in the door!
I was missing weeks of school at a time. I felt like absolute shit constantly and the anti-depressant I was on at the time was not right for me. I went into school one day and walked down to the guidance office and they stood there and waited for me, then handed me a stack of papers about an inch thick. It was the tests and homework I had missed out on over the past two weeks.
Mind, for all the previous years, I’d been an A and B student. When they handed me those tests and said I needed to take them right then, I could feel myself shatter. I was barely holding myself together as it was and then they pull this shit on me and acted surprised when I started crying.
They didn’t even realize that I sat in my car everyday for 10-15 minutes debating on whether it was worth it to go inside and deal with the constant anxiety and depression or go home and explain to my mom why I couldn’t go to school. I knew that at least my mom would have understood. She’d be disappointed, but she would understand.
I was a shattered mirror being held together by some shitty scotch tape.
I had never been a problem student for them. They had never seen me for any behavioral issues, only academic achievements. When I broke down over the tests, but tried to take them anyway, I had no clue what to write down. They told me that because I had already seen the test, I had to take it. I told them they could give me a 0%.
They didn’t understand how depression affected me. They didn’t get it. They didn’t care. There is such a negative stigma on mental illness and I don’t understand why.
It wasn’t long after this series of events that Robin Williams committed suicide. I felt so sorry for him. I know how I felt going through my issues, but I wasn’t suicidal. I could only imagine how he felt. His death got everyone’s attention. It showed everyone that even the seemingly happiest, hilarious, most beloved man in Hollywood still had depression.
People understood a little bit more, but they didn’t understand. They think it’s being sad all the time, but it’s not. Most of the time, you feel nothing. Empty. You let things fall apart. Your room, or home, becomes a mess and you can’t find any motivation to clean it. You can’t find the energy to get out of bed. So, you go back to sleep, and you sleep, and sleep because your dreams will always be better than your reality. And yet, people still blame you for not being able to get out of bed.
People don’t understand what they can’t see. Mental illness is a disease of the brain, a major organ. If I said that I had a ruptured appendix, you can get a CT scan and you can see that it’s ruptured. They understand because they can see it. All that said, though, people won’t understand it if we don’t talk about it.
So, let’s talk about it.
There is no shame in saying that you have a mental illness. You are not broken. You are so much stronger than you think. I know how awful it is to go to bed exhausted from battling your own mind, but you’re still here. You’re kicking ass. You’re a warrior. Keep fighting.
My name is Montana and I am 19 years old. My favorite color is blue. Coca-Cola is my favorite drink. I have crohn’s disease, migraines, depression, and anxiety. That’s who I am and nothing can change that.