CASSIDY STYNSKY: LOOK FOR TOMORROW

Six years later and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, tomorrow I’ll be even stronger. Two of the biggest questions I could have asked myself were, why was I born this way? When will this stop? I can now say, after six long years, I chose to stop it. Depression and anxiety are simply apart of who I am but they do not define me. 

You may ask yourself, who is she? I was that pretty blonde girl that was on the honour roll and involved in EVERY sport in high school, every club and musical and I was that girl that sang and read at every school and sunday mass. I was huge into hockey and I loved stepping on the ice and feeling free as a bird. That was the only real time I could say I was without tension and difficult thoughts running through my head. I was involved with every little thing possible in my high school, but why couldn’t I just fit in? I don’t have answers and I may never, but I am far past those feelings. 

As a teenage girl we all go through a few break ups, a few broken friendship and fights and a few challenges that come with simply being a teenage girl. I was so lonely and lost, I kept going back, I was so addicted to the need for positive attention and just fitting into my peers. I was in a relationship off and on for a few years, but it wasn’t healthy. It was break up after break up, fight after fight and tear after tear. It broke me emotionally, mentally and physically. No one will ever know know how school, much sleep was lost and how much pain I felt. At that time I had lost myself, I lost that love for my family and I lost the drive to be anything but worthless. In those three years of high school I remember two of the most frightening experiences of my life. My mom had to hold me down one too many times, I put way too many holes in the wall with my phone and I was just sad and angry. I remember not once, but twice, trying to push tylenol down my throat. I lost count after 11 and I just went to sleep. I remember mom taking away every prescription, medication or harmful thing out of my room. It only got worse and in my head I was frustrated, confused and scared.. My visit to mental health was a scary experience; how dare you give a girl the choice to stay in the hospital or seek help? 

I went through some bullying that will forever be apart of me. Whether it was in elementary, high school or as an adult, negative words and actions always hurt. One of my worst memories was on a day that I had dreamed of most of my high school life; Student Council Senior Ring speeches. As a young girl I had always dreamed of the day I would be able to compete for this. I studied and made sure my speech was perfect. I decided to run for SRC senior ring. On the day of speeches, through the corner of my eye I could see girls laughing, yelling things towards me and being very disrespectful. As I read my speech I felt humiliated and unworthy. My hopes of winning were shattered at that moment but to my amazement I went on and won. There were two of us who took on the role of Sr Ring and I was thinking positive going into the New Year. Half way through the year I wanted to quit, I was done. I had experienced so much turmoil and conflict with the “group” of girls that hated me. I went through another episode of relentless sadness, I missed one too many classes and faked sick too many times and finally my mom figured it out. Why are girls so mean? I asked myself daily. Why am I the one they like to torment and make fun of? Through elementary and high school I was the kid involved in all sports and clubs, I was devoted to my religion and to my family, but why was I the kid that was always slammed against the wall? By grade 12 I was done. Taking my life was nothing short of a possibility in my graduation year. It was a time I was suppose to be looking forward to new beginning and a new start but everything just seemed hopeless. I somehow got through alive. The pills, tears, words, actions and cutting just didn’t work. I knew there was something more I just wasn't sure how to get there. Thank God! I believe God saved me through the hardest time of my life. 

I never gave up my fight and I never will. I’ll continue to question why I was that girl they chose to make fun of and judge, but I’ll forever know that it was god’s plan to make me stronger and wiser. It wasn’t the end it was a beginning. My life will never be perfect, I’ll have off days and I’ll have days where I could dance in the rain, but that’s what I will live for; those days. 

If you ever struggled with depression you’d know that feeling that runs through your body, where you really don’t feel anything at all. The concentration is lost along with anything that felt okay to you too. I finally hit my wall around grade 11 and 12 where I knew I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I went through many counsellors and then seeked medical help. This was when I was diagnosed with depression. I accepted it, and thought I would be fine. I didn’t start medication at this time but instead I started a strict routine of self talk, support and healthy living to try and combat my depression.. Graduation was awesome; I loved celebrating with my family. Personally I feel that the people who hurt me the most were the nicest that week, even with alcohol in their system, weird right? 

The summer flew by and before I knew it I was heading to University of Regina to start my first year of education. This was great, and I was excited until mid September when my grandma got ill. She was like my second mom and we were very close. She suffered for 6 weeks and before you know it, she went to heaven. Within a few short days my auntie also passed away. It was very difficult on the whole family and something I found difficult to deal with in my first few weeks away from my safe home. This affected my grades, attendance, sleep and emotional health immensely. I ended up missing around a month of school and falling into a black hole where I spent all my time in bed. I moved in with close family friends and although it was better I still found nothing changed for me. I spent all my time sleeping. I suggested to my mom I take a semester off, but of course mom knows best and she had faith I could do it. I went through the talk of I’m not good enough, I can’t finish this, I need to go home, I just want to die, and then I was encouraged to go back to the doctor. I was put on a low dose of antidepressants, simply to help me along my daily routine and get me feeling normal, whatever normal was but it sounded good to me. I started to feel a bit better day by day and the year flew by and I met an amazing guy, gained a new family, roommate and even found myself a little. Then fall 2016 rolled around and I went through another episode of depression. I had gone off my low dose of antidepressants cause I had been feeling better. I recalled some old feelings coming back to the surface, recollection of my high school years, hurt, tears, fear and negative thoughts. Why? I thought I was over these feelings. I thought my life was falling into place. At the time I thought everything was wrong, but everything was really alright. Nobody was leaving my side and nobody was giving up on me this time. I had got through some of the ugliest couple weeks ever alone and afraid. I confided in my mom and we decided to go back to the doctor and I went back on medication and this time I committed to two years. 

So what is my message? Tomorrow will be better. I have an amazing family, boyfriend, my small but important friend circle and my dog to keep me going. The pills, knives and negative thoughts will never take me away from who I love and what I love. God blessed me by giving me this life and I will NO longer take it for granted. My hardest days are now just a challenge to make me stronger; my good days are the days to embrace my beauty. My strongest advice to my friends and family when they are feeling down is sit on the couch, give God a little message and know that I love you when all else fails. Love is the most powerful word and can make someone’s life flip upside down, believe it or not. This is a story for you all, the stigma of mental health needs to be addressed. I am not dangerous, I am not unworthy, and I am not unable. I am a student, an athlete, a home business owner, a lover, a daughter, grand daughter, sister and friend. That is enough for me to continue on with this life and on this journey on earth.