I couldn't understand at age 16 what was happening. I no longer was the happy girl, with the constant, bright, and contagious smile on my face. I just felt sad for no reason at all. My once fairly strong and positive relationships with my parents started on a downward spiral, as did I in every sense of my mental and emotional health. I was beginning to express excessive amounts of anger and disrespect - something that was very unusual for me.
My Mom took me to a psychologist during my junior year of high school to attempt to figure out what was going on. After endless book-thick tests, I was given the diagnosis of Depression and Anxiety. The worst part? After a handful of sessions with my psychologist, she determined "I had no reason to be depressed."
Here I was angry and confused as to why I was dealt with these disorders; my parents were confused. Yet, I had to except the fact there was no reason for me to feel the way I did. This is when things hit that downward spiral in full speed, with only brief pauses of light.
I gave up on seeing a psychologist after that particular session and finished out my high school years. I crawled across the finish line on June 16th, 2012 for that diploma with a mastered fake smile that had become my mask. I had only worsened mentally. I was destructive at home; a ticking time bomb. I would snap in a fit of anger at the snap of a finger resulting in vulgar languages pouring out of my mouth at my loudest tone. Mirrors and picture frames were smashed. I came to the point where I was unable to get up for school and had up to around 80 missed class periods each school year. My relationships with not just my parents but my three younger siblings were being single handily destroyed by my actions every day.
This destroyed me. I immediately felt remorse after my outbursts. I did not want my siblings to see me this way. I loved my parents dearly. I truly felt as though I had little to no control of my quick change in emotions. Another difficulty was school. I was attending a college preparatory. I absolutely love school and had transferred to that high school as a sophomore specifically for an academic challenge that would get me ready for college. I had always been fairly academically gifted. College was never a question. It was a dream of mine. I had to buckle down, and force myself to use my knowledge, shoving my disorders aside, to leave high school with a strong GPA, an above average SAT score, a student who made honors every semester and held a scholar athlete title.
College has been a giant struggle for me attending a private institution when half the time I can hardly get out of bed, my grades do not reflect who I am. But I have pushed endlessly through all obstacles to get to where I am. I am heading towards a bachelor's degree in communications to work within a hockey organization. It took finding a passion to give me the fight. I looked at what I am good at. I am smart. I am great at making others feel better even if I struggle making myself happy sometimes. I am meant to work with people. I am meant to work within my passion - sports. I live for my siblings. I live for the bright future ahead of me.
Yes, I am covered in scars. I am diagnosed with severe bipolar depression, severe chronic anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. But I am not defined by this. What defines me is the strength I have had to keep on going. What defines me is the positive impact I make on others - the smile I am able to put on their faces. I am not my struggles, they may be a part of me, but I am much more than that. Like my Mom has always told me since I was diagnosed with these disorders, I was given them to make a difference; to help others. To share my story and use my voice. And I believe she is absolutely right.