The Exponential Decay of my Mental Health
Editor's note: Thank you, Zee for courageously sharing your story of overcoming suicidal thoughts and depression, as well as sharing your road to recovery.
All my life, I have felt different. I have felt wrong like I don't belong. I have felt misunderstood and marginalized. I always felt that something was wrong with me, but no one took the time to try and help me. My parents are wonderful people, but their cultural beliefs stopped them from getting me evaluated, and consequently, my negative mental state continued to get worse. When I was 12, I had my first conscious thought of suicide. I didn't feel depressed, and I wasn't bullied, but I just didn't want to be alive. My entire outlook on life changed. My relationship with my parents and siblings grew toxic to the point where, talking to my own parents was enough to send me into a downward spiral. Unfortunately, I was very good at hiding this, and instead of getting diagnosed and treated, I was getting worse.
I was able to keep this mask up for a little while, but there were definitely adverse effects. My grades started dropping, I had a real lack of energy, I didn't like being around people. All of these effects, and still, no one took notice that something was wrong. I was just a "problem" child, not a depressed one or a child who's brain chemicals are out of whack, no. I was labeled as the problem. It makes sense how this would get even worse, and it did. When I entered high school, my grades started to really slip. I went from being a straight-A student, to barely passing courses. I started to despise school, my friends, my family, and just life in general; yet, no one took the time to ask if I was okay. I started skipping classes, cutting myself off from the world; technically, I was barely living.
I only ate when I thought it was necessary, and so I'd go through long periods of time without a proper meal. As I was already a skinny child, I lost even more weight, until I was barely able to hold 90 pounds. A 15-year-old male, 5' 5", weighing 90 pounds. This was the time in my life, where I hated everyone and everything, and the only reason I engaged in social activities was to see how far I could manipulate people. Lie after lie after lie, and I was somehow keeping up with all of them. I felt horrible about myself, but I felt amazing when I got to watch other people suffer. Finally, when I was nearing the end of my grade 11 year, I got caught in the middle of a lie. It didn't phase me at first, but then I became sloppy, and I got caught again, and again, and again, until not only did I hate myself, but the only thing that made me happy was gone as well.
This is when my parents understood that something was not right. My behaviour should have been learned from and changed, but 16 years later, it was still the same. I was taken to a doctor, and when he started asking me questions about my life and what I wish I could fix, I just broke down. Everything in my life led to that one moment, and that's when I was prescribed antidepressants. For me, this couldn't have come at a better time, but for my parents, it was the worst timing ever. As a result of my failures throughout that year, my chances of getting into university were incredibly small. That's what my parents were worried about; they cared more about my future than about how I could even get there in my current state. Eventually, they did begin to understand, and it was liberating.
There were still more things wrong with me, but for the first time since I could remember, I felt like my family was actually mine, and they valued me as a person.
So, by around June of 2018, my depression was in control but something still didn't feel right. Now that I found joy in life, I was able to go right back to manipulating people. It was like a game I played with myself so I wouldn't get bored. I was taking a summer course to boost my marks, and I found that focusing was an impossible task for me. Well, it turns out, that's also a disorder, and it can be fixed with more medications. At this point, it's September of 2018, my focus in school is better than it has ever been, and I feel like I am worth something. However, the issue that has yet to be resolved, and probably won't be for a long time, is my desire to hurt people. And that's the story of how I grew up, got worse, and my road to recovery.
Why is it important for you to share your story and experiences with mental health and illness?
For me, the idea of mental health was never taught and wasn't self realized either. After having to go through some of these things, and understanding that they were not right, it showed me that mental health and physical health aren't different, but they are perceived to be very different. With my story, I hope that some parents will read it, and hopefully it will change their perception of mental health so that their child doesn't have to go through life the same way I did.
Edmonton, Alberta, CA
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