I’ve been sick on and off since I first turned about twelve. I knew something wasn’t right. I wasn’t able to get out of bed or go to school, I stopped eating, and the things I used to like doing didn’t matter anymore.
Coming out as one of the only gay people in a small-town high school when I was in grade seven, of course, didn’t help matters either. I felt alone, that I had no friends, and was bullied at school. Naturally, I tried to stay away from school as much as I could, and found my escape through video games and excessive sleeping for a while.
Now diagnosed with major depressive disorder, I started escaping and ignoring the pain in the back of my mind, though this really only makes it worse, because after a while you have to deal with it anyway. Throughout high school I went through multiple suicide attempts coupled with self-harm episodes, one of which was almost completely successful. I just didn’t want to be here anymore. After the fifth one, I started a medication combination that finally worked and with the help of family and friends I was able to come out of high school on top – good grades, extracurriculars, good friends: it turned out pretty well in the end, which was extremely fortunate for me!
Starting university, I went through a bit of a partying phase (like a lot of us do) but got carried away and before long had almost spiraled back into the dark place that I was at before. Around this time, I was diagnosed with panic disorder. I stopped attending classes, stayed in my room and was almost forced to drop out of university.
By some miracle, I was lucky enough to get the psychotherapy and medication combination I needed to motivate me to do well again. It’s never really easy and I never really feel stable – but I have accepted that though I will have really dark days, it’s worth something to be here and to feel anything at all. Whether it’s sadness, happiness, loneliness, or love, I’ve found a new appreciation for my life that I haven’t had before and I’ve decided that I’m going to be sticking around!
I’m just wrapping up my third year of a Neuroscience degree, with the intention of someday going into the medical field to hopefully become a psychiatrist. There is so much about mental illness we do not understand, so many people suffering inside without a voice, and I empathize with everyone going through something like this and I am ready to live my life helping people become themselves again.
I see so many people hiding and suffering, and I’m happy to be a part of this campaign if it’s going to make any difference at all to even just one person who feels alone and desperate. Whoever you are, in my eyes you deserve to feel happy and appreciated. You deserve to achieve your dreams, and through awesome initiatives like this I hope you can see that so many of us used to hide too. No one should need to hide their struggle anymore.