This is an essesy for my English class for college. Enjoy!
For most people, an incident or an event that would impact their life would be a car accident, moving to a new city, a death of a beloved family member, or losing a friend. For me it was none of those things. Mine happened to be an illness. Now, this was not your typical broken bone, or viral sickness. For me it was invisible since my three years in public high school and showing up full force last year. My problem was psychological, a mental illness. A mental illness that no one understood, not even my friends and family.
Everything was normal up until high school. In high school, sometimes I would see animals. Now, when I say 'seeing things' I don't mean your typical hallucinations that happen outside of your body, which you may interact with. This all happened within my mind. The images were uncontrollable, vivid, as well as colorful. I never thought anything of it. If anything, I enjoyed seeing animals. Before my senior year I came to The Texas School for the Blind and Visually impaired. At The school for the blind I lived in a dorm and had a same gender roommate, who was around my age. At first, she and I were polar opposite, like fruit and vegetable. She and I didn't really got along with each other, we had little in common. Soon, she and I began to connect and become friends. We became very close.
Halfway through the year, I began to feel sad for no reason and very quickly it got worse. Quickly I became an emotionless passive zombie. I did not want to be with people. I did not care about a single thing. Sometimes I wanted to sleep excessively, sometimes my body ached. I cried often, and for no reason. As a result, I was rude to people. Soon I lost friends as I endured the stigma of mental illness. One of my friends even said," I don't want to be friends with a depressed maniac." I was crushed after that comment, I cried silently. On top of that, my roommate wanted nothing to do with me. At first I was mildly upset, after that I did not care.
My illness got worse. I would have racing, jumbled up random thoughts that made no sense. I do not really remember when I begun to hear voices in my head. Some of my voices would sound male, some female. They laughed, cussed, and said hostile things to me. The voices said that I was a horrible person, however, I heard a good voice. I enjoyed hearing it. I would verbally fight with my evil voices, in vain, as they would not go away. I felt scared. I would have visual hallucinations, not of animals, but of weird scary things. I would see strange monster-like creatures, like something out of a science fiction or horror movie.
Sometimes my mind would be so swamped with hallucinations and voices that I was unable to do anything. I would hide somewhere. I would cry due to my voices and hallucinations. I also would, on occasion, say what my voices told me out loud. I had no idea what was going on with me, no clue what I was doing.
All of this may seem like I have "an overactive imagination" but this is not me imagining anything. This is not me acting out. This is real. All aspects of my illness are very real, and very terrifying, even the voices. This may not be real to anyone else. It is very real to me.
I have been symptom free for months after taking some medicine. Currently, I am still coping with my illness as I have been paranoid, anxious and suffering from delusions lately. I have begun hallucinating agin, this time about Dog 42 and cat 1 million and more. I am still learning to deal with my illness, as these new symptoms have arrived.
The difficult thing about dealing with a mental illness is that it is often invisible. It is not something that you can clearly see and think, "That person is ill and they need help." I suffered in silence for a few months. My illness really affected my family, and still continues to affect them. They seem to think that I want attention, that I want to be sick, that I 'enjoy' taking medicine. I do not want to take medicine anyways due to my good voice. My family thinks that I hear voices and hallucinate because I want to. They also believe that I hear and see things because I am lonely.' My family worries about my future due to my illness. I don't want attention, I just want people to understand and help. I want to be seen as a normal person who will be successful in life.
Going through this challenge has made me more aware of mental health and how important it is. I now want to help people with different disorders and spread awareness of mental health problems. My experience has changed me in a number of ways--I do not take my happiness for granted, and I also want to help other people who have depression and other psychological disorders as well. I have joined an online forum for teenagers and young adults called Teen Moods. I highly recommend it for young people who have depression and other disorders. The community is very friendly and supportive. People on there welcome us with open arms and hearts and everyone is accepting of everyone. I have shared my experience, I have shared my concerns in relation to my mental illness. I have already have made a friend.
Currently, a bit of medication, the support of friends online and talk therapy has helped me, as well as doing activities that I love. Also, I bring a stuffed animal rat with me so that I can pet or hold onto him if I get anxious or paranoid. To me, animals are wonderful therapy. Despite this illness and my visual impairment I am functional in daily life. I go to school, attend college, have gotten a job in a semester, have written a book. I continue to succeed and move forward in life and my education. Nothing is going to stop me from reaching my goals in life.