My Mental Health Journey (more to come!)

Digging deep here…

Overall I’d say my childhood was pretty dang good. When I was younger, my parents were a little more strict than most but looking back I’m very thankful for that. One of my favorite memories is the dance parties we would have until I was basically falling asleep standing up. I was fearless as a kid and did not care what other people thought of me one bit. Around the time of my freshman year in high school, when I was 14, I began experiencing excessive amounts of anxiety and depression. Around that same time my parents divorced, splitting the custody of my brother and 50/50. The divorce was not a messy one at all, my parents always put us first. But, as an early teen, I couldn’t fully understand their situation. I had so many questions concerning their divorce and how it would effect me, but felt the need to keep them bottled up, not wanting to cause more problems. My brother, whom I looked up to a lot at that age, seemed to handle it wonderfully, so I tried to also. Another challenge that left me feeling off and not so myself, was my five concussions I received in the span of three and a half years, all from competitive soccer. The concussions also caused me to suffer from some major migraines and headaches for years to come. My anxiety and depression became worse as high school went on, causing me to isolate myself like never before. I felt different around friends and family, not fully present and aware of everything going on around me. I felt completely disconnected from everything at times, almost like I was a different person altogether. I began sleeping more and more, then avoiding social activities. Nobody understood why I was acting this way, and honestly neither did I. I couldn’t explain it and when I tried, I just felt confused and at a loss for words. This broke a lot of friendships I had, creating more guilt and depressive feelings than ever before. I tried to continue my daily life and did my absolute best to never show even a hint of my anxiety, depression and lack of self. I managed to get by in high school with a few A’s but mostly B’s and C’s. The thought of college scared the hell out of me because everyone around me knew what their plan was, knew their passion and what they wanted to do. I, on the other hand, was too focused on surviving everyday to even think about my future like that. I wasn’t very good at any classes, just average for the most part. No subjects in school, besides art and French class, sparked my interest the way I wished they could. The uncertainty of my future was crippling. Around the end of high school, I lost one of the two biggest supporters in my life to cancer. My grandma was my number one cheerleader in life, always making me happy when I was in her presence. Losing her felt detrimental when it happened, taking months to even begin to comprehend it. I graduated in 2017 and went to the local college in my town. I moved in with my grandpa, who missed my grandma just as much as I did, if not more. My mom and dad both moved a lot during my time in high school so I felt it be best if I moved in with my grandpa, who’d been in the same house for over forty years, giving me a little more independence. My first semester at college, I began realizing my mental health was affecting my daily life so bad, I couldn’t focus at all. Anxiety attacks, panic attacks, depressive episodes, etc., became more frequent than ever. I felt controlled my mental health issues and had almost completely lost touch of myself. I fell behind in almost all my classes and ended up not passing many of them. Although I knew my world was crumbling down, I felt completely helpless when it came to finding help. Second semester was the same, putting on a face that I was A-okay but secretly feeling hopeless and like I couldn’t do life anymore. I finally got some strength when I came to the realization that I couldn’t live this way any longer, I was scared of my own thoughts. I dropped some hints to my mom and she helped me find a counselor. This one action was so life-changing for me. She helped dissect my mind, my life threatening thoughts and my negative self talk. Although I’d made endless mistakes and lost many friends along the way, the only thing that mattered was my wellbeing and that I finally felt okay. Opening up to loved ones (Mom, dad, boyfriend, brother) and telling them the truth of what I was dealing with, the weight of the world fell off my shoulders and I could breath again. With the help of my support system, I slowly, but surely, began feeling better. I took a break from school for awhile to focus on myself, that was another life changing decision I made for myself. Today marks about 6 years since I began experiencing anxiety and depression. I still battle with my mind every single day, some days are a lot better than others. But, no matter how low I’m feeling these days, it will never reach the depths that I felt in the past. Even on bad days now, I still feel better than my good days back when I was hiding my scary, rapid thoughts. No more anxiety/ panic attacks, no more negative self talk, no more suicidal ideations. Everyday is a new challenge that I’m excited to take on. A new, more positive take on life has changed me in ways I could never even begin to imagine. No, I’m not healed, yes I still experiencing some anxiety and have bad days once in awhile, but that just means I’m human. I am so endlessly grateful for this life I live and have never been more proud of myself for how far I have come.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Hey there Rachel, how you doing!? I just went through your blog and its totally fab, keep up this effort love and have a nice day! ❤
    Looking forward to reading from your blog more 🙂
    You have a new follower 😉

    1. Rachel Mays says:

      Doing pretty well, thank you so so much!!!

      1. You are welcome 🙂

Leave a Reply