When you have Depression, you feel like you are trapped in a darkness you can’t escape.
You can’t breathe, you’re all alone, and your entire life is defined by the difficult things you’ve been through. I often describe it as feeling like you’ve been buried alive and you’re breathing through a straw. When you learn your type of depression is resistant to treatment you feel broken in a way that words don’t even explain.
Borderline Personality Disorder is most easily explained with a simple phrase: “I hate you; don’t leave me.” Now, not only is your brain “broken,” your personality is too.
You just feel stuck . . .
Being Sexually Assaulted changes your entire view of relationships or lack thereof.
Having an Eating Disorder completely changes your relationship with food, whether you want it to or not.
Being a Perfectionist leads to you seeing all of these things, “needing” to fix them because, well . . . you can’t be broken, you just can’t be—and hating yourself because of it.
Growing up I was a dancer. That’s what I’d tell people: “I’m a dancer.” I earned awards participating in competitions, I was constantly told I had so much potential, I was surrounded by people who supported me, and I experienced all sorts of positive “first” events—but unfortunately those aren't the first events that I remember.
I was 7 when I met my best friend.
I was 8 when I self-harmed for the first time.
I was 10 when I attempted to take my life for the first time.
I was in 5th grade when I first learned that bullying doesn't have to be physical.
I was in 5th grade the first time a boy said he didn't like me because I was “fat.”
I was in 6th grade when I first began experiencing body dysmorphia, began tracking my food, and learned how hard it is to make yourself throw up.
It was the summer before 7th grade when I became best friends with another person “like me,” leading to my FIRST toxic/co-dependent relationship.
I was in 8th grade the first time I was sexually harassed.
I was 14 when I made the drill team.
I was 15 the first time I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt.
I was 15 the first time I was put on medication.
I was 15 the first time I saw a therapist.
I was 16 the first time I rock climbed.
I was 17 the first time someone spoke to me like an object and not a person.
I was 21 when I first began to realize medication wasn’t enough.
I was 22 when I had my first electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment.
But it wasn’t until I was 25 that I realized I was looking at these events as flaws and not something that made me more unique, made me stronger, and made me someone more relatable. I often feel like I need to tell people every detail of my story in order for them to fully understand me, as a person, and there is a reason for that: I want people to see every part of me, because the way I see it, our stories create us.
It wasn’t until this last year (2020) that I’ve finally accepted that my mental illnesses DON’T define me, but they are definitely a big part of who I am. I’ve discovered a love for rock climbing that has on multiple occasions saved my life. I’ll spend my days on a climbing wall and that will be enough to help me sort through things that previously I’ve dealt with using some sort of self-harm. But every day is different. Will I have the energy to exercise? Will I even have the energy to get out of bed today? Will I finally make it through a day without thinking about suicide? Will I cry today? Will I smile?
Some days I thrive, some days I survive, and some days I just exist. No matter what, you’ve got to start somewhere, and the bottom is usually a good spot.
Everyone has a story. We all have life events that lead to us becoming who we are. No one's story is more important than anyone else's, because they are ALL important. And myself and many other people have had to learn to accept it. You can't argue with this fact: YOU are important. Don’t be afraid to share your story.
Brooklyn wants to be your friend and support you on your mental health journey. DM her on instagram @brooklyn_cragun for additional support!