Diary Post: Graduating from Community College

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On Friday, May 29, 2015, I graduated from community college! I know this might not seem like a daunting task for many of you. However, I see this a personal achievement. It is a milestone to see how much I've grown mentally.

When I was in high school, I considered dropping out my third (junior) year of school. I suffered from severe depression, an eating disorder, low self esteem, a fractured friendship, a broken heart, and suicide. I spent more time going to the doctor's office than I did attending class. None of my close friends really knew this about me. When I told them I was depressed, no one knew what to say. I don't blame them though. Mental illness isn't really spoken about in high schools. It's not taught in the curriculum so you just assume someone is going through a teenage "angst" phase. I was angry all the time. I skipped class so I could go home and cry myself to sleep. It definitely wasn't a time for me. I felt so defeated in life. I almost didn't want to continue.

However, at the constant persistence of my family, I was able to get help. I went to therapy twice a week and took medication to manage my symptoms. Often times, my mother would have to leave work early to pick me up from school and bring me to see my doctor. I was upset. I didn't think I needed help. I remember in one of our trips, my mother and I were stuck in traffic. I didn't say a word to her. I looked in the side view mirror catching her reflection in the glass. She was wearing sunglasses, but I could tell she was crying. She kept telling me I was sick and that I needed help. When we arrived at the hospital, my doctor told me he was going to admit me if I did not improve. I will never forget that moment in my life, ever. I couldn't believe that I let myself get so sick.

I went home and realized what I was doing to myself. I was killing myself by starving so extensively. The school lunches I hid in my dresser stank so bad, I couldn't sleep at night. Every time I ate a piece of food, I wanted to cry. I went home one time and woke up on my bedroom floor. I had passed out and vomited all over the floor. I'm lucky my mother found me. I don't know what would've happened

Of course, I'm not here to say that my experience with depression is "more valid" or extreme than others. Everyone's experience is personal, real, and valid. Everyone heals at a different rate. In fact, I'm still healing. I'm learning new ways of managing my depression everyday. There are still days when I cry myself to sleep because I feel so much despair in my heart. However, this does not make me weak. I am not broken because of my mental illness. My heart aches with this unexplained pain, but I would not be myself if it were not for this pain.

Flash forward a few years, I just graduated community college. How do I plan on continuing my education? What do I plan on doing for the rest of my life? What will I do if I become depressed again? These are all lovely questions that I am figuring out myself. I will be continuing my education at a state university where I will be studying Psychology. I hope to obtain enough knowledge to educate others on mental illnesses. Remember how I said my friends didn't understand my depression? I will try my best to inform everyone about depression along with mental illnesses. Hopefully I will present this information in a way that prevents stigma and is comprehendible. As for the possibility of relapse, I will welcome it with open arms. It is inevitable for me. I know that I will get depressed at times. However, I know that I am not any less of a human because of my depression. The bad feelings, the aching heart, and loud voices in my head are only temporary. They may be chronic, reoccurring, and debilitating but they do not signal the end. I am strong. I will get through this.

To all those fighting the silent fight, you are not alone. You are not defined by your mental illness. Recovery is possible. It may not go away, but it does get better just a little bit each day.

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