The long journey to getting the proper help
Trigger Warning: Self-harm
Mental illness: we all know about it from social media, friends, and even classes, but how much do we really know about it? As someone who has been diagnosed with 3 mental illnesses, I hope to give you some insight into my life with the discovery of these illnesses.
Let’s start from the beginning. When I was 13, a coach of mine died in a motorcycle accident. This was the first experience I had ever had with death and I was not well-equipped to deal with it. I fell into a secret depression that no one seemed to notice. This depression eventually leaded to me using self-harm as a coping mechanism. Fast forward a year. I get called into the counselor’s office because a classmate had noticed my self-harm and reported it to the counselor. The counselor was obligated to call my parents and have the very uncomfortable talk with them. A week later I was put into therapy and on medication.
My official diagnosis at the time was generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. I was put on an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) called Zoloft. Throughout the next 2 years, I was on and off of different SSRI’s, none of which seemed to help much. I eventually stopped taking my medication and going to therapy.
One day of junior year of high school, I realized that I needed more help. I reached out to my mom telling her that I really need help and we went back to the psychiatrist. I was put on more SSRI’s and continued with a different therapist. The rest of junior and senior year went by and then I got to college…
My first semester of college was difficult. I ended the first semester with a 2.0 GPA. Since my old psychiatrist was a child’s psychiatrist, and I was over 18, I had to find a new one (which is not an easy task). I found my new psychiatrist who’s new diagnosis for me was ADHD non-hyperactive type and major depressive disorder. They immediately put me on stimulants and within a 4 month period had me on 3 different stimulants. I felt as if this psychiatrist was pushing medications on me left and right and decided to try and find yet another psychiatrist.
The third (and current) psychiatrist’s official diagnosis was the same as the previous. I started another stimulant and SSRI. Things were going well after receiving the ADHD diagnosis; I finally understood why school was so hard and was able to use that knowledge of myself to do better in school. I was also with a new therapist who was (and is) the most helpful therapist I have ever had.
One day I was scrolling through TikTok and saw something about BPD (borderline personality disorder). I thought “wow a lot of these symptoms match the experiences I am having” and decided to bring it up to my therapist and psychiatrist. After some testing, BPD was added to my list of diagnoses. With this diagnosis I finally felt as if all of my issues were explained.
After 8 years, I was finally diagnosed correctly and being treated for them properly.
I share this timeline with you so you can see how the journey with mental illness and treatment can be a long and grueling one, but ultimately extremely beneficial. If I had chosen to give up on my mental health after one medication, or one unhelpful therapist, I may not have been here to tell this story.
Regardless of your diagnoses or issues, you are a person worth proper treatment; don’t stop until you get it. Reach out for help when you need it. Speak up when you feel as if you aren’t being treated with the respect and care you deserve.
You deserve happiness
You deserve love
You deserve to live
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)