Our own YouthLine volunteer talks mental health challenges and reflects on their own journey.
A reminder that YouthLine is an essential service during the COVDI19 shutdown. Teen volunteers are here to answer calls, texts, and chats from 4pm-10pm PST every day. Adults answer calls at all other times. Reach out if you need support!
TRIGGER WARNING: If you currently struggle with suicidal thoughts or have in the past, the following post could be triggering. For support, you can reach out to YouthLine 4pm-10pm PST by call, text, or chat or call 1(800)273-8255, 24/7.
I am someone who lives with mental illness. I am also someone who loves my cat. I’m someone who loves advocacy work and going into schools and talking to people my age. I really think the taste of milk is disgusting. I’ve never been stung by a bee, maybe I’m allergic to them. We will find out. When I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt was when I first got my diagnosis. It wasn’t the most shocking thing ever, considered I had been googling “Am I depressed?” about every week since the eighth grade. It was, however, hard to figure out how that fits into who I am. I really struggled with figuring out what healing would look like for me, especially because every time I felt like I had hit rock bottom, I would hit an even lower point a month later. I remember sitting in my school psych’s office in my junior year, telling her “I’m pretty positive I am always going to be depressed.” I had a really hard time trusting people, every time I met a therapist, I ended up hating them and telling them that. Not a recommended route to take. But it was really hard, for a really long time.
I always struggled with the fact that when I was struggling, no one could tell. I had lived with it for so long and I had done so much of it alone and I didn’t really see the point in changing that. I didn’t think I would graduate high school. I didn’t see myself ever feeling happy or able to trust people. I felt so trapped and I felt like no matter what I did, I stayed so stagnant. I was pretty positive that therapy just wasn’t for me. I didn’t really care what happened to me at this point, I felt like I was just existing in a world that wasn’t really meant to have me in it. I was angry, at everyone and everything. I didn’t see the point in why I was trying or why other people were trying for me.
Last spring, I graduated high school. I started college. I got my first job in a field I’ve always wanted to work in. I started volunteering on the Youthline. I still go to therapy every week. The fight is not over, but it got a lot easier. When you are struggling it is so impossible to see that people care about you, but they do. The people close to you do. The cool uncle that you like does. Your 6th-grade teacher does. The people who see you in the hallway at school do. The lady who always has to sign your late slips in the attendance office does. Your coach does. I do. We would all miss you if you weren’t here. It’s hard to reach out. I know it is. But do whatever you can. Text your teacher that you’re struggling. Call the Youthline. Write a letter to your school counselor. Do whatever you can do with the little energy that you have. It will be worth it. You will be at a point where you want to live, and you will have so many moments where you are so glad you chose to reach out. It takes time and work, and it gets easier and it gets harder, but you will get there.
If you are struggling, or any of this resonates with you, PLEASE reach out. Even if you don’t know why you’re doing it now, you will thank yourself later.