Who Am I?
I grew up with a supportive family. My mom, dad, and sister were always there for me. We lived in a suburban town, with a dog and a cat. I never felt threatened where I lived, it was always a safe place. I loved basketball and skiing, and dreamed of becoming a professional chef. I was always the shy girl with no confidence. My sister was very loud, confident, and positive. I always felt like I was in the shadows. I would have teachers that would compare me to her telling me I should be more like my sister. It was hard growing up behind her, she was always known as the wonderful child. Despite how I felt we had a very close relationship, and I trusted her with everything.
I had a very unique personality. I was known for my honesty. Some might say I was brutally honest. I did not hold back, which is why people would ask me questions. Sometimes people did not like what I had to say because the truth hurt them. My response would always be, "Do not ask the question if you’re going to be upset." Of course I wasn't mean about it I was just being honest. I was always known as being the quiet one in my family, which doesn't sound like much considering my family is very loud. When I loved something I put everything I had into it. I guess you could say I was very passionate about my interests.
I loved watching sports especially basketball. The Celtics were my favorite team, and I took it very seriously. My dad and I had a tradition of going to Celtics game every year. I loved looking at the banners. We were one insane team. I loved it all though, I was a true Boston sports fan. I loved college sports as well, and March Madness was by far my favorite tournament. It was tough loving sports since I was a girl. Males would constantly quiz me on my knowledge, or would ignore me when I tried to talk sports with them. I found it very humorous considering I knew more than most of them. I also loved the classic things a teenage girl enjoyed like shopping, and just chilling with friends.
I attended a vocational school for culinary arts so I could one day attend my dream school, The Culinary Institute of America. School was at times a challenge because in fifth grade I was diagnosed with auditory processing, which meant that I was not a visual learner and I could not hear anything if there was any background noise including a whisper. I was put on an individualized education program. What this meant was that I had to get special accommodations so I could do well in school. I felt different from everyone else. I would get special notes and people would look at me and ask why I get them, and I didn't want to tell them that it was because I had trouble learning. I felt stupid and did not like how I was treated different. Even though school was a challenge for me I always managed to pull through and get good grades. I was always acknowledged for my good conduct and effort. I taught myself how to learn with my learning disability and of course it was not easy. I had to work twice as hard as everyone else, but it was all worth it if it meant I could go to the Culinary Institute of America.
I used up the rest of my time between school by joining a Jewish youth group called the B'nai Bri'th Youth Organization otherwise known as BBYO. I joined BBYO in the fall of 2014 little did I know it would change who I am as a person. I started BBYO so I could hang out with more Jewish teenagers. Judaism was always important to me, but in my town and at my school I dealt with anti-semitism. I would get penny's thrown at me, and told that I was going to get shoved in an oven. No matter what people said or did to me I still loved my Judaism and openly practiced it. BBYO gave me a safe place to practice my religion without getting judged. After attending many events I decided to run for a chapter position and the following year I moved to a regional position. The first two years I did BBYO it changed my life. I grew confidence and became a louder, and stronger person. I was no longer afraid to speak up anywhere. My last year was completely different, but I will get to that later. I loved my Jewish roots, and it helped me cope with my life.
My life looked perfect to others. I had a loving family, a home, and I could be myself. Even though I had a very fortunate life I couldn't help but feel upset all of the time. I had pretty much everything a normal child could have, but yet I was not happy. I would constantly wonder why I was like that. How could I not appreciate my life?
My journey started like any other, at the beginning. I was about eleven years old when my parents started to try to get me to be less miserable. They did not jump straight to the conclusion that I had anxiety or depression. They started with just normal therapy. Now if you know anything about a child the last thing they want is to be stuck in a room sharing there private feelings to a total stranger. Of course I was that normal kid, and I would often lie to my therapists. They would ask how I was and my answer was always good no matter what I was really feeling. I went through about four therapists in the span of two years.
I knew that I was not exactly happy with life, and I should not be worried about anything. I just did not understand why I was like that, and when the therapists would ask why I was so upset I really did not know what to say. If you did not know this already anxiety and depression are. It always caused by something. You could have both, but not know why. At the time I had no idea that was the case. I would beat myself up for it because I thought that I just was not appreciating anything. I pretended that I was happy though.
At school I would walk around and pretend to be ecstatic. I faked a smile and everything. All of my friends would say, "wow I love how you are so happy all of the time." What they did not understand is that I could not have been anymore opposite of that. I would use the phrase, " fake it till you make it" to get by with everything. The reality was that I was not faking it for my friends I was in fact faking it for myself. I thought that if I could act confident than I could be confident. Unfortunately it did not work so well. I would look in the mirror and think, " Why do I have to hate life so much?" Even in BBYO I acted more like myself, but I still was upset with life. I was very confused on why I had so much trouble with these therapists
After about two years of bad therapy I found a great therapist who I trusted a lot, or I thought I did. She somehow got me to talk more than my other therapists did. Accept that was what I thought, but in reality it turned out that I had a lot more in me that I could not get out to tell her. When I started with this lady I thought about how I finally found the therapist and my misery could soon be over. Little did I know was that my journey was far from over.
My worst enemy
As I continued seeking help from a therapist that did not help me I was waiting for the magic moment where life could be enjoyable. I was thirteen years old, and I thought that I had found the right person to help me out. One day during therapy my therapist told my dad to come in with me. He basically observed the whole session. When we left I could see a concerned look in his eyes. As we got to the car he looked at me and told me I needed a new therapist. When I asked why I did he responded with, "She is not benefiting you, it looks like she is making you talk but the things you are saying are not true." After he said that I thought back and realized that he was right, and I got upset because I had to go through yet another therapist.
Unfortunately years went by without a therapist. I thought it was alright because I did not think therapists were at all helpful. Of course I later found out how amazing they really are. I was alone dealing with my worrying and hatred of life. I begun cutting my wrists to get through my pain. I never realized that I was alone until I got the help I needed. I thought that I was better off without a therapist, and I just kept crawling through life. I had my parents and sister, but to be completely honest I did not share too much with them because I felt like a disappointment.
Throughout my life my parents would tell me how great I am. Every time they would say something I exceed in I would share with them a weakness, or tell them why I did not exceed at it. I went through all of my life thinking that I was terrible at everything. What made it worse was I would compare myself to others. I would look at my sister and think about how I am not nearly as smart as her, and I did it with everyone. When I was alone I would look in the mirror, and I would look at all of my flaws. I always thought that I was bad at everything, and I was not meant to do anything.
An enemy is defined as one that is antagonistic to another; especially one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent. From a young age you always think that your worst enemy would be someone that snitched on you at school, or someone who was smarter than you. If you really think about it an enemy could be anything that is harmful. Your worst enemy could be alcohol, or your fear of heights. In my life I treated myself awful, and I was mentally abusive to myself. I learned that I was in fact my own worst enemy.
It was the summer of 2015, and I was alone without any therapy or help. Slowly, I started having worse and worse symptoms of depression and anxiety. My couch and my bed were my best friends. I also woke up every single night from three in the morning to about five in the morning. I would just lay there with my eyes opening staring at a wall. The thing about anxiety is if you are not occupied your mind starts to wander. You end up thinking about things you should not be thinking of. I remember just laying there in bed with my eyes open thinking about how throughout that whole day there were things I should have done different. That symptom hit me almost every single day. I also could not get myself to eat, and coming from a household where everyone loves food it was eye opening that I did not eat. During this time I did not do anything. I would either sit on the couch or on my bed, and not talk to anyone. I even quit going to the gym.
After months of the symptoms worsening my mom eventually stepped up. She had me go to the doctor to talk about why I was always worried and depressed. I was very lucky to have a wonderful relationship with my doctor. I trusted her a lot so I was completely honest about everything. She asked me a lot of questions, and then she gave me a mental illness test. I was very worried because generally when people think of mental illness they think of a psychotic person. My results came in right away. It turned out that not only was I off the charts for anxiety, but I had a serious case of depression as well. What kind of child wants to be prescribed with a mental illness?
My doctor gave me a lot of different options. I could go to this anxiety and depression therapist, I could go to a medicine doctor, or I could do both. She recommended that I did both options, and also prescribed me with a fast acting anxiety pill for just in case I get an anxiety attack. I had a lot of different options, which of course made me anxious.
As a teenager there was no way I wanted to go back to therapy, I really despised it, but I knew that I needed the tools to help me cope with my anxiety and depression. All I wanted was a magic pill that would cure me of my anxiety and depression. What I did not know was that those pills take forever kick in, and you have to work with them. I knew I needed help sock took both options, and met with both of them. I knew it was going to take a lot of time to get cured, and I had no patience.
I continued getting regular anxiety attacks. Of course most of them were for no reason. It was a terrifying feeling, and I had no idea how to deal with it. My heart would beat really fast, I got dizzy, I would scream and cry, and I felt like I was going to throw up.
About a couple weeks after my first doctor visit I began my first appointment at therapy and with my psychiatrist. I was prescribe my first prescription of both anxiety and depression medication. Little did I know it would take over a month to actually kick in. I also began my first therapy appointment. I knew that in order for this to work I had to understand that it would take a while for me to be cured.
The Next obstacles
After a year of medication and therapy I thought i was almost there. My medications were increases a lot, but it helped me. My therapy was starting to get into my head and I felt happier already. Here is the thing that worked. If you want this process to work you need to understand patience. Yes a year seems like a lot of time, but yet I was only just starting to feel better after a year. You also must tell your therapist everything. I know that it is scary telling a stranger everything about you, but I promise it helps a lot. Another thing that could help is if you understand that not every therapist might be the right fit. You may have to go through some to get to the right one.
I started making moves in life. I started removing all of the negative people that would put me down. Little by little I began to get happier and happier. Now if you think my story ends here you would be far from wrong. Yes I was happier, but I still had so many obstacles to get through. It was a journey, but it was a journey I was willing to take.
When i had eventually made it to one year of therapy and medicine I was very proud. I felt like a whole new me, and I decided to stop going to the therapist. It was the summer of 2016 and I went away. I ended up getting through the summer pretty well, but in late August thoughts began popping in my head. I began getting depressed and anxious all over again. It hit me when my grandfather died, and then a bunch of other issues followed as well. I felt awful, and I was afraid. It felt as though all of the progress I had made just evaporated into the air.
Now I do not want to go into detail about what happened, but let's just say I ended up in the hospital under suicide watch from an incident. It was terrifying. I remember laying in the hosptial bed getting questioned by doctors, nurse, therapists. It was scary for me, and of course everyone at school was asking where I was and I did not know what to say. It was awful, especially the fact that the hospital people had to watch me do everything. I stayed overnight, and the next morning we had to meet with doctors to discuss what was going to happen next. It was scary, but luckily they let me call my sister, which of course helped me a lot. It was not easy being in a room where all of the doctors are watching to make sure you do not hurt yourself. Of course I am not going into detail about everything that happened, but it was frightening. As I was in the hospital I became super disappointed with myself. To be completely honest I felt like I had let everyone down. It was a mixture of pain, guilt, and disappointment. After meeting with the doctors I was put into this program for teens like me. I spent 3 weeks there after school from 3-7 everyday except weekends. It actually helped a lot, and I was very proud of myself. I was finally discharged from the program, and felt a lot better. Now you probably think this is the end, but no anxiety and depression sticks with you forever. Of course there are a lot more stories I could tell, but I will save that for a later date.
Well I guess this is the end for now, but to be honest it is never the end. If you think depression and anxiety are just little things in your head you are very wrong. It is not easy, and its painful. I wrote this because I here all the time how teens think they are alone with anxiety and depression. I want them all to know that they are not alone, and there are always people here to help. This article is a quick summary of what my life has been like since I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. There is a lot more to add on to this, and I will write about my next obstacles in the future. This was really hard for me to write about, so please do not give me any hate. Thank you for reading so far.