As I sit here contemplating where the beginning of my journey really began, I start to realize how much help I really needed and how far I’ve come.
At this point in my life I’d suffered from chronic migraines, so going to the doctor was a monthly occurrence for me. But one Thursday morning doctors visit would change the course of my life forever. My dad, my doctor Didi and I became really close over the prior two years. So my dad sitting in on all my appointments was totally normal, and almost expected every time I went. When the nurse called out “Wilhelmina” I began to replay my migraines that week preparing myself for the questions Didi would ask. But as I began to sit down to update Didi, he stopped me, asking my dad to go for a walk around the mall. A thousand thoughts crossed my mind with in seconds. Why was my dad leaving? What was Didi going to talk to me about? Dad don’t leave. Didi turned his eyes from his computer to look at me. He says to me, “what’s been going on with you?” I sat there, my eyes staring back at him. He replies to my sharp stare, “well your parents are worried about you, and I sure am worried about you too. Your dad says your mood has been down, is that true?” By this time in the consult, I’d already burst into tears. All I could think about was this stupid boy who had consumed my mind for months, playing games with me, always changing his mind and making promises he couldn’t keep. But I knew, as I told Didi, that this wasn’t the cause, how could I be depressed over a stupid boy. Perhaps a small trigger in the jist of something bigger?
As all these feelings rushed through my shaking body, I realized this isn’t the first time I’d felt that low. I thought back to a year prior. I was in grade 10, attending Sheldon Williams collegiate, but not for long.
GRADE TEN She’d walk down the halls as the older grades stared holes in her freshly washed t-shirt, She’d stare at nothing but the floor, trying to block out the words they would yell that didn’t define her rightfully as a person. That was my life, the entire first semester of grade 10. I was humiliated every time I stepped out of my classroom and into the halls of a supposedly safe and welcoming school. Ironic. By Christmas time I couldn’t take any of it anymore.
During this period of my life, I hadn’t told my parents a single thing. In their perception I was a happy and healthy teenager.
I went from hanging out with my friends everyday to slowly distancing myself from the group. I started to hang out with a couple of friends from Luther. Whom later on, convinced me to move to Luther for the following second semester. It was a wonderful break. A fresh start really. I wasn’t rudely looked at, or put down, or yelled at in the halls. I was just the new girl that frankly looked identical to Greta. Although a break from all the petty drama, I still wasn’t better. I was incredibly sad all the time, but I kept telling myself “this isn’t what depression feels like”. But at the same time; how would I know? I’d never been clinically diagnosed before.
GRADE ELEVEN By the time grade 11 came around, I’d decided to move back to Sheldon and I’d been recently attached to the hip with a girl who’d be my other half for the following year or so. We’d done everything together, hell everyone started calling one another each others girlfriends because if she was somewhere obviously I’d be there too. It was great, at first. Always having, as Grey’s refers to it, my person. The only issue; the biggest issue that could possibly arise, I couldn’t talk to her about anything. I remember texting her once saying that I thought we were drifting, and my bestfriend, in the whole wide world didn’t even reply. For some reason she wouldn’t or couldn’t communicate. This destroyed me. Mentally. I needed someone I could spill my brains out too. Someone who would just sit there and make me feel not so crazy for thinking and feeling the way I was. But let’s not jump ahead here.
With in the first two weeks of school I was smoking weed before class, in-between class, after class and anytime I could possibly squeeze it in. My best friend and I were also starting up a business. A business that ended pretty quickly. We were offered an ounce. So we started selling, mainly to close friends and people we knew. Until suspicion got around, and eventually to my parents too. This was no good for me. They checked my car one afternoon hoping to ease their pounding hearts, to find 13 g’s left to sell, a couple scales, a grinder, some papers, a pipe and my own stash.
My parents were furious, as they should be. I was grounded for a month, the first two weeks no phone, following the grounding my curfew being 11 pm and my phone being taken away every night to look through it.
The very first night that all this happened I didn’t leave my room. Not to eat, not to drink and especially not to talk to anyone. I had a glass of water beside my bed and I picked it up, in the other hand I had my pill bottle. I slowly began to ingest 3 or 4 pills at a time to make it go by faster. I don’t remember much, but as I recall I swallowed 23 pills and passed out. I woke up the next morning in a panic almost. I didn’t know where I was or what had happened. (I was still in my room in the exact position I’d passed out in). I felt dopey and weird. I was high. I went downstairs to the living room where my parents always have their morning coffee and watch tv before work. I sat down and I slowly spit the words out knowing they were still mad at me. They didn’t seem shocked and it honestly didn’t even seem like they cared. I think they were in a moment of exhaustion but I’ll never forget what was said that morning. My mom had blurted out that what I did was better than being pregnant. Really? My dad just sat in silence. I was sent to school that day, high as a kite off the drugs and trying to learn? Not a good mix.
I was a mess. A catastrophe. I had one good friend that I could talk too at that time. Samira. She had me over for lunch that Monday and pretty much just let me cry in her arms. She let me use her phone to talk to a few special people that I hadn’t got the chance to yet and she made me feel, loved. She’s always been a sense of home for me.
I sure couldn’t talk much about it with my other half though. I hadn’t seen her that day at all. Almost like nothing even happened for her. I mean she probably told her mom it was just me. I got the entire blame and I had to deal with it alone. That truly sticks with a person.
One late Sunday night, I came home shaking. I knew I had to say it. Willa, just say it already. Damn it. I blurted out the words. For the first time in a year and a half I said it. “I need someone to talk to.”
Didi asked me a series of questions. What’s my perception on school? homework? how do I feel about stress in general? What makes me sad? What maybe triggered this? How long do my low periods of time usually last?
Within half an hour, I was clinically diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety. I was put on Amitriptyline which I’ve taken since. In the present moment I am going through a period of my life where I no longer need to take meds to be better. I was also put on an anti-anxiety drug but found it didn’t provide much help. I just stuck with the Amitriptyline, increasing my doses as needed.
My story doesn’t even end there. It’ll continue to grow, I’ll continue to get battle wounds, and I’ll continue taking away from my experiences and turning them into something greater. I am incredibly thankful for all the hardships I have faced in all my 17 years of living. I would never wish this upon someone else, but the entire experience has made me grow into someone I would’ve never dreamt to be. I am proud of myself, I am strong, and I will continue to fight to help end the stigma against Mental Illnesses.
The biggest thing I’ve learned for sure throughout everything, is that even though it may seem like the end of the world. Like there’s nothing left living for, but things honestly do get better. It’s you who has to make it happen. You have to want to help yourself before anyone else can help you. There’s always a light at the end of tunnel, and the feeling you’ll receive once you reach that light, is astonishing. There is no better feeling than, I made it.