My life was good. I was athletic, had a great group of friends, an awesome family, and overall I was having a really good time. Besides my diagnosis of endometriosis weighing me down, it was nothing compared to what I was in for in my life. August 1st, 2018- that all changed. I had been visiting my dad in Nevada when my best friend called me and informed me that my other best friend since middle school, had died by suicide. All the sudden my life had flipped upside down. My junior year was absolute hell. I was beginning to gain weight, my grades were failing, and I couldn’t hold up a sport anymore. I was extremely depressed.
Over that junior year, I turned my pain to purpose. I started a mental health club at my school. I attended many signs of suicide training for M.A.D H.O.P.E here in Washington State, and I attended weekly meetings for struggling teens, and even started therapy and psychiatry. Life began to get back on track, I was slowly able to accept my friend’s decision, despite not knowing her true pain. Then, that following August, I had my first mania episode, and just a few days after I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder (It had been suspected for a few months.) I could feel depression seeping in right after my episode, and unfortunately it was very uncomfortable. I remember not wanting to be alive, and not wanting to move.
My senior year (this year) was extremely hard and I ended up being put on a 504 for the mental illness that was now being considered a disability due to not being able to stay awake, or pay attention longer than 20 minutes. I remember I had to walk to stay awake. No one knew how truly bad it was for me, and I felt like I was seen different by my teachers and peers. I started new medicine that took so long to adjust to, but suddenly I began to feel good again. The only thing weighing me down was how much weight I had gained (this being due to the condition my ovaries and organs were and still are in). I sought more help and talked through my insecurities with my lovely therapist (who at that time, was also my best friend) and I began to realize how lovely I was as a human. What I had gone through as a young woman was awful, but it was beautiful at the same time. As you could guess, despite small episodes of anger and mania here and there, I’m doing quite well today. All my energy is still focused on mental health, but also human rights- whether it be Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, etc. It took a lot of help and time, but eventually I began to love myself- and if I can do it, you can do it too.