Dec 12, 2015

Amber Talks about Her Mental Health

When I talked about this post on Twitter, there was so much support that was offered to me and for that I am grateful. I am grateful for this community that embraces tough issues instead of hiding from them. A community that makes me feel comfortable enough to share a little more about me. 


So I think you guys know me already, but I'll introduce myself again. My name is Amber. I am 17 years old. I am a high school senior. I have 2 brothers, and 1 sister. A dog. I live in the suburbs. I run a book blog. I been accepted to two colleges that I was convinced would say no. I have friends. I have a family. I bought a car. I have an anxiety disorder, a mood disorder, and ADHD. I am also depressed.

While writing this post, I cut out the above part several times. Why? Because I am nervous to say this stuff, despite my comfort. It changes things. People says sharing doesn't, but sometimes it does. I've accepted that fact. Even if don't like it.  
I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was eight years old, after many hospital visits because I would tell my parents I couldn't breathe. When you are a child you don't understand that the stomach aches, the tight skin, the chest pains are signs of anxiety. I didn't want to go to school or go to my friends' houses for play dates. I knew I was different, and my peers saw I was different. The bullying started after the anxiety disorder was diagnosed, and it only made it worse. Fast forward two years. I am now 10 years old and in 4th grade. I am still getting bullied. I fake stomach aches, throwing up, anything to stay home from school. I cry every morning when my parents drop me off at the bus stop and I eat lunch at a table of people who make constant fun of me. I was miserable. My parents didn't understand, the school wasn't doing anything to help, and my teacher didn't know what to do. 

Fifth grade was the year that changed everything. The bullying increased to the kids telling me I should just die, that I was worthless, I was a nobody. When you hear things so much you tend to believe them. I felt worthless, and stupid... The self destructive behaviors started that year and they didn't last long. I got help and hoped things would get better. Sixth grade, seventh grade things didn't change much. I began to read more, I kept to myself. I didn't have friends anymore. But the bullying stopped! 


High school started, and over that summer I was diagnosed with a mood disorder to add to my already growing list. But my freshman year was smooth, I managed my anxiety, my depression was controllable on medications. I made friends. I was happy.

Sophomore year things got rough. I started getting panic attacks. They were bad enough that I stopped going to school, or if I was in school I wouldn't go to class. My friendships were still newer, but I let my friends in and with their help (and medication for my anxiety) I was able to push through it all and things got better for the next year and a half. Junior year (Besides the school stress) was my best year of high school. It was a smooth with very little bumps. 

This Summer, I felt great. I was happy. I thought I was on top of the world and I stopped taking my medications. I felt good for a while and then school started. The anxiety came back, I became depressed and my moods were out of control. That is what caused my first hiatus on the blog for several weeks in September/October. At the end of October I realized I couldn't handle things on my own anymore and opened up to my mom, who took me back to the doctor. November was a good month. I was down a little bit, and sleepy from side effects but things were good. 

I don't handle stress well, and between depression and anxiety I am constantly stressed. Even if it's something small, I have anxiety about it. The past two weeks have not been easy on me, things got bad, and I reached a real low point. But I am working on it, I am working on me and getting myself better. 

Society romanticizes mental illnesses and makes it something to have. People say they are depressed when really it's just a moment of sadness. People say they have anxiety when they are worried about something. And I learned that people really don't understand what these things are. Anxiety isn't the pretty shy girl with no friends, it's avoiding leaving your house because you are afraid, or pushing people you care about away because you worry that they secretly hate you. Depression isn't always someone who inflicts harm upon herself. Sometimes it is that person in school, or at your job that looks put together and happy. Sometimes it is someone who can't get out of bed days on end. With dirty hair, and bags under their eyes. There is NOTHING romantic about that. 

So, that is my story. I wanted to share it to help people understand me a little better, but also help someone else. I know sometimes it seems like all hope is gone and things aren't going to get better. But please, believe me -- things will get better. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Thank you for being such an open community that I am able to share my story in. 



11 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, Amber! *hugs*

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  2. Reading this absolutely broke my heart. I've gone through a couple bouts of pretty bad depression, and I didn't even realize I was depressed until I looked back on those times.

    The first time, I hardly showered, I slept as much as possible, I threw on the first items of (dirty) clothing I could find. It wasn't pretty. The second time, I let my morals spiral out of control. I didn't care about much of anything. I drank any time I could, I smoked pot. I didn't care about making myself better. I just wanted to feel good. Again, it was not pretty. I am so ashamed when I look back on those times, but I am so far away from being that person now. This has been my best semester of college. It has been so fun! I joined a sorority, became more involved on campus. I dress up every morning, do my hair and makeup, and it makes me feel so good about myself. I walk around with confidence and my head held high now. I am working on growing as a person, and that's what is beautiful.

    You're right--depression is extremely romanticized. It shouldn't be. It is ugly and it is all-consuming. While I know I shouldn't be ashamed of the way I was when I was depressed (you can't really help some of the things you do when you're suffering from depression), it's hard not to. But things have gotten so much better for me, just like they'll get better for you and everyone else who feels like they won't.

    Thank you for sharing this. It really hit me in the heart.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Amber! I know that by sharing this you will help others who feel the same and I think it's important that they know they aren't the only ones. Do whatever you have to do to feel happy, even if it means taking a break from blogging. We will support you no matter what!

    Love you so much and you are so brave!! xx

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  4. Thank you for your bravery Amber dear! You are fighting and working through everything and getting better! It WILL get better for sure, even if you always have to be vigilant because anxiety creeps when you least expect it! *big hugs*

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  5. Thanks for sharing, Amber! It definitely took a courage to write a personal post like this. Up until now, I only know mental health from books, and I know that they sometimes isn't accurate. Anyway, lots of hugs and kisses for you, Amber <33

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  6. Thank you so sharing your story. I did a project not too long ago about depression and what you said really hit the nail on the head. Society throws the word around like its nothing. But it's something, and it effects a lot of people. Stay strong, Amber! <3

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  7. Thank you for sharing with us Amber. It is so difficult to put this stuff out there (I've not posted about anything this personal myself- too scared) I am so sorry for the tough times you've endured. You are so brave and courageous to speak out. Im positive your post will encourage others!

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story Amber and I hug you for being so brave in doing so. I know we haven't known each other for long but I love you and being friends with you. I don't personally know too many people who go through anxiety and have had depression but based on what I hear, it's a horrible thing to go through. My DM is always open for you when you need it :)

    ~Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!

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  9. You know I am here for you and Jessica, Amber! Personally, I'm honored and humbled that you are sharing part of your story with us/the world. It's not easy to open up about what's behind close doors - especially when the Internet is really quite a vicious place, and you're not sure of anything. I've seen how strong and brave you are, and I know that you will always be strong and brave, no matter how difficult everything seems/will be. Your friendship and blogging peerage means a lot to me, and I want you to know that I support you (and Jessica!) in any/all endeavors.

    People never know what others are dealing with or going through, but that doesn't make personal issues any less real or crushing. THANK YOU for sharing this part of your life - I hope this saves someone, just as much as I know it touched me. :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  10. You are so so brave for doing this kind of post. Thank you for sharing and more importantly, for being an inspiration.

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  11. What a wonderfully honest post, Amber. I'm glad you felt comfortable enough to share. We never truly know what others are dealing with in their private lives. It's so good that you recognize when you need help - and follow through and get it. With that kind of outlook and attitude I hope you'll continue to thrive. {hugs}

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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