When I was 16 I asked my father to bring me to the ER because I was nervous about my mental health. After waiting for hours, I was brought in to see a doctor and anxiously blurted out that I was scared I was bipolar. The doctor shook his head and sighed, signaling to me that I was a waste of his time.
That was 13 years ago. My knowledge of mental health was restricted to television shows and Web MD. Because of this I didn’t have the language to express myself. The doctor dismissed my concerns and I was discharged within minutes.
I agreed to participate in this project because no one should have to feel the way I did that day. Our youth need to know their resources and feel comfortable accessing them. And we need to treat every person’s concerns about mental health with compassion and understanding.
My mental health story did not end at 16. At 21, I experienced my first major depressive episode. I can still remember the weight of my sadness and anger and how exhausting it was to carry with me. I wanted desperately for the pain to go away, and I developed many poor coping skills to take the edge off.
Lucky for me, I lived in the UNB Community. My Residence Leaders were there for me, and were eventually able to guide me to seek both counselling and medical attention. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression, and I began my road to recovery.
My mental health is still part of my everyday life. I take daily medication and speak with a counsellor to manage my symptoms. There are still bad days, I still get anxious, but I am still here. And that’s a beautiful thing in of itself.