Managing Mental Illness

Since I was 14, I’ve been on antidepressant medications and later on in my teens, anxiety medications. I was the first one in my family to have depression, and there was a big learning curve for not only me, but my family trying to help me. There’s still a stigma that goes along with mental illness, even though depression is a common thing to have.

When I was in high school, I would hide the fact I had depression and anxiety. I felt like my depression was a burden, and I didn’t want to worry my friends or family. The first two years of college, I was trying to be more comfortable with opening up to my family and friends about my mental illnesses, all the while my depression was worsening. Sophomore year of college I hit rock bottom, and was admitted into a psych ward — which isn’t anything like you see in movies or TV, it’s really just a lot of sitting around in pajamas and going to group therapy.

When I got out, I really started to focus on the importance of self-monitoring, and how it can prevent extreme depressive episodes. Self-monitoring honestly one of the most important things I’ve learned how to do. By self- monitoring and being more comfortable talking about my problems, I started to get more support from my family and close friends. If I’m feeling a little worse than usual I’ll make sure to talk to somebody (usually my mom) about how I’m feeling, and within a hour I’ll bounce back and be fine.

Society’s stigma around mental illness hurt me for many years. I want people to be more open to talking about mental illness, because hiding it can be really detrimental to a person’s journey. Recently, through counseling, talking openly about deep shit with people and self monitoring, I now am off all of my pills. Which is, you know, pretty cool.

Story by Emily Klein

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