Hi everyone! My name is Alexa and I want to start by thanking you for coming here to read my story. Everyone’s personal story and journey is different and it took me a very long time to be comfortable enough to share mine. I remember being 14 years old and not feeling like any other teenager my age. I remember feeling like something was “off” or different and I felt like everyone else could see it too. I was impulsive and promiscuous. I felt the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, sometimes at different times and then sometimes all at once. Everyday was a daily battle with my mind and thoughts. My heart would tell me to “get out of bed, you can do this!” and then my head would say “no you’re not going anywhere with your life anyway, there’s no point”. This was a process I dealt with all day long, almost every minute of everyday I had the devil and the angel on my shoulders. The constant battle was exhausting and draining and there were days where I felt numb to everything and cared about nothing.
When I was 19 years old I was clinically diagnosed with bipolar II depression and borderline personality disorder. Up until this point I had just been told I had anxiety and depression with OCD tendencies, but this? My first question was, “what the hell is all of that and why do I have it?” I am the kind of person that needs to know the answer to everything, to be able to control everything or at least why it’s happening. I plan everything like I know what’s going to happen every second of every minute, like there will be no interruptions. But we all know life comes with plenty of interruptions. In the beginning I knew nothing about my diagnosis’s and it took me a while to get there, like 4 years a while. I tried different depression medications to help the lows but then like a see-saw, the high’s sky rocketed. I was either in a state of binge eating and not leaving my bed for days, even weeks, or in a state of pure mania with no need for sleep and impulsive and reckless behavior to boot. I spent my time in hospitals after I felt 1000 feet lower than the ground beneath me. I was in therapy twice a week to talk everything out, learn coping mechanisms and deal with the painful, traumatic experiences that flooded my life. Those, I am not quite ready to talk about yet. Those are the things that make writing seem impossible, like I don’t know how to put any of it into words because I am still trying to comprehend them myself.
I did learn that not everyday is going to be a good day. There may be a week of darkness but then you see one day of light, and then maybe another few days of darkness. But that light will always be fighting to shine through whether you feel it or not. Remember, it’s your head that is telling you to fall into your depression, that you’re not good enough, that you don’t deserve happiness. Try to separate those thoughts from what your heart wants. In your heart, do you really want all of those things? No, I HIGHLY doubt you do. You are not your illness. Your diagnosis is not labeled across your forehead, just like bipolar is not labeled across mine.
You are so much more than your disorder and deserve nothing but happiness, love and light in your life. You deserve to feel purposeful and a sense of belonging. You deserve to overcome this and learn from it and be able to help others. It won’t end all at once, it won’t really end at all and that is something you have to learn to accept. But it will never be as bad as it right now, forever. Trust me, I thought I meant nothing to everyone and couldn’t handle another second of the pain, but I made it through. Don’t be ashamed when you hit bottom, feel enlightened because now you can only go up. You got through the worst of it. What most of society doesn’t understand is that mental illness doesn’t end for us and it surely doesn’t ever go away. We deal with it consistently and daily. But, you control your disorder, not the other way around. It is completely up to you how you handle your feelings. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. My therapist has taught me coping skills that manage my symptoms and eliminate that “breakdown” feeling. Don’t succumb to the symptoms, they don’t control you.
My DM’s and email are always open to anyone who is fighting a mental illness. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Sometimes just venting and letting it all out is what you need to help you breathe a little better and lighten the weight on your shoulders. Every conversation with me remains completely confidential and I will always answer anyone who is struggling or needs someone to talk to. As much as it may feel sometimes, and trust me I know the feeling, you are never alone. Develop a support system for yourself, whether it be family, friends, teachers, your mental health team or a crisis hotline. There is always someone that is willing to listen.