How did I get Here?
by Jamie Marie
How did I get Here? Someone recently presented me with the question; “How did you get to where you are today? What made you realize you had to make a change?”
Let me just say it wasn’t easy, but I will make my best attempt at answering those questions and sharing my journey.
My journey of healing and opening up about my mental health began in 2014 I was 24 years old and by that time had been suffering in silence with depression for eight years. Depression welcomed itself into my life at age 16, at that time I was unaware of what I was dealing with, every single day became a struggle to survive. Depression stole my life; I lost friends, it drove me down a path of self-destruction, self-hatred, and shame. My hopes and dreams disappeared. Waking up every day felt like a curse. The only thing that kept me going was the one shred of hope I had left, in the back of my mind I still believed there was more to life, I refused to accept that my life's purpose was to live a miserable existence.
I kept my struggles locked inside, I told no one, continuing to push everything down, down, down, block it out any way I could. I was ashamed of the fact that at times I wanted to die. I was ashamed that I had scars from hurting myself. I was ashamed of my thoughts, feelings and most of all my existence.
Fast forward to 2014, at 24 years old I FINALLY got to the point where I was sick of the life I was living. I wanted more. I wanted to feel free, connected, and alive. I was a zombie with no self-worth, and I didn't want to be that anymore. I didn’t want to simply survive anymore I wanted to thrive!
I didn’t know where to start, the more I thought about it the more frustrated I became. I knew I couldn’t do it alone, I knew I would have to be willing to ask for help. The thought of opening up and talking about my struggles terrified me. I feared rejection, judgment, etc. Until one night I was sitting in my living room, thoughts racing and all of a sudden I got angry, angry that I felt trapped; I wanted a better life. I wanted help but couldn’t reach for it because of shame and fear because the world I live in doesn’t openly accept mental illness.
I began writing my frustration. I wrote as if I didn’t care who heard; I wanted everyone to know how I felt. I wanted them to understand what I had been hiding and how it affected me, and although I was scared as hell when I was done writing I posted it on Facebook. Terrified of what people would say but knowing I had to stop living in silence. The response I got completely blew my mind, nothing but encouraging, supportive, and positive messages. All of a sudden, I felt some of the weight lift. I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
That first post was a turning point for me. I began seeing a counselor and for the first time in my life, I began putting myself first, my health first. I continued (and still do) sharing my journey. I have witnessed how powerful breaking the silence can be not only for yourself but for others as well. Sharing my journey has freed me. I found more support than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. I am no longer ashamed of my story. Everything I have gone through has led me to where I am today, to who I am today. I will never regret that or be ashamed because I can honestly say I love who I am, where I am, and I continue to learn to love the parts I use to feel were unloveable.
Since that first moment of speaking up, I continue to share my journey, thoughts, feelings, good days, and bad days. Healing, recovery whatever you want to call it, is a journey, it requires patience and self-love. It requires treating yourself gently, forgiving yourself, and never giving up. To anyone struggling right now, know that you are not alone, there is always hope, do not give up. You deserve happiness, IT DOES GET BETTER! I will no longer be silent, I will continue to break the silence in my life I will continue to fight against shame and stigma. No one should have to suffer in silence.
How did I get here? I broke the silence.