By Sue Perbody

Born in a country and culture where going to a psychiatrist meant that you’re “crazy”, I thought the same way. I thought that people who went to a psychiatrist were making stuff up and were just seeking attention. And that they didn’t want to do their chores and were making excuses left and right to avoid them. I thought that depression and anxiety were just excuses. This was my mindset when I was suffering from them. I moved away for college far away from my hometown and it was a big change for me. I was completing a degree that I really liked. I left behind my friends of 21 years and a lot of extended relatives who I was very close with, they were practically my immediate family. It was very hard for me to deal with that. My parents moved as well and seeing them struggle for me, caused me to internalize it. The guy I was in a relationship with at that time was from my hometown too. Our long-term relationship was in jeopardy.

I felt that I had no purpose in life and that I was better off dead. I started to feel that I was dead weight on my parent’s shoulder. I felt that they were only worried because of me. I was in the deep end of a pool of severe depression. I couldn’t ask anyone for help because I feared that I would be labelled as a crazy person. I didn’t want anyone to think low of me. I was determined to complete my degree and make a name for myself. While at school, I started taking sleep medications. I worked a job on campus so I could buy these over the counter medications. I was taking Nyquil every night to put me to sleep. It made me miserable and I started to become aloof. I would not talk to anyone and I just hid away in my room. I would not participate in any activities at home and if someone would ask me to I would become very upset. My nature changed and everyone in my family was noticing it. This went on for three to four months and one day while at school I decided that I was going to end my life. I will do something that will close my book and this would be the last chapter in my life. I sent my favorite teacher an email saying that I won’t be able to make it to class because I didn’t feel well and that I was so upset and that I should kill myself. My teacher being the amazing person he was, called me and asked me where I was. I told him I was in the school library. He informed the school health center and they called an ambulance. I was taken to the hospital.

By the time I reached the hospital I had passed out because I had no energy because of my depression. They put me in a psych ward where I couldn’t meet my family. My dad who got a job in a different city traveled right away so that he could see me. I was in that ward for five days. I was hooked up on different medications and I was subjected to a few therapies. Even today when I think of that time I feel like it was a nightmare. To cut the story short I was on anti-anxiety pills and anti-depression pills. I gained weight. I struggled at school and went through the worst breakup.

If I didn’t get the proper treatment that I did I would have been history by now. I don’t share this part of my life with hardly anyone because there are still many people who will judge you for getting help, but I know that mental illness is a disease. It is something that needs treatment and people who do go through it know that it is very hard. I still sometimes struggle with depression and anxiety, but I believe that it is normal, and I know that I’m not “crazy”. I learned it the hard way, but I believe that we should be open about mental health. We should have open discussions in schools, workplaces and homes to help all of those that are afraid to get help. And we shouldn’t judge anyone for their illness because it can be treated and cured. I am living proof of that.

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