It’s true. The things my doctors have told me. They are true. I have a list of mental illnesses just as I’d always suspected, but had never truly accepted about myself. I’ve always sort of known that I was an anxious person; even as a young child I could sense that my unease around other people was probably a bit worse than everyone else was experiencing. Every kid hates getting up in front of the classroom to present a group project, or make a speech and have to say it in front of the entire class or school at an assembly. In my case though, it was the most horrific thing my mind could fathom. As I grew older and more aware of friends and teenagers and their thoughts on me and themselves and my schoolwork, it all just worsened with the years. In junior high it was dreadful to have to make a poster for a project and have to talk about it for just a few short minutes in front of a class. I’d shake and tremble in fear as the seconds went on and I stumbled through each part of my carefully planned out little poster, trying to remember each detail so I wouldn’t come up short on time. High school I did my very best to try and take drama with my best friend and even that didn’t help very much. I’ll admit it helped ever so slightly when it came to my good humor and making my sarcastic jokes more openly with friends, but I was still struggling with my anxieties.
As if things weren’t bad enough, I had the worst acne amongst my friends. It was so bad that it wasn’t just on my face, but on my shoulders and back as well. My mother decided to take me to my doctor who tried a great many creams and things on my skin, and from there they sent me to a dermatological specialist. This specialist knew that I was only 14/15 at the time and so before taking drastic steps, they too wanted to try creams and topical ointments on me. After trying the harshest thing for your skin at the time, the well-known “Retin-A Micro”, they found it to just not be enough. My dermatologist decided it was time for me to take the ultimate acne fighting medication out there, Accutane. Since this drug could severely harm a baby should one get pregnant, they also sent me to a gynecologist as well to start me on birth control to regulate my hormones on top of that. 15 years old and I was on “The Pill”. All I knew was that this was just another thing my doctors were going to try on me. This treatment was supposed to last for a year. It took a year and a half to heal completely and only have scars remaining. However, back to my mental health…
During this time, while on this drug called Accutane, it was not only causing chemical changes in my body, but psychological as well. Yes the birth control helped level out my hormones, but I was still a teenager and change was around every corner. Naturally, I was extremely depressed all that time. Concerned that a friend might hug me too tightly and that they’d make my back bleed, or that I’d be made fun of for having such gross little pustules all over my face. I had many a suicidal thought around then. It wasn’t all that bad mostly because one of my best friends at the time was looking out for me and would talk to me when I was feeling extra low. Not even my parents knew what to do with me. My mother would cry most days we would have a doctor visit thinking that the medication wasn’t going to work. Well, it did. I was left with scarring all over my shoulders and back. My face though looked glorious and clear of blemishes from then on mostly. Sadly as for the scars, I was stuck with them unless I decided to undergo injections of steroids, or painful laser surgery. Neither of which interested me at all at the time. It was senior year! I was ready to get the hell out of high school.
Eventually, as I struggled through senior year, I made it out alive, graduated with some honors and started up in college. Cypress College in fact. Didn’t quite make it through that first semester though. Towards the end I’d realized I’d taken on too many heavy courses and had to drop out of all of them as I was failing all my units. Also, I had a severe case of tonsillitis over that holiday season.
Through college I sucked it up and worked hard and even graduated. Though I did develop panic attacks. Turns out my anxieties at work and school were beginning to really hurt me internally and I wasn’t sure how to deal with them all. My job was not giving me much money and hours and so each day I would be driving my car to work and just dreading being there for the short hours that I’d be slave to my micro-manager of a boss. So I would hyperventilate and tremble and could feel the roof of my mouth tingling and my asthma would be really bad to the point I had to use multiple inhalers to save me from an asthma attack. It was such a mess…
A friend suggested I see a therapist. I did for about 6 months until I realized I was wasting my money and just needed to dump my boyfriend. Which I did. Also, I lost 55 pounds in 2009, and went from 218 to 164. I was feeling more confident than ever before and was fit thanks to taking kick boxing and belly dancing! Such fun classes by the way.
Sadly, the panic attacks were still happening. Then, something happened around this time. I had gone to visit family outside of California and was sexually assaulted by someone I had come to know very well thanks to a family member of mine. It scarred me for life and left me depressed for the entire year of 2012. I cried for the first 6 months of that year. Each and every single day I was crying for about an hour a day. I would have to pull over my car and cry and sometimes scream wherever I was. Or cry alone in a bathroom when I could at work or at home quietly to myself. Anything to get the emotions out of me. The shock, the pain and the betrayal. I have never felt anything more horrible in my life. I even got a new job at this point and stuck it out because I was caregiving for a friend’s family member. I would have panic attacks all the time and crying fits, but no one was around to notice and I did not reach out for help from anyone. I told just a few very close friends of mine and that was all.
I had a new boyfriend and things were looking a bit happier for me, so I thought. Aside from the occasional panic attacks and hallucinations. Yes, I said hallucinations. I’ll discuss this more later.
Finally, once I quit the job I had and found another bookkeeping job, something crazy happened to me. Something that has been happening to me ever since May 5, 2013.