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Maria’s Story

December 3, 2015

I started out with an eating disorder and after that, I went into a serious depression. I’ve always had dislocation, when you don’t feel like you’re in your own body. The entire time, you’re like, “Where am I?” you can’t really feel in the moment. I have a couple friends. One of them, she is suicidal. I have another friend who struggles with depression and self harm.

When I first felt this way, I was like, “This isn’t right. It’s not normal for me to be feeling this way every day or every other day,” and then, I went to a therapist because I was just struggling. And, the therapist was like, “You actually are dealing with mental health issues. What you’re describing… it’s the criteria.” But my mom refused to believe in anything mental health related. She feels that it’s something you just get over. She feels that you change the situation. Sort of like my sister and my dad, it’s hard for them to actually believe. It’s surprising the amount of people who don’t believe in mental health stuff just because they can’t see it.

I try to talk to my mom about it and my sister. My sister is more understanding because she’s my age, but she’s just like, “You can’t be feeling like this. You have to change yourself,” and that makes you feel any worse because you’re like, “I’m trying. Like, I honestly am.”

At the end of 7th grade, beginning of 8th grade. I was 5’5’’ and I was like 95 pounds. You just go to extreme lengths to make everyone think that you’re cool. You’d like get dishes dirty to pretend you were eating. When it comes to [the disorder], you start lying a lot very compulsively because you just don’t want anyone to know. You’re crying out for help, but at the same time, you don’t want anyone to be there. You kind of want to struggle, but at the same time, you want help, but it’s hard for you to admit that you want help. Maybe it’s the first step, I’m not one to say.

I went from starving myself, towards the end of 8th grade, I was binge eating and that’s what brought on this huge height and weight change. I hated myself for it because I was like, “Why are you still eating?” and I would come home and binge eat and binge eat. Even my mom started noticing. I’m someone that gets triggered really easily when it comes to emotions. My mom, she would always do this thing that whenever I was overeating or whenever I wasn’t eating, they didn’t mean to make fun of me, I know they were concerned, but they just like would pick at it. They’d just be like, “What is going on with you?” and “Why are you doing this?” Then they’d be like, “Oh, are you going to cry now? You look like you’re starting to cry” and they would always do this.

Now it’s like I’m forcing myself to respond positively to every situation so it doesn’t affect me negatively. I’m trying to be really positive, but at the same time, sometimes one small thing can just crumble everything. It’s kind of like a card tower. After you’ve been building up all of these good things these good feelings, one small thing can just crumble everything. When you’re feeling down, you think about every bad thing in your life and it kind of just adds up and then something bad at home happens, which just makes it worse.

For me, I bottle up everything. When I’m about to cry, I just think, “You know what, it’s fine, I’ll just cry about this later.” So I bottle it up, but when something actually sort of major happens, that’s when I let it all out. And, it’s not always crying. It can be feeling just muted. And it hurts too… I don’t call these episodes, but when it does happen, it does feel like an episode. It feels like there’s an invisible blanket and you can’t really breathe well. It doesn’t feel good. I’ve accomplished so many things so far in these past two and a half years, and there’s stuff I can be proud of, but it’s just like an ongoing… it’s there… it’s just there.

I actually overdosed once on pain medicine and I went to school like that. And I thought I was fine, but I was just really dizzy. And I was thinking, “this is fine” the entire time I was like “this is fine.” I told the nurse I was feeling kind of sick and I only told her that I took some expired medicine. I lied to her about that, which is what I hate. It makes you lie so much. It’s not good for any relationship. I went to the counselor. I went to her. I was having this huge breakdown and I got into her office, I missed like three of my periods because I was literally just straight up in her office, bawling my eyes out about I don’t even know what the hell was going on. And then I told her that I overdosed and I told her this was going on and that I wasn’t feeling well. And she says, “Oh, have you told your mom about this?” and I was like, “Yes, I told her.” So then I went to the nurse, and she said, “Do you want to tell your mom? Or do you want me to tell your mom about this?” So I was like, “you know what? I will tell her later tonight and then I will send you an email so that you can talk to my mom about it,” but then she straight up calls my mom the moment I leave the office, so when I get home, my mom is pissed.

I come home and my mom is like, “What the f–k? Why did I get a call from the counselor saying that you were trying to kill yourself at school?” She wasn’t being helpful… she was just like, “What the hell are you doing? Do you think this is a good way? Do you think this is how you want to end?” As an adult, you don’t want your child to kill herself, but like she wasn’t helping at all. She was just being really negative like, “Why? This is so stupid. It’s so dumb. There was so much ahead in your life. I know you’re not doing well in school right now, but this is not a stupid excuse and if you kill yourself, you will go to hell.” Because of the bible… you know, she’s crazy about that shit. So, she was like, “Do you want to go straight to hell? That’s not what God wanted for you.” She was never ever supportive about it. And it’s not like it’s something you have to be supportive of, but when you’re feeling bad, it’s because it’s something others have to be like, “What can I do so we’re all feeling good,” and it’s really cliché, but that’s basically it. Especially with people as close as parents, “What am I doing so that we can reach a compromise so that you’re still learning from me and I’m still being a good parent without being a friend.”

Where my parents are from, [mental health] is not as huge of a thing. Even though every mental health issue is not completely recognized here in the US, it’s a lot more recognized than anywhere else. My parents are not that supportive because they grew up in a really tough situation and they just didn’t believe in [mental health issues]. My mom and my parents make me feel bad because, they’re like “We’re here, and we helped you with this and paying for you to get all the way here. And we worked hard to get into Clayton just so you can do this with your life?” it’s like “I’m not fucking choosing…I’m not…I don’t choose what’s going on in my head.”

It makes you feel even worse because my parents lived in a harder situation, and I’m over here in Clayton, in a rich middle class area, and I’m having depression and self harm and eating disorder. Like, why am I doing this. I’m messing up even though everything is all perfect around me. And you feel like you’re messing up. You think that the only reason that you can have depression is if someone died in your life, or you’re poor, or you’re struggling with your house, or you’re struggling with friends. No! Anyone can have anything. I think that’s pretty obvious, but I think a lot of people just don’t know.

There’s times that you feel really ashamed about my mental health issues. A lot of coping that I do is pretending that it’s not there. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst actually. You can just be like, this is nothing. What works for me. Fake it till you make it. And then all of this time of pretending to be happy, it’s normal for you to be happy. Even though you’re faking it, it feels good. Faking it that everything’s ok. You’ll believe yourself. And that’s what you want. You want to be fine. That works really well for me.

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