My Mental Health Journey


The hard thump of my heart against my chest. A cold sweat rolls down my face as my eyes try to focus on one thing. My mind racing with new, terrible thoughts. Toward the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, I have been struggling with my anxiety.  Not that it hasn’t been an ongoing issue, but it has been particularly hard to deal with recently.

Since the fourth grade, after my grandfather died, I knew something was off with myself. Sadness always overwhelmed me and I struggled to be happy. In the eighth grade, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. From there, I began therapy and medication to help handle with mental illnesses.  

 It’s always been hard dealing with something I can’t physically see. There are good days and some days make me want to stay in bed, eat tons of food and not talk to anyone.

However, I am a junior and only have a year left until I am off in the real world and don’t want to be stuck in a vicious cycle of anxiety attacks. So, I am taking responsibility for my mental health and finding new ways to cope with my anxiety.

I decided to do some research on techniques to help control and handle when I have panic attacks and anxiety attacks. One big technique I learned for when I am in school is deep breathing. It is a way to calm my thoughts and focus on counting my breaths. How I implement this is, when I start getting a panic attack, I inhale for five seconds, hold my breath for one second and then exhale for five seconds. I repeat this for one minute, and if I’m still panicking, I then reach out to an adult. Deep breathing has really helped and is a great way to stay calm in a discreet way. At home, I use an app called “Calm Harm.” The app is desgned to help with thoughts of suicide or self mutilation. However, it is also good with anxiety. Calm Harm gives many different options for how to distract from the situation and then provides activities to do. Once you finish the activity, the app asks if you ride the wave, which means are you better and okay now. Calm Harm has really been a tremendous help in preventing my anxiety from getting worse.

Along with different apps and techniques, I try to exercise and eat better. It helps with my confidence and my body dysmorphia. Having body dysmorphia is the the over analyzation of flaws on my body and makes it difficult to be positive on how I look.  Being healthy really does alleviate mental illness and adrenaline is a healthy endorphin that keeps my mind clear and active.

Taking control of my mental health was the best decision I have ever made. It has let me take major steps in my self-love journey, and I hope to keep making progress in the future. Some advice I would give to someone struggling with a mental illness is to take time to know yourself; if you don’t know yourself, you can’t fix yourself.