The Bad Days Make the Good Days Even Better
Since this is a personal family blog, I've decided to talk about something more personal. My story. So here is a battle with mental illness. Get comfy because its going to be long and complicated.
I've always been an anxious child. For as long as I can remember, I was always stressing over school and what other people thought of me. Around the age of 6, I started binge eating. I was always a heavier kid and when I started binge eating I gained weight. Around school age is when the bullying started. In kindergarten I was taunted because of my weight and freckles. I was always picked last in Phys. Ed. I was laughed and instead of being upset I joined in. I laughed off the jokes that were told and buried all of the true feelings I had. I started to make fun of myself so the bullies couldn't. It never stopped.
Moving through grade school, the bullying got a little better but my self esteem was so low. In third grade I wrote a letter to my teacher and told her how I hated my body. I still continued to binge eat and started to hide food. I started to go on diets that I saw online for a few days and then I would give up. The kids in my neighborhood were mean towards the end of my living there. Then I moved to my current house and neighborhood. I met my best friend still to this day. I finally had a supportive friend by my side and for that I am forever grateful. I started playing soccer and I was the goalie. I was starting to fit in. I found my place in soccer and I absolutely loved it. In fourth grade is when the bullying started again. I was made fun of because of my weight and my freckles again and my self esteem dropped. I felt it was better to be laughing with the people than laughed at. I started join in make fun of myself again. When I went to middle school, I was joined by all of the people from other schools. I was in the talented and gifted program and my stress levels increased. The bullying stopped again but my self esteem was very low. I felt embarrassed to talk in front of people. I met some friends! In this grade is when I started to overthink and pull away from people when we started to get close. Moving to the next grade, things got so much better. I had what I would like to think was the best year of my life. I got along with my teachers, I was doing great with my grades, and I had a great and supportive friend group.
When I started 7th grade, I asked my family how they liked it and I got responses like "it was awful". School got so hard and I started to not be able to fit in again. I had my best friend since preschool in my hallway so we got closer. I didn't understand in a lot of classes and was lost completely in English (my best class). The people in my classes were all my friends but none of them were my good friends. Until I met my best friends and started sitting with them at lunch. We became closer and began to tell each other everything. I loved it. It was great. However, the bullying started again. The bus was an area where kids were very mean. I then went to the school about it and they didn't help. They turned it around on me and it taught me not to open my mouth about things. I was lost again.
The summer before 8th grade was very fun. I hung out with my friend group and I went to visit my dad in Dubai. On August 29th 2016, I had my world turned upside down. I was doing what I love the most, playing soccer, and I collapsed on the field. I was unconscious and unresponsive. I was taken to the local hospital. There they ruled out stroke and I was stable. I was having seizure like movements still and I was not responsive. My parents and family were so scared. I then was transferred to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. That's where doctors did more tests than you could count and came up with the conclusion and diagnosed me with Functional Neurological Disorder. They, one of the most famous children's hospital, only saw 100 cases a year. My body was reacted to stress in a physical way. I was having pseudo seizures and woke up the next day, paralyzed. The entire right side of my body was unable to move and both of my legs didn't work either. I also lost my speech. It was a very hard time. My best friends came to visit and they painted my nails (not very well). My other best friends came to visit and to our surprise, I started to walk and talk again. It was a miracle. But the same day, I relapsed and the entire ordeal happened again. I was soon transferred to a rehabilitation center and started physical, occupational, and speech therapy. I stayed there for about a month and then I started having pseudo seizures again every night lasting until morning. And then I had one episode that lasted 5 days and I was transferred back to CHOP. There is where I got a feeding tube and IV fluids. I woke up after 5 days and then I ended up going to CHOP's rehab center. I stayed there for my birthday and then I finally went home!
I stayed home for about a month and went back to school. About a month later, I went back into the hospital after an episode. I was sick and tired of being in the hospital so I went home. My parents were the strongest and I've never met anybody better. They helped me and pushed me in the wheelchair. My family is what got me through this. Over Christmas break I started walking again and talking. I eventually went back to school and had tutoring on the side. I got back into my groove.
I started gaining weight because of the lack of exercise and my self esteem was the lowest it ever was. I started a huge fight with my best friend and pushed her to her breaking point. We were no longer friends and I was again alone. I didn't have a best friend and I never went out anymore. I stayed inside and slept all of the time. The binge eating got worse. Right before summer started, I started abusing laxatives and restricting my food intake. I also started to pull my hair out. I then went to spend 5 weeks in Dubai with my dad and the change of scenery was very good for me. I lost a lot of weight the healthy way. I met my current best friend. I was so happy.
I started high school and I kept myself busy. I was playing soccer, in JROTC. I was involved in clubs. I was in all honors classes. Somehow staying busy helped because I couldn't think that much. I was so stressed that I continued to pull my hair out. One day, I got bad to the point where I couldn't hide it. I started shaving my head. I went to the doctor and tried to convince everybody my hair was just falling out. The doctor obviously found out that was that was not the case. I started cutting again and I also started having suicidal ideations. I started to get cyberbullied by an anonymous account on social media and I now know that it was a former friend of mine. I then went to the UPenn Center for Anxiety was diagnosed with dysthymia, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, trichotillomania, and a few more. I was severely depressed and my self esteem so so low I started back up with eating disorder struggles. After my meeting at UPenn, the therapist thought that the best options were residential or outpatient therapy. Outpatient was very far and my mom would have to drive everyday and stop work. I believed the best treatment plan was residential. I went to Chicago, IL to Timberline Knolls. I stayed there for 6 weeks and I met the most amazing people of my entire life. I didn't have the best experience there but it was overall a decent experience. When I got home I started going to PHP and then I started going to IOP. When I started going back to school, I began to get these anonymous messages again and one day this former friend posted an awful video on snapchat about me. It was very tough. I then came home one day from IOP and I began having bad thoughts and went to the hospital. I was admitted to inpatient care where I spent 6 days. When I came home I went to a psychiatrist and got my meds changed. I also went to a therapist which I had great hopes for. She unfortunately told me that she couldn't help me. It was a setback but my amazing mother helped me get through it and reassured me that everything will be okay.
My medicine is now working at it's full power. I feel genuinely happy most of the time. My anxiety is still a work in progress and I see a therapist twice a week. I have found very helpful coping skills (*cough* look at the blog post *cough*). I have found things that bring me joy. I am now on a meal plan to help with eating disorder related feelings. With the guidance from my mother and the rest of my family and friends. I am beyond happy to say that my recovery is at a peak right now. I still have days where I am not happy but my life is not generally unhappy. I like being alive. I want to live. I want to have a future. And the bad days just help me appreciate the good days even more. I just continue to live one day at a time.
For Anybody Struggling
I am so proud of you for making it this far. And in case nobody has told you today, you are completely worth it. You are so beautiful and kind no matter what your past or future brings. Live in the moment now. Stay strong. This won't last forever. You are strong. You are good. You are you. And you deserve the world, so don't settle for any less.