Looking back now, I know that mental health has always been a factor in my life, but I
was just choosing to ignore it. Looking back now, I know that my journey with mental
health began around the eighth grade, but I decided to deny it. Being the straight A
student that I was, alongside facing both academic and social pressures, I refused to
accept what I thought was the ‘weaker’ side of me. I was obsessed with having everyone
perceive me as being the perfect student, perfect friend, and everything else in between.
As long as other people considered me to be perfect, I thought that I would be okay.
Unfortunately, however, one can only silence their mental health for so long, until they
are forced to listen, when the act of ignorance is overwritten.
Upon coming to university, I thought that any barriers I had previously faced were
magically going to disappear. I thought that by moving across the country, I would
be able to have a fresh start; repair whatever had been broken in the past. But,
unfortunately, mental health is not something that gets left behind, no matter how
hard one may try. Mental health cannot be ignored; If silenced, it will roar louder
than you could have ever imagined.
It was just over a month into university for me, until the repercussions of silencing
my mental health hit harder than I could have possibly prepared for. Suddenly,
those pressures that I avidly veered away from in high school, were coming at me
will full force. In fact, they were coming at me faster than I could outrun, and I
suddenly found myself in awoken in a hospital bed by my mom, all because I refused
to listen to the blatant abnormalities occurring within my thoughts and actions.
The initial diagnosis was major depressive disorder, of which they treated with
intense Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and the beginning of an anti-
depressant game of trial and error.
In what seemed almost instantaneous, my mental health went from being self-
defecating to manic. I was convinced that because I felt happy for the first time in
what seemed like an eternity, this world was my oyster. Unfortunately, when this

manic state is disturbed, a whole other beast is unleashed; the next chapter in my
story of mental health, had be written faster than I could process.
This chapter, was called Bipolar II disorder.
After countless trial and errors with medication, I have finally come across one that
seems to be stabilizing my mood better than any other ones before. The journey to
finding the appropriate medications, however, have only been one step to recovery.
I also meet with a psychiatrist bi-weekly, have two different doctors that monitor
me regularly, and have and will continue to take CBT workshops to understand my
disorder and how-to identify and manage my irregular moods.
Looking back now, I know that mental health has always been a factor in my life, but I
was just choosing to ignore it. I only began listening and respecting my mental health,
when it no longer allowed me to ignore it. I now know that mental health is nothing to
be ashamed of; Rather, mental health is something that needs to be honored. Mental
health is a part of you to take pride in. I denied my mental health, because I was
ashamed and apprehensive as to what others might think; that others would no longer
perceive me as being perfect. But, completely contrary to this delusion, accepting and
managing my mental health was the bravest, most exceptional thing I could have done.
When I accepted my mental health, everyone immediately accepted me. My doctors, my
psychiatrist, my family, friends, but most importantly, myself. After reaching out to my
loved ones, the support and encouragement I received was truly something more
powerful than I can put into words. Alongside accepting the support of my loved ones,
the combination of appropriate medications and therapy have truly changed my life.
They gave me a reason to honor, respect, and value my life again. Taking action and
care of my mental health gave me a reason to be excited about the future again. It
liberated me from the darkness I was refusing to come out of.
My story has by no means come to an end, but it did teach me that mental health is
something to take seriously and not to set aside. No matter how severe or minor you
perceive it to be, it NEEDS to be acknowledged. Do not ignore it, because it is
powerful enough to force you to listen, and it deserves to be heard. Reach out to
loved ones, mental health hot-lines, school supports, community resources, or your
doctor immediately. HONOR your brain chemistry and take pride in your mental
health, because by listening to the signs that your mental health is offering, you are
un-silencing a voice that deserves to be heard.