The Student News Site of Bridgewater College

Photo courtesy of Alicia McCarthy

Alicia’s Mental Health Story

I had a life like most other teenagers, I went to school, played on a sports team and had some friends.  Everything was fine until July 2nd 2016. On this day my family had something devastating happen to us, our house burnt to the ground.  At first I did not really think that it had affected me much and I was trying to be the strong one for people in my family.

Going through my junior year of high school I knew something was not right, but I hid it and pretended like it was not an issue.  Coming into the end of my junior year I met my boyfriend, and as you all know, they can tell everything.

During my senior year, those few things that seemed just not right seemed to get worse and worse.  I was depressed everyday, to the point where I did not talk to anyone, I didn’t hang out with my friends, I would run by myself at cross country practice just so that I could cry in private.

I was still trying to ignore this, but my boyfriend told me that either I got help or he was going to get me help.  I knew that I did need help, so I finally went to the school’s counselor and expressed my concerns. 

I wanted something in my life that I could control, so I would control my weight. 

That day I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, severe depression and even a minor eating disorder.  All of this did not sit too well with me, and I was trying to hide it from my family, my friends and everyone at school.  My minor eating disorder became worse and I got to the point where I would not eat more than 400-600 calories in a day.

I wanted something in my life that I could control, so I would control my weight.  This went on all year, along with my other issues. I hid my eating issues from almost everyone, I would not go to the cafeteria so that no one realized I did not eat, I would bring an empty lunch box so that my family thought I was eating.

Through counseling we started to realize where some of these issues came from.  I always felt like I had no control over anything in my life, in fact I still feel this way.  I was using not eating and even in times of really bad depression where someone or something else had hurt me, I would scratch at my skin and cut a few times.  This went on almost for two years.

Now I am trying to get better.  My family knows most of my battle.  I try to open up to my counselors and friends when things get bad, I take medicine for my anxiety and have an emotional support animal here at school for when things get out of control in my life.  It is still a battle that I have to face day in and day out, yes there are still days where I am so depressed where I don’t want to get out of bed, and there are some days where I feel so fat that I don’t eat, but the point is that I have realized it now and I have a system in place to fight these issues.

I think one of the biggest lessons that I have learned from all of this is to find a few people in your life that you can tell everything to so that they can catch you when things start to get bad.  I also learned that yes this will be a battle that I fight for the rest of my life, however I know that when the roller coaster goes down, it eventually has to come back up again.

No matter what you are going through in life, stay hopeful because it will get better.  Even since I have been at school I have relapsed a few times with almost everything that I stated above and I get upset and wonder why, but then I stop for a minute, pray to God about it and remember hey this roller coaster has to go back up.

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