Around the world, hands join together with love. When someone is walking through a dark tunnel alone, there is always another person waiting to give them a candle. Even when they don’t see it, they aren’t alone in the darkness. We are ghosts in other’s tunnels, unable to touch them but letting them know we are there is all we can do.
Depression and anxiety are the most commonly known mental disorders today but since we have the internet, we are given the opportunity to dig deeper into the soil of other illnesses that goes unnoticed. To let the ones who are close minded when it comes to mental health grab a shovel, I’ve had the eye-opening experience to interview multiple different teenagers who were brave enough to share their stories.
For the first person, they preferred to remain anonymous so they will be called Anon. Although she has not been completely diagnosed, Anon reveals she suffers from anxiety, insomnia, and has symptoms of schizophrenia.
It makes it hard for me to leave the house or just do basic things and it must be exhausting for my parents. I usually try to isolate but my friends do stick up with me, support me, and help me.
Anon has been dealing with insomnia and anxiety since she was a child but her parents failed to act on it. Sometime last year, she began to have hallucinations and that was the final strike. When confessing what she had been going through, she and her mother agreed to find a psychiatrist. Since then, Anon started to take medication for her disorders. Because medication can’t cure mental illnesses, she says when she feels anxious, she does breathing exercises.
Next is Taeja who struggles with depression. Not post-concert depression or just feeling sad. Depression. She felt as if there was something wrong when she simply stopped caring about anything.
It affects me, my life, and the people around me because there are some days where I can’t get out of my bed. There are some days where I cancel my plans and yell at my parents because of how stressed and sad I am. There are some days when I just can’t fall asleep because my mind won’t let me. And the worst part is, just when I think I’m getting better and passed it, it comes back. It’s a never ending cycle.
Once she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, Taeja started taking medication. When that didn’t do anything for her, she switched to a new medication, Zoloft. One way she copes with her illness is through humor. She explains, “I’ll laugh and say, ‘moody Taeja is back’.”
Bipolar Disorder isn’t talked about very much but Ky has decided to stand and let their voice be heard. They noticed unusual behaviors in themselves and that the people around them weren’t struggling with similar issues. From a young age, they would feel extremely unhappy while sitting in a room with people upbeat and filled with joy. Ky explains that they would often lie and push limits to get people to like them. Love has been a complicated matter because they believed that they’re not healthy enough to support a normal relationship. Throughout life, they have discovered their limits. With every person they meet, they continue to practice and learn how to form healthy bonds with others.
Bipolar disorder is often seen as a “roller coaster mood swings, laughing one minute and crying the next” type thing, and I suppose on some level it is. But, it also is loving people quickly and deeply, even to your own risk. It’s feeling everything about the world in bright, pure, unfiltered emotions, despite how painful that can be.
Unlike Anon and Taeja, Ky remains unmedicated for their disorder which can make it increasingly harder and more draining. Because of this, they’ve learned what their limits are such as when to isolate themselves or to cry it all out. They reveal their emotions toward their disorder, “letting myself get angry and feel the fire in my veins even while the world calls me dramatic-that makes the fight with myself less of a struggle”.
Willow has recently been developing traits of personality disorder. She explains how there’ve always been times where she desires to cut people out of her life. Even when the people hold onto a special place in her heart, she doesn’t want them to leave her first.
I do that [cut people out of my life] with my family and potential friends because I’m scared. I get irritable.
Similar to anyone who has the need to get better, Willow clarifies that usually, she will go out and buy things. She feels this gives her a sense of temporary happiness and success. When I asked how she felt about her disorder, she describes, “It’s never going to be an easy process. It’s about baby steps, always, always about the baby steps.”
Instead of simply lighting the candle to your loved one who is suffering, give it to them and walk by their side down that dark tunnel. Don’t just let people know that you’re there, be there when they need you. Do what you can to make them feel loved, valued, cherished, and like they belong. Sometimes, all we need is for someone to hold our hand.
Photo: From Affinity Magazine Media Library