My name is Jessica Victoria and I am 22 years old. I am from Ontario, Canada. I live with depression and anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed with both when I was 15.
I denied my anxiety for the longest time because I had the wrong idea of what it was. I thought people with anxiety were always extremely scared, overwhelmed, and freaked out. I wasn’t any of those, in fact, I was the opposite. I had to re-educate myself before I accepted that I had anxiety. My anxiety is mild most of the time. I do have anxiety attacks from time to time but I have my ways of controlling it.
For a while, I was not confident with my depression diagnosis either. I am generally a positive, motivated person, who struggles with major depressive episodes. I get depressed for periods of times randomly. I can go from extremely happy and motivated to extremely depressed and suicidal. I can go from being happily in recovery and doing really well to relapsing or self-harming. It can either change overtime or instantly. It can last a few days, weeks, or even months.
It gets so scary because it’s unpredictable. I know its coming but for some reason, I can’t stop it. Sometimes I rather be depressed all the time. Not only is it scary, but it’s also exhausting and frustrating. Imagine making so much progress to lose it the next minute.
I have been through some dark times. I have self-harmed. I have gone to the hospital for severe thoughts of suicide and have even attempted it once. Those are such scary things to experience. It’s a really really horrible, dark place to be in. You have no hope. You hate your life and everything in it. You want to end the suffering and disappear. No one feels worse than you. No one understands you. You feel alone. You’re scared for your life.
I’m still here because I am a fighter. Whenever I’m feeling severely depressed, to the point where the thought of ending my life slips my mind once or twice, I fight my hardest. I don’t give up. I get help right away. Why do I fight? Because I honestly love life and am generally a positive, motivated person.
A lot has helped me stay strong and get to where I am today. Demi Lovato is my biggest inspiration. She has not only helped me stay strong, but motivated me to be an advocate for myself and others. When I met her, I made a promise to her to stay strong and to never give up. Although I have had weak days since, she and that promise is one of the reasons that I was able to get back up on my feet. She is so strong and is getting more and more confident every day, and I admire her for that.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my friends. They make me happy. They make me laugh. They are there for me if I need them.
Most of the time, I am able to take care of myself. I see a counsellor, take medication, exercise, and set short-term and long-term goals for myself and much more. I know a lot of people are not strong enough to do these things, so I am fortunate that I have the motivation to make myself feel better.
I also educate myself on mental health. I have self-help books. I take classes. I connect with people who struggle with the same type of disorders. I listen to Demi speak about mental health. I learn about different strategies, coping skills, beliefs etc. With the knowledge that I have, I am better able to understand my disorders and what I need to do to help myself. I believe education can make a huge difference. There are thousands of resources out there for people who want to learn more about mental health.
Today, I feel great. I continue to work with counselors and continue to educate myself. One day I hope to educate and inspire people through my writing, which is one of the reasons I took Journalism in college. I started this blog after I met Demi. I figured I can use my promise that I made to her to help others as well as myself. I hope that the experiences that I write about can help others in one way or another. I am able to use my experiences and knowledge to help other people. I’ve helped strangers get through rough times and that is an amazing feeling. If I can help one person by sharing my story, it’s all worth it to me.
In Canada, one out of five people struggle with a mental illness. Many don’t get the help that they need and deserve. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. You deserve to get better and feel happy. I know what it’s like to be in a dark place where you feel like giving up and that there’s no hope, and it pains me to know that there are millions of people feeling like that every day. There is hope, even when it feels like there’s none. Please hang in there. I know it’s hard, it takes time and effort but it’s worth it. Recovery IS possible. Happiness IS possible. It CAN get better. It IS possible to get to a place in your life where you feel better.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Thank you for those who have helped me get to where I am today.