When I open up to my friends about my mental illness, the first question they often ask is “When did it start?” The truth is I don’t know. Did it start when I was seven years old and cried to my mom about going to school? Did it start that night in sixth grade when I didn’t want to go on a school trip so I took a whole bottle of melatonin? Maybe it started when I used to lock myself in the bathroom, crying for hours until eventually picking at my skin with a nail clipper. If any of those is when it started, then it started way before I was twelve.
While crying about going to school, I secretly hoped for a car accident. I would fantasize about death in ways that no little girl should. In ways that no one should. I remember thinking, “Will it ever get better?”
Searching for Why
I used to search for excuses to why I felt so bad when by most of the typical standards, I had a“perfect” life. At the age of twelve – when my mom got sick with cancer – I thought maybe this is why I’m sad. I forgot about all my pasts and believed this is it. Then she got better, but I was still sad. Nothing made sense.
When I was twelve or thirteen, I started group therapy. The other girls and my therapist used to mention the possibility of admitting myself to the hospital and my therapist even suggested it to me a few times when I was at my low points. The funny thing is what stopped me from taking the help I needed for so long was the fear of what my friends will think when I disappear from the world for a bit. Though I was sick from a very young age, I was only first hospitalized when I was about fourteen.
For so long, I pushed help away and thought I could do this on my own. Lots of therapists, two therapeutic schools, nine hospitalizations, and over thirty ER visits later – I can finally say I’m where I need to be. I no longer worry about what others will think if I miss a few days of school; I put my needs first. Today, I’m almost done with high school, plan to study at a seminary in Israel next year, and am an aunt to an amazing little boy. I did it. I did everything I thought I couldn’t do and will continue to amaze myself and everyone on my side.
Thinking back to that scared little girl crying on her way to school and fantasizing of death, I can look her straight in the eyes and tell her, “Yes, it will get better.”
I may not know exactly when my struggles started, but I know they have ended. While, of course, they’ll always be a part of me, I have it under control now.
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5 Comments on “Making Sense of My Story”
oh my. You are so so inspiring. I admire your courage, strength, and your perseverance you have, together with the way you can talk about how far you’v gotten. I am taking every word of your article with me to put into my savings bag of strength, on my journey through anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Thank you for sharing courage and energy to others. This is especially true – because it is so much more so strengthening to read from someone who gets it, knows it, and who truly lived it for so so long.
Thanks for sharing Tamara
WOW!! Tamara you are beyond amazing!!! Your strength, courage, hope, belief and fight that you have is so inspiring!! Keep Dreaming Big!! Keep up all that your doing!! And most of all keep being the awesome and heroic YOU that YOU are!!! You got this Girl!!!
Amazing Tamara. Sharing your story I know will be the help that someone out there will need. Maybe this has been your destiny all along. Bless you.
Very inspiring Tamara, I myself had struggles and learned and still learning to cope, keep positive thoughts and positive people around you. Love yourself is what is important! Life is not easy but we learn to work through our feelings. Keep up the good work, stay focused & positive on life. You have a lot of people who care about you here.