Amber, 17, Washington, US

12321147_514216955419499_1608064197254145166_n“When I was 15, I finally got to the doctors for a psychiatric evaluation. December 3rd, 2013, I was diagnosed with severe depression and severe anxiety. For the first time ever, I was put on antidepressants. Here is why I got the diagnosis I did.

It all started a very young age. The earliest memories I have are from when I was 3 or 4, and it’s a distinct memory that I wish to forget. My parents were arguing. I was sitting at the dinner table, all the while, my dad screamed at my mom, cursing like you wouldn’t believe. It only got worse when he decided it was a good idea to throw something. I remember curling up into a ball, crying hard into my hands, and shaking as if I was having a seizure. I couldn’t catch my breath. All I wanted was for it to stop. My dad’s anger still terrifies me to this day.
When I was 5, I started kindergarten. I was looking forward to finally going to school to be able to learn things and be smart. However, I wasn’t looking forward to the ridicule that came with it. From kindergarten onward to now, I have suffered from bullying. What started as being told I was stupid, fat, and ugly, soon changed to being told that I was better off dead, that nobody would care about my death, and that I should go cut myself. Their words are imprinted into my brain, causing me to have major trust issues and insecurities. This is part of what lead to my diagnosis of PTSD when I was 16.
When I was 7, I was molested by a close family member. He showed me how to pleasure myself, as well as how to pleasure him. Today, I still have flashbacks from that incident and I occasionally feel his hands on my body. Not even 1000 showers would rid me of the gross, dirty feelings that it gives me.

When I was 12, my mom got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a disorder/health issue that causes lesions to appear on the brain, making a person lose abilities and skills that they’ve always had. In simplest description, it made it hard for her to walk, hard for her to see, hard for her to drive, etc. From then on, I knew I’d have to help her with everyday things such as reading instructions, walking into the grocery store, and finding a specific button on a TV remote. This diagnosis that my mom had received put a lot of pressure on all of us.

Immediately following my mom’s diagnosis, I began to self-harm. They started as tiny scratches; nothing to really worry about and things that would easily be hidden. Today, they’re deeper, come in higher quantities, and scar much worse.
In 2014, I started seeing a counselor at my local mental health office. This helped me a lot in coming to terms with having a mental disorder. I’ve found coping skills that work for me.

During the beginning times of visiting with my counselor, I got the diagnosis of PTSD. I have recurring memories and flashbacks to previous events with the bullying and molestation. I’m haunted by the memories. So it only makes sense. However, my counselor has found ways to make it easier to manage.

April 17th, 2015, I was put into a mental hospital in Kirkland, Washington was known as Fairfax. Being put in Fairfax was supposed to help me, but instead showed me more ways to hurt myself and made me fall deeper into my depression. However, I wanted so desperately to get out that I acted like I was better. They got my meds straightened out and allowed me to leave after a week of acting.

I could go on and on about all my different memories, but this would be a novel. So instead, I’ll leave you with this. Amongst all my memories, I’ve attempted suicide 12 times. Each of those attempts has made me stronger, forming me into the person I am today.
I still have a lot more work that needs to be done and I still need more help, and that’s what I’m currently doing. I’m taking the time to work on myself, love myself for how I am, and find what works best for me.

I know the journey is very hard, but I will try to complete the journey ahead. I just need to remember to stay strong and never give up.”

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