I don’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle with my mental health. As a child, it was separation and anxiety. I began therapy in elementary school. It helped a bit but made no lasting progress. I returned to therapy in middle school and was started on antidepressants shortly afterward.
I also discovered my career path, therapy. I wanted nothing more than to help those like me feel less alone. That is how I’ve always felt, broken and alone. I survived high school and even went off to college. But after the first year, things went downhill. I was diagnosed with depression. Therapy, medication changes, recovery.
I changed a lot throughout college. Struggling with my identity and sense of self. I engaged in dangerous, self-sabotaging behaviors, and desperately sought approval. I couldn’t seem to understand the whirlwind of emotions I felt instead. Nevertheless, I survived college. I graduated a year early and got accepted into graduate school. I was on a high. Then came the low. Self-mutilation, dropping out of school and working way too much. I attempted suicide twice.
Finally, it clicked. I couldn’t continue to suffer like this. I sought therapy and intensive treatment. I also received my first formal diagnosis. It came back as Anxiety, Depression, and to my surprise Borderline Personality Disorder. I was hurt and shocked. I knew the stereotypes and I didn’t want to be ’that.’
However, it didn’t take me long to recognize my second chance. For once aspects of myself that I felt but could never name, were validated. Slowly, I began to recover. I went back to nannying and started to regain a sense of normality.
I returned to school and excelled. Yet, that year I was so unhappy. My relationships became distant and I lost touch with myself. Finally, I recognized what I had been doing. I was sacrificing my identity for a career. I saw my future of stress and unhappiness. Taking it out on my relationship and future family. I understood what needed to change.
I left school. I decided not to become a therapist, and instead, I became Ashley. Now, I write, paint, and nanny. I still want to satisfy my childhood desire to help others feel less alone. I’m on a path of recovery and self-acceptance and blogging about it on the way. This is my story.