I’m Courtney, a 17 year old mental health advocate. A little young to so vocal about something as serious as mental illnesses right? Wrong.
You see, I have battled nearly my whole life with depression and anxiety due to abuse I faced. While the depression started when I was younger and just didn’t know what was going on, the most notable symptoms started when I was in the 5th grade, making me 10-11 at the time. At such a young age, I was mortified of what I felt and even more mortified of telling my parents.
So I turned to books and the internet as a way to find out what was going on and why I felt how I did, because I knew it wasn’t “normal”. They gave me all kinds of answers, but none I wanted to hear.
By seventh grade, I had become suicidal, which isn’t easy for any teen to deal with, especially alone. But by this time, I had found the term depression, and more importantly, the term mental illness. And I knew, or thought, that there was no way to tell my parent’s that their kid was mentally not right. They would be ashamed, or so I thought.
The bullying, it tore me to pieces more. I started believing what others were saying about me. My sense of self worth was diminished, and I watched it happen without being able to say a word. Because I didn’t know how.
As someone who faced various forms of abuse throughout life, I grew to feel it’s what I deserved and I entered into abusive relationships, unaware of the effects they would have on me and my life.
Tenth grade year came, and by then I had attempted (luckily with no success) suicide 9 times. Some very traumatizing things happened that March of 2013, and all of my symptoms (especially anxiety related) grew worse. And finally I had had enough of battling alone. I reached out to my father and the guy who would later become my best friend.
A year later, I received the PTSD diagnosis.
PTSD has had a major effect on me and the way I live my life. From the fear of being any where, especially alone. Panic attacks and flashbacks at every turn. To this day, I still avoid the real issues and the things that happened. I avoid certain places and certain people out of fear, fear of the flashbacks and fear of what will happen to me. To this day, I don;t remember everything. I still feel guilty about things that I had no control on. I din’t make people treat me the way they did. So why should I feel to blame?
How does someone live that way?
Through hope. Through holding on to the little things. Through support of loved ones. Through finding strength in the little accomplishments.
Everyday is hard. Finding the strength to get out of bed is difficult on it’s own. But every little accomplishment brings me a sense of hope. If I can do it, so can you. So can anyone.
Because here I am. Still standing strong. Still here to fight through it all. After everything I have faced in my life, I am still here to fight another day. And I feel so lucky for that. I’m a warrior, battling battles no one else sees, and so far, I’m winning.
I learned a lot about myself and about the struggles teens and adults alike face. And I learned that words have power. Power over people and how people act. Your actions have power over others. So I use my story and my voice to help inspire others and stop the stigma around metal illnesses through my writings. No one should ever have to feel the way I did. And the term mental illness, should never make someone scared to reach out for help.
Hi! I’m Courtney, a 17 year old writer, blogger, YouTuber, and most importantly, mental health advocate. I suffer from PTSD and depression. But I found my voice in the world, and try to use it to inspire others as well as educate about mental illnesses. Find me at http://courtneysvoice.com/ or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneys_voice