As I look back on my life, my battle with mental health started young. My father was killed when I was six years old, triggering the life-long battle I would be fighting with others and myself.
Throughout grade school, my teachers deemed me a “mature child,” probably because my childhood was ripped away from me like that. At six years old, I became an adult. My mental health issues never arose as a kid, aside from the atypical anxiety and abandonment issues. When I was 13, signs of depression slowly started to emerge. At 14, signs of anorexia emerged.
At 14, I was diagnosed with major depression and an anxiety disorder, as well as bordering on anorexia nervosa. I was put on my first, of many anti-depressants and was sent to see a psychologist. At 14, I nosedived into a deep depression, yet still managed to maintain a 90 average. Shortly before I turned 15, I was uttering the words that I was suicidal and wanted to die. That’s when my ass got hauled off to the children’s emergency, while being screamed at.
I was released within 3 hours, indirectly being told I was “being a teenager.” After this, I went from one extreme to the next. Not being borderline anorexic anymore, I packed on 120 pounds. On my 16th birthday, my psychologist terminated me as a patient because I was “too much to handle.” I took that and ran. I lost 67 pounds, was happy, medication and therapy free for 6 months. By the time I hit 17, I regained those 60 pounds plus some. I spent a lot of time trying to find the proper medication for me. I was put on Wellbutrin, until I started hallucinating, was taken off that and put back onto a high dose of Zoloft.
My final year of high school, things dove horribly. I started burning bridges with everyone, my teachers that once loved me and my determination for education were getting really annoyed with me. They were also concerned that I was “lifeless.” I lost it one day, threatening to kill one of my teachers. That earned me a nice suspension and at 17 I got grounded for a week or so. I was told I was “beyond fucked up, that I’ll be that kid they talk about for having to be in the crazy hospital” by family.
That subsided after a while, and then 3 weeks before I graduation, my aunt and uncle (my father’s brother) were killed, the same way my father was. I thought I dealt with the deaths when they happened, but I was very wrong. I came to Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) in September 2012, thinking I was going to rock my degree and time there. By December 2012, I failed four out of five classes, got horribly depressed, and started doing something I thought I would never do: cutting myself.
Again, for the second time in 4 years, I was truly suicidal. Some officials at the university went against rules and contacted my mother, even though I was at home when I said that. I was told I was not going back to Newfoundland, and with some convincing, I listened. I got on stronger medication, started seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist at the university. By the end of the winter semester, my grades came up drastically, and I was once again doing fine.
I came back to MUN in September 2013, excited and energized to have a great year. It started off well, I was having a better time academically and socially, but by November, things changed. I had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder earlier in the year, and had been educating myself about it; therefore I knew what was causing issues. I started fighting with EVERYONE, to the point that no one could stand to be around me. I was alone fighting this, I had started spiraling out of control again and was going into a deep depression, and the residence life staff knew this.
For months, they watched me drastically deteriorate. By January, they were in my room everyday responding to psychiatric crisis. Within 3 months, I had been to the emergency room 11 times. By February, everyone had had enough, and was forced to sign a behaviour contract. After I did that, I fell to the floor sobbing in the stairwell, and kept screaming for someone to kill me. I was dragged to the Waterford, where I was admitted for the night and was put on an anti-psychotic and a higher dosage of my anti-depressant.
I recovered quickly with the medication, and by the end of March, I wrote a Mental Health Proposal to go to the university, started a mental health society on campus, had a mental health panel, and continued to volunteer with Partners for Mental Health. I wouldn’t say that I am recovered, nor partially recovered. I am stabilized until I can get proper care, however long that will take. As hard as my journey has been, I’m still here, still fighting, and I will not give up.
Meaghan is a 20-year-old female, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, currently living in St. John’s, Newfoundland, while studying nursing at MUN.