"90% of children who commit suicide have a mental health condition."

   1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness every year, and only half of those affected receive treatment. Considering the fact that so many people suffer from a mental illness it is surprising that it is rarely talked about. Over one third of students ages 14-21 with a mental illness end up dropping out of school, and 90% of children who commit suicide have a mental health condition. In fact, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people ages 10-14, and the 2nd for people ages 15-24. People are losing their family and friends to suicide everyday. Don’t you think it’s time for us to speak up about mental illness so that we can treat it before it causes someone else to take their life?

"My heart dropped when the word bipolar came out of the doctor's mouth."

   

As early as the age of ten getting up in the morning has been a battle for me. Not because it was too early and I wanted to sleep in, but because the fact of having to survive another day terrified me. I dreaded every day and from the moment I woke up all I looked forward to doing was going back to sleep because life had become too hard. I was only ten years old. On my eleventh birthday when I blew out the candles I didn’t wish for a puppy or new clothes; my wish was to not wake up the next morning. After that for the next four years I would go to sleep and pray for God to take my life because I was trapped in depression. I tried everything to make myself feel something other than sadness; whether it was self-harm, starving myself, or hanging out with friends, nothing seemed to work. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I mean I had a good life. My parents were happily married, I went to a private Christian School, I had good grades, and played basketball…so why was I so depressed? In the summer of 2016, I finally told my parents about how I had been feeling and they got me the help I desperately needed. Once I started going to therapy I began to realize that how I was feeling wasn’t normal and was actually the result of Bipolar Disorder. My heart dropped when the word bipolar came out of the doctor’s mouth. I didn’t want to be apart of the crazy stereotype that is associated with the illness.

 

   * To clarify, a person that is bipolar isn’t someone that’s entitled, arrogant, and goes off on you whenever it's convenient. It’s not someone that rapidly changes between crying, being angry, and then happy. That is the stereotype. Someone that is bipolar has a severe depression due to a chemical imbalance. It consists of experiencing depressive episodes for weeks or months at a time to suddenly feeling like you’re on top of the world. Yes, I am bipolar. No, I am not the stereotype. *

" I am so much more than my illness."

    The suicidal thoughts, excessive tiredness, change in appetite, and feelings of despair finally made sense. It was amazing, yet terrifying that a small pill had the ability to fix me. A year later, I look back and thank God for that pill because He used it to cure my Bipolar Disorder. I still have bad days, but I am definitely not where I used to be. I have had to accept that I have a mental illness, but I have also learned that I am so much more than my illness.

 

   If I could go back in time, I would tell my then ten year old self to ask for help instead of suffering in silence for five years. Please, if you are experiencing any type of depression or struggling in any other way ask for help. You are too important to this world and you are here to fulfill a purpose that only you can fulfill. Do not believe the lies of the devil that are saying you are worthless, a mistake, or that peoples’ lives would be better off without you because that is the furthest thing from the truth.

"God never promised us that life would be easy; He promised it would be worth it."

   

   For anyone else that is currently or has ever fought any type of mental illness, I just want say I am proud of you and keep fighting. Use your story of how you fought and won the battle of mental illness to inspire others to keep fighting. God never promised us that life would be easy; He promised it would be worth it.

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