Stigma Fighters Teen

A place where voices are heard

Kelley: My Story

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6 years old and screaming for my daddy in the middle of the night because I’m having another nightmare.

8 years old and I’m having nightmares about Her constantly. She’s chasing me in every nightmare. I think she’s trying to kill me.

14 years old and I want to cut because I feel useless and trapped.

16 years old and my thoughts are becoming more and more suicidal.

I’ve had depression for about three years now. The anxiety’s been around for awhile longer. (As evident by the intense nightmares I experienced for years as a young child.) Living with these things means that I wear many masks with many different people, because hiding is the only way to stay safe from their questions. Because wearing my happy mask means they believe me when I say “I’m okay. It’s just been a long week.” I know lying is bad, but I’ve become so accustomed to it, I’m afraid what will happen when I tell the truth; when I say “No, actually. I’m not doing so well today.”

Wearing the masks doesn’t mean the flashbacks and anxiety aren’t still there. They are, and no one can help that. I can’t help that. That’s why the masks are here, to help me pretend that everything’s okay and trick nearly everyone else into believing the same.  (Sometimes I wonder if the masks just make things worse, though.)

There’s only one person in my life that I’m open with. They’re the only one I trust completely. They know about everything: The anxiety, the past trauma, the depression… And to be honest, they’re part of the reason I’m still alive and cut-free. Because they care about me, listen to me and help me get through the tough shit. It’s scary to think where I’d be today without that one special person. (Because I know where I’d be. I wouldn’t be feeling, much less breathing.)

But meanwhile, I will continue to lie to everyone else, because I’m afraid of what they might say if they knew the truth. And it’s easier to hide than to risk letting people know the truth and have them use it against me. There’s so much stigma around depression, anxiety, and so many other mental illnesses. Even in my own family, where depression is common (and I have a relative that’s possibly suffering from schizophrenia), it’s still not entirely understood by everyone. Sure, most of us are there for each other when we need it, but not everyone understands why X person is depressed or suicidal.

I wish things were different. That those of us suffering didn’t have to hide for fear of ostracization and judgment. Maybe one day, more of us can speak out and help fight the stigma. Because things do need to change, if only for the sake of reducing shame and saving more lives.

(To everyone reading this: Please remember you are loved. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes. I still struggle with feeling worthy of love. But you are a human being, a breathing, living human being with hopes and dreams and you deserve to have an amazing life. Your mental illness/illnesses is a part of you, but it isn’t all of you. Your mental illness doesn’t make you a bad person. You’re still pretty damn amazing. My Twitter DMs (@nanogeekette) are always open if you need a random internet stranger to confide in. <3)


About Kelley:

I’m a badass, sixteen year old queer (bisexual-ish?) pixie. Dancing and writing are my two favorite artistic passions, and I hope that I can continue pursuing them for a long time. When I’m not in the studio or working on my blog, I’m babysitting my siblings and spending a lot (read: probably too much) time on Twitter.


Twitter: @nanogeekette

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