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Mental illness: The forbidden topic

October 12, 2010

Photo by Skye Butler

By Ashley M. Fincher, Staff Writer

In today’s society, mental illness is almost like a taboo topic. We know that mental health issues exist but we don’t like to talk about them or think about them, because we have a fear of being judged or labeled as crazy. We think that by ignoring them they will simply go away. However, in most cases, a mental health issue doesn’t just disappear; and sometimes when an illness of this nature is left untreated, it can have serious consequences.

In the fall of 2009, I was like any normal student here at Young Harris College. I had my group of friends, and we stayed up all hours of the night eating pizza and working on papers that we had procrastinated on. I always went to class and maintained a high grade-point average, while having a smile on my face. Everything seemed perfect, or at least that is what I led everyone to believe.

After laying two friends to rest and handling a mountain of personal problems I was slowly falling apart on the inside.  I started out missing classes here and there and having an occasional drink in my room. No harm done- or at least that is what I thought- until the drinking and skipping classes became habitual. Drinking every night and maybe going to three or four classes a week I still refused to admit there was a serious problem until the one night came when I decided that I no longer wanted to live.

Sitting on my bed I apologized to God and everyone for what I was about to do as I grabbed two handfuls of medication and started taking them. Good bye world, good bye pain, I said as I started slowly feeling the effects of the medication. I am sorry I wasn’t good enough for anyone and now maybe someone better can take over what I am about to leave behind.

As I was slipping in and out of consciousness that night the one thing that I remember is being taken out on a stretcher with Dr. Grady, and my best friend watching from the hallway. I wanted to say I was sorry and hug them both, but I didn’t have the strength to do it.

I awoke the next morning while I was in route to a mental health facility and wondered how I let it get this bad. How could I have tried to take my own life? I knew that I had depression issues, but I didn’t think they would ever cause me to try and take my own life.

I spent the next 72 hours in the mental health facility, where I learned that I could recover from depression. It wasn’t going to be easy, and it was going to take time; but I knew I could do it. After being released from the hospital, I withdrew from school for the remainder of the semester and began the road to recovery.

It wasn’t an easy road. In fact, learning to deal with this mental illness was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I lived to tell the tale. And it has made me a stronger person. I hope to one day dedicate my life to help others deal with mental health issues; so, if you or someone you know is dealing with a mental illness, get help. And don’t let it go untreated, because a life is a terrible thing to waste.

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