Daily, I get emails from teens, young adults, and their parents about their journey with mental health. (You can check them out here on our How To Overcome Anxiety stores of hope and help area, and you can share yours here). Here’s a post submitted from one of our readers, who shows us the power of true courage of teens dealing with mental health issues and the immense impact that a parent can make when things seem hopeless:
I used to suffer from depression but I finally got over it last year thanks to my mom. If I hadn’t trusted her enough to tell her about my problems, I don’t know where I’d be.
I guess I got out of it because someone like my mom was around to help. She told me that if there is anything bothering me, I should go up to her straight away about it no matter how busy she is.
She guided me and persuaded me to think positively. She said: “Mickey, you’re a smart girl. You know being depressed or hurting yourself won’t make things better. The problems in your life will come at you harder than it does at most people because you make yourself feel…weak. There are so many things out there that can make you happy. You just have to be brave enough to go out there and see. You have to convince yourself you’re a strong person.”
I told her about how I just didn’t seem to fit in at my school and I got constantly bullied, though the bullies had greatly minimized to one person, her blows were harder than all the others I had in the past put together. And I felt like I had to change to fit in, but I was stubborn and I didn’t want to, but I felt like I was becoming something I didn’t want to be and it scared me.
She told me that what people said about me shouldn’t matter and I realized that if I wanted to change, I should change to be better, not into those snobby girls who didn’t appreciate anyone or anything for who or what they were. Then she told me about willpower. She told me if I truly had the will to do anything, nothing but God could stop me. She said I should have the will to be happy again and focus on the good side of life. I should do what makes me happy and that there were so many things to be thankful for and I felt ashamed for being so ungrateful and thinking I had the worst of whatever life gave me and didn’t do things that made me happy because people thought it was lame, like writing. She told me that if I had the willpower to be happy, I will be happy. And I did. And no one could stop me.
During that time, things got worse when my bully realised I was starting to act more cheerful around people and I was more social. She embarrassed me badly in front of everyone, spread rumours, all kinds of stuff. And it wasn’t just the bullying. There was a lot more that had happened to me over the years which make my parents really protective of me, more than any parent should be. I was afraid I might fall into depression again, and I hated depression. I hated how it made me addicted to it and made me feel weak and worthless. No one was worthless. I mattered to someone, even if it was just my parents. Everyone matters to someone.
I acted smart about the bullying case and it stopped a few months before I left for another school that had better education than my previous one.
I further discussed about willpower with my mom. She said that most cancer patients survived just because they had the will to live. 80% of the cure is willpower. Not only cancer patients, but others as well. My mom reminded me that I hardly got sick as a kid, and even if I did, I recovered so quickly it surprised her all the time. She said it was because I was always telling myself that I’m going to be okay soon and that I will go to the park to see my friends. I will be alright. It’s just a fever, it won’t kill if I run around a bit. I had willpower.
She told me that when I was born, I wasn’t supposed to survive. I took longer than expected and the doctors said I couldn’t make it. Mom had prayed and prayed to God that I, her first child, come out alive. Then something happened. My health started getting better and I came out really healthy, and the doctors couldn’t believe it, though they did notice disturbances in my health in the womb, how it would worsen and then get better. They thought it had something to do with my mom and her deternination to keep me alive. I was crying so hard when I came. She said it sounded a lot more like screaming and shrieking than crying. She held me and I calmed down and she said I opened my eyes and immediately went back to sleep. She freaked out and the doctors took me away but I was fine. She said that she felt like I was fighting to live even before birth. She said I was born a warrior and that she wanted me to strong and be the warrior I had come as to Earth. That cheered me up a lot. I bet she made it up a bit but it worked.
She told me that whenever I thought positively, my brain released hormones and boosted my immune system because my positive thinking motivated it to heal quickly.
She gave me an example of my grandma. God bless her, she is the strongest person I have ever known. Even with her ailing health and rusty bones, she still got up and moved around. She was independent. She never let the pain in her bones bother her. ‘It’s going to go away soon, anyway. I always forget about it’, she thinks. My mom and her siblings could never tell if my grandma fell sick or not, because when she did, it wouldn’t look like it and by the time they find out about it, it was nearly gone.
Two weeks ago, my grandma got a pralysis heart attack and my mom flew straight to her the next evening. My grandma was in a bad shape and it seemed like she had given up. She could hardly move and certain parts of her body were paralysed for a while. Then she heard that my mom and siblings were flying out of where they lived and coming to meet her and she started to get better all of a sudden and made amazing progress. She said she wanted to be in good health and condition by the time all her children reached her. She’s really, really old and her strength will never stop surprising and inspiring me.
My mom told me that even research proves how powerful the mind is over body, especially willpower. My grandma proved it.
When life knocked me down and I felt like I didn’t want to get up because I was afraid it would happen again, I’d shake my head and get back up. Some time during my recovery from depression, I had convinced myself that all my flaws and insecurities I kept being reminded of, all the time I felt like lying down and not getting back up, all the time I felt like hurting myself (I never self-harmed, though) and cry myself to sleep, it was the demons inside whispering, wanting to take control over my body, wanting to take control over me. I wouldn’t let it.
I’m a stubborn girl who never wants to change, and even if I did, I’d change to be a better person. I’m a strong girl who no one can mess with if they tried because they don’t know me. If what they say isn’t true, it won’t affect me. Even if I did something bad, I’d apologise, repent, move on and never do it again. I was born a warrior and I will be one until the end of time. And no matter how hard life gets, I won’t hurt myself or others and try to be an example for everyone who’s suffering out there, everyone who’s fighting, all those warriors. Just like my mother and grandma.
I found things to do that I love and have met so many amazing people and I feel blessed. I have found reasons worth living for and being happy and no one is going to keep me away from them.
I have convinced myself to be a strong person and intend to stay that way. My parents are relieved about it and they trust that I am capable of taking care of myself. I won’t tell the world everything I’ve been through because I promised my mom not to tell anybody about my past because she’s afraid someone will use that information against me, even twist it into something that never happened. Believe me, I know a lot of people in my life who do that. Plus, this is the internet…
This is my story…and I’m still living it. I’m thankful for everything I have and the guidance my mom provided me. I just wish that other teens out there would trust their parents or another adult enough to let them help them fight their demons that keep pulling them down towards the dark side. And when they leave this world, they leave with dignity and respect. They leave as warriors.