“Ever since I can remember, I have experienced what I now know as panic attacks and anxiety. It started with myself becoming upset and crying uncontrollably for no good reason. My parents would get frustrated with me and punished me by taking my toys away. They thought it was just a bad behavior I had picked up. As this continued to occur, the outbursts became worse because I started to always fear these uncontrollable outbursts because I didn’t want to get in trouble, and this thought pattern still exists in my subconscious today.
Besides this, I had a good childhood and grew up in a wealthy and stable family. My dad was a doctor in the navy and we got to live in so many cool places, including Puerto Rico. This is where I met my abuser. I was in first and second grade when my parents hired their friends son to babysit me. He was 17 and he could be trusted because he was a family friend, right? Wrong. He sexually abused me for almost a year and I didn’t understand it, so I never told my parents. Fast forward to today, I am 23 years old and still terrified of intimacy. I have to be deep in a bottle of booze to be remotely comfortable it. So that’s where my mental health story began, with anxiety and molestation. I had a good experience in middle and high school and even into college. Eventually my mom agreed to open her mind to having me seen by a mental health practitioner. I was immediately diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder within the first 10 minutes of talking to the doctor. I felt relieved and I was s excited to start nursing school but then my world was completely shattered. Everything I knew to be true for the first 21 years of my life was about to be gone. My parents got a divorce. They expected me to be ok about it since I was an adult but it ruined me. I continued to see my doctor who now diagnosed me with situational depression. I became so depressed that I had to withdraw from every class of my first semester of nursing school. I didn’t leave my bed for days. I didn’t even care that I was missing class. I didn’t care about anything. I lost my “friends” who were only there when I wanted to go party and my boyfriend of 2 years because I “wasn’t fun anymore”. Over time, I realized that even though it wasn’t my fault that I had a mental illness, it was my responsibility to take care of it. After over a year of therapy, dozens of medication changes, self-reflection, and taking accountability, I am finally functional and feeling better. I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I have to believe that I will get there. Every day, I am one day closer to finding my true self and feeling joyful about each day. My story is more than just a series of unfortunate events, it’s an experience that has taught me valuable lessons and made me into a better version of myself.”
Thank you Hunter for sharing your story! We applaud your strength and courage.