Exploring or opening up about depression, anxiety, and suicide is difficult for most, especially when we constantly see celebrities and icons disappear at their own hand.
As a teenager, I suffered from deep depression, but only my best friend at the time knew about it. Doctors dismissed it as Seasonal Effective Disorder or hormones, even though I knew something was wrong. I was constantly feeling sad, hopeless, and cried in secret. The problem escalated when I started college as an undergraduate. I wasn't stressed with work or school, but for some reason, my body would seize up in a fight or flight mode at the worst times. I couldn't eat anything, sleep was my only escape, and I lost 15 pounds in a month.
At one point, I even thought about dropping out of classes. After receiving treatment, both through extensive therapy and low-dose, non-addicting medication, I've not only learned how to understand my emotions and needs, but created relaxing methods of coping.
Writing is a form of meditation and magick. I practice creative writing like a sacred ritual, not only because it is a form of healing, but it is my way of connecting with the universal spirit and the magickal forces of the earth. I have to shower, have plenty of water on hand, and make sure I have the proper nutrients as well because it is a mentally daunting yet detoxifying process. My first novel, Poet Tongue, which is in the process of editing and re-writing, involves the teen main character having OCD, anxiety, and severe depression.
As a young adult author, I've had the pleasure of networking with other YA authors who have different writing styles and messages they wish to spread to youth, including: body image/perception, LGBT Rights, relationship issues, environmental issues, and many more. My goal as a young adult author is to spread awareness for mental health and to reach out to teens who suffered like myself and tell them, "I know it's hard. It sucks, especially high school. You may need help and it's okay. It doesn't mean you are crazy and you shouldn't hide how you feel. Everyone suffers from some type of mental illness."
While we lost two celebrities/icons this week, one that hit me the hardest was Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, who died July 20, 2017. As a teenager, music was a way for me to understand my emotions, and the growling, screaming, heavy chords of rock and other sub genres expressed what I could not. Honestly, the band helped me in some of my most difficult times. It is so sad that one of my teen idols took his life, and sometimes when I listen to their music, I am still in shock over it.
If you are a teen or even an adult suffering in silence, voice your thoughts, make them loud, and don't be embarrassed to seek professional help. Don't let people dismiss your feelings when you know something is wrong. While I was going to therapy, I had family members tell me to keep it quiet, but I didn't listen. Today, I am opening up about my journey through mental illness, hoping it will inspire someone else to heal their own mentality.
Here it is: My name is Kyla Stan. I suffered from anxiety and depression. I healed and continue to heal through writing and inspiring others.
What is your story?