My Battle With Mental Health

By: Justin Rentie

Justin Rentie
Oct 15, 2018 · 26 min read

If you would like to read this story in Spanish you can do so here. Thank you to Invierno en los Ojos for translating for me.

Chapters:


Introduction

Today I woke up feeling full of energy, happy, and grateful for the things I have in my life. This hasn’t always been how my mornings start, in fact this is very unusual for me. Waking up with motivation and excitement for the day is a sensation that I am still getting used to.

For whatever reason, when I was jamming to some smooth jazz in the shower this morning, I became very aware of how happy I was feeling, and in that moment realized that I wanted to share my story. I have fought and struggled to get to this place in my life and the fight is no where close to being over. Something that always helped guide me in moments of darkness and despair was hearing other people’s stories.

When you are fighting the uphill battle that is depression and/or anxiety it is easy to get into a mindset that you are alone in your thoughts and emotions. In the past I have been convinced that everyone around me was happy, and I was weird because I wasn’t. I was different, I thought, but it was never true. I began finding resources online of other people struggling with similar issues as mine. I found TED talks, articles, vlogs, podcasts, etc. Every time I heard another person’s story I was able to slowly recognize that I am not alone in this. Many, many people suffer from the same thoughts and feelings that I too was suffering from. It was even more surprising to learn that people close to me experienced similar feelings, to know I really wasn’t alone.

Not only did hearing other people’s stories help remind me that I am not alone in my experiences, but hearing the stories about people who got better was very reassuring. Each story was a sort of glimpse of the light at the end of my tunnel. It seemed impossible to feel any different from the way I was feeling in those moments, but these stories were proof that it was possible.

“It feels important for me to share this message. Things can get better; you just have to fight for it.”

As I’ve progressed on my journey towards improving my mental health, I have become more aware of those who might be struggling around me. Recently I have noticed individuals in my life who are dealing with their own personal struggles and the best way I have been able to help is through sharing with them my own experiences similar to theirs. It’s helpful to know you aren’t crazy and you aren’t alone. It always helps to know that others out there have gone through similar struggles and made it through them. Being able to connect with another person’s thoughts and feelings with empathy is, in my experience, one of the best ways to help myself and to help others.

It is for these reasons that I felt the sudden urge this morning to share my story. This is not my way of unloading my baggage onto the world, or asking for pity, or even asking for praise that I got better. What I am about to share is extremely private, and requires a level of vulnerability I have not shown before, but I want others out there, whether it be friends, family, or complete strangers, to know that you are not alone. It feels important for me to share this message. Things can get better; you just have to fight for it. This is my story.

*Throughout this posting I offer a lot of advice and give my opinions on sensitive issues. I have no qualifications, these are just my opinions told from my personal experience.


I. Early Signs

Growing up I was a highly neurotic child, and boy was it apparent. I would experience and express my emotions very deeply. I would cry a lot over the slightest things. I threw many temper tantrums that could get very aggressive. It didn’t take much for my mood to change from one state to another. I’ve also read elsewhere that anxiety in children can manifest itself into night terrors. I don’t know the validity of this concept, but I would spend most nights sleeping on my parents floor for fear of being murdered in my sleep. None of these behaviors seemed too out of the ordinary for a typical child, but in retrospect it may have been early signs of what my future held.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that things really started to get weird in regards to my mental perceptions. I enjoyed high school. I was very involved in the arts (band, choir, theater) and from these hobbies I had many friends who loved and supported me. I was seventeen my senior year of high school. Often times mental health issues become apparent when entering your young adult life. I believe this was true for me.

Marching band was (and still is) one of my favorite extracurricular actives, but something felt very off going into marching band season my senior year. I felt frustrated with the people in my band, and I genuinely was not enjoying marching and playing my instrument. I was part of the leadership for my band, and honestly I couldn’t care less whether people were succeeding or not.

“I couldn’t make real sense of things actually taking place around me.”

It started with band, but then my lack of interest in things I used to enjoy spread to most areas of my life. This was the first obvious sign that things were not normal. I remember coming to my band teacher my senior year to apologize for my behavior and ended up crying to him expressing how I didn’t understand why I was acting the way I was. He seemed just as confused as I was at this response. I then went down by the river and continued to cry for an hour.

I also became increasingly easy to irritate, which as I have mentioned above as already being an issue. My closest friends began to drive me up a wall. I stopped eating lunch with my usual friends because their genuine light-hearted attitudes were beginning to make me angry for some reason. “Why do they act so dumb sometimes?”, I would think to myself. In reality these were the most important and best people I had in my life at the time, yet my mind was distorting things to the point that I wanted to get away from my closest friends.

I now understand that these were obvious symptoms of oncoming depression. When you are depressed your mind can distort reality in extreme ways. Things that seem so obvious to the healthy mind are far from the truth for a person who suffers from depression, and vice versa. Things that were clearly not true to reality suddenly were believed to be true to me. I couldn’t make real sense of things actually taking place around me.


II. A Time of Great Change

At the time I believed all of these things stemmed from the fact that so much was changing dramatically in my life. I was becoming an independent adult, I was gearing up to leave my home town for college, and the most significant change in my life was admitting to myself, and to others, my sexuality. I came out as gay to a few of my closest friends in the winter of my senior year. Upon learning that one of these friends had shared this information with others I grew fearful and went back into the closet until the end of senior year. I decided to ask a boy to prom (a boy who had inspired me to come out in the first place) and it was around that dance that I was able to finally come out publicly to those around me… which included my family.

I come from an extremely conservative background, so I was initially shocked at the response from my family. At first they were accepting and they expressed love for me regardless, but issues arose going into that summer after high school. There were a few blow outs with my mother, and I had to deal with the presence of ignorance my relatives had in dealing with a gay person in the family. While things have continued to improve over time, that summer was the roughest in dealing with my family.

Outside of the house I was beginning to get curious about alcohol. I began drinking over the summer between high school and college, because I had wanted to have an understanding of how to drink before being thrown into that environment in college. I wasn’t just drinking, though, I was getting drunk every time I drank. As I know now, all this binge drinking was probably a way of escaping from my issues as well as damaging the already fragile state of my mind. If there is one thing I’ve learned best from my fight against depression, it is that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is one of the worst things you can do for an unhealthy mind.

On top of everything, I experienced my first romantic relationship with another man. It is weird having any sort of romantic experiences for the first time at eighteen. Unfortunately, this relationship ended up getting very messy and did not help my oncoming depression, especially when piled on top of all the other changes happening in my life.


III. College

After one of the most emotionally taxing summers of my life, I was headed off to college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. I could not be more excited. Here was an opportunity to put all this drama behind me, to begin anew, and to escape my issues for good. This was what I had imagined, and I was entirely wrong.

It came as an unpleasant shock that being in an entirely new environment, with no real friends, and no established support systems, surprisingly does not help a depressed person. (I hope you can sense the sarcasm.) During the first three months of college was probably the first time I experienced being truly depressed. I was surrounded by a lot of really great people, but it’s hard to try and recreate tight bonds with people and it takes a long time for it to happen. I felt incredibly alone, and the new stresses of what college coursework actually looked like was more than I had prepared myself for. I was always a pretty nervous person but college is where my anxiety really started to grow. I was also in the college drinking environment. Again, the amount of alcohol I was consuming on the average weekend was not helping in any way.

“Therapy takes a lot of hard work, and understanding, to make real differences in your life.”

I remember that Robin Williams had committed suicide just a few weeks before I left for college, and in an odd way may have been one of the events that may have saved my life. This tragedy got the country talking about mental health in ways I had never experienced before. Everyone couldn’t believe that this quirky, happy, funny, man who brought so many people joy in his life, could have been suffering so deeply. I saw myself in Robin Williams. I too hid my emotions through a veil of humor. To others I probably seemed just as happy and funny as Robin Williams once was, but similar to the talented actor I was suffering inside. Because of Robin Williams I was able to recognize what was going on. I decided that I should seek help.

C.S.U. has a fantastic health network that provides five free therapy sessions each semester, as well as 24/7 on call support (970) 491–6053. I had never gone to therapy, but hoped that this would solve whatever was going wrong. I quickly learned that therapy takes a lot of hard work, and understanding, to make real differences in your life. It also requires having a good therapist that works for you. Throughout college I have worked with three separate therapists and only the last one made any real impact. If your therapist isn’t working for you do not feel bad for seeking out another one. When it comes to mental health you need to find whatever works for you, and they will understand this.

Needless to say therapy didn’t do a whole lot for me the first time around. Obviously my therapist was doing her best, it just wasn’t working. Honestly, I don’t think I was ready to make the commitment to fixing my problems either, so I take some responsibility in therapy not working in the past. Eventually I managed to pull myself out of my funk about midway through the second semester of college. I thought I had beat it. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the last time I had to struggle through this.


IV. The Pit

I‘m not about to retell every detail of my college career, but I want to cover some major changes in my mood that I experienced throughout the past four years. As I sit here writing, I am recognizing that whole sections of college are missing from my memory, and it’s mostly due to chunks of time when my depression really hit hard. Honestly, when I go through long spells of depression it can best be described as being in a deep dark pit that feels impossible to climb out of. Every sensation, every emotion, every thought has a thin layer of darkness over it. It literally feels like the world loses it’s color.

My first semester of college was just a small taste of what true depression can look like. As time went on, every time I would experience a period of depression it would get worse. I went a long time after Freshman year before I experienced another one of these. It wasn’t until the start of my Junior year of college that I would be as low as I was that first semester.

“I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t doing any of my school work…”

Going into my Junior year of college I was faced with the worst information I had ever received. One of my closest friends from high school, a friend I still tried to see often, had committed suicide. I didn’t know how to react. I cried for days. I skipped the last few days of band camp and tried to process what had happened. Again, this was a situation similar to Robin Williams’ death. My friend was one of the happiest, silliest, individuals I had ever met, but deep down he was suffering inside, and no one suspected a thing.

This definitely sent me spiraling into a pit of despair and it felt like it lingered on through most of the year, and still effects me to this day, but the motivation I had felt to get help was even greater after this experience. I promised myself that day that I would do whatever it takes to ensure that I get better, no matter how long it takes, in honor of my friend, who I wish more than anything had been able to do the same.

At the time I was also in a pretty toxic work environment with a lot of drama, and I had a crush on several boys, but there was one in particular. It seemed like history was repeating itself, because yet again I was chasing after someone that clearly wasn’t reciprocating feelings. This guy also struggled with some sort of mental health issues and was incredibly toxic for me. I would feed off of his negative attitude, but couldn’t leave the situation. I liked him too much.

The emotional energy of trying so hard to get someone to like me back, and being surrounded by toxic relationships, at an already fragile state of mind, pushed me back into a pit of depression. This time it was much worse than the last. I was seeing therapy and this therapist was even worse. “Stop talking to this boy” she would say, as if I wasn’t aware that was the solution. Easier said than done. She did no more for me than my closest friends could have done. Eventually I told him that I liked him, and was rejected, which pushed me even further into the pit than I thought possible.

I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t doing any of my school work which was only making my anxiety that much worse about passing my classes. My room was becoming a mess, and so was my personal hygiene. If I thought freshman year was bad, this was a new level. It got so bad that I ended up having to use that C.S.U. hotline almost every night. For whatever reason, my depression always seems worse at night and that’s when I would need to call.

Eventually I was able to find the will power to cut ties with this crush of mine and pull myself back out of the pit. I truly cannot remember how I managed this, but looking back I’m not sure I was ever successful in getting all the way out. I think there was constantly an underlying sadness that followed me around until just this last semester of college.

Things were going well for a time, but then came yet another crush. I fell for this boy so incredibly hard and it immediately started the mood swings.As I mentioned above, each time I fell into that pit, it only got worse. I would swoon as soon as he replied to my text then, and then, and I say this with as much seriousness and vulnerability as possible, when he would ignore me I would want to die.

This was when I had to come to terms with my own suicidal ideations. Suicidal ideations are essentially having thoughts of wanting to be dead, but not actively taking steps towards making that a reality. For me, it was laying in my bed wondering what would happen if I did not wake up the next morning, or when I’m driving to work and welcoming the idea of another car smashing into me and letting the pain finally stop. Often suicidal thoughts are not a true desire to be dead, but a desperate attempt to get the awful emotions and thoughts to finally stop, at whatever cost.

Again I was deep in the pit. Calling help lines, not taking care of myself, letting my grades slip, and again it was much worse than I thought possible. I thought again of my friend and knew I needed help.


V. On Cloud Nine

Depression wasn’t the only symptom I’ve faced throughout the past few years. Recently, it’s become very apparent that sometimes the opposite effect can occur. I guess the word that best describes it, and is used throughout psychology, is “manic”. This wasn’t something I’ve paid close attention to throughout the past few years, not recognizing it as a symptom at all. It’s much harder to notice a really really happy and energetic state than it is to recognize a really really depressed state. Sometimes I can sense a manic phase, but often I think it isn’t necessarily strong enough to call it that.

A simple example is when I used to go on trips with the band, I would often feel like I was having literally the best time of my life. While these trips were always fun, and deserved a happy response, to me it could sometimes become similar to being on drugs. The pure joy I could feel being on one of these trips would fuel me and I would feel like a whole new person. The problem wouldn’t really arise until the trip was over.

As if coming down from a drug trip, on returning from a trip I would usually fall into a brief depressed state for a few days. Again, this is mostly normal behavior. Of course you’d be sad after having a great time somewhere away from home and then returning to your regular life, but I would experience really strong responses to this. I would hit true depressed moods and it could take up to a week to get over it.

“Impulsive, high energy, feelings of euphoria, extremely productive…”

The band trips (and trips I took with friends throughout college) are a small example. Again, my strongest trigger was usually boys. I once met a boy and “fell in love” with him in a single day. I really did like this guy, and still appreciate the brief time we spent together, but feeling such strong emotions for a stranger is not entirely normal. Two days after knowing this boy I was sharing a hotel room with him in Denver. I skipped all my classes for the week, and experienced many manic like symptoms. I wrote an entire paper in one hour at 3:00 am (a paper that received an A). I didn’t eat a whole lot, or sleep a whole lot and I felt perfectly fine, if not even more energetic than I had in a long time.

These are classic symptoms of a manic phase. Impulsive, high energy, feelings of euphoria, extremely productive, etc. I never really noticed this prominently affecting my life previously, but recently in therapy I’ve been more aware that on occasion these things can happen. Generally I am a very impulsive person, and I do tend to get easily sucked into situations that bring me any sort of joy. Sometimes this is just a response to getting out of the darkness that is the constant depression that I experience much more often, but other times I can go to great extremes.

I still hesitate to say suffer from manic phases, because I believe there are individuals who experience true manic stages much worse than what I’ve gone through, and my understanding of it is still limited, but I think that I often times fall into that category and have had brief moments of true mania.


VI. Boy, oh Boy

When I reflect on the ebbs and flows of my mood since high school there usually seems to be a boy in the picture. I don’t want to make it seem like my whole issues stem from boys, but the emotions I already feel on a constant basis are very heightened when it comes to a new crush. This happens with everybody, but imagine it happening to you when you already have recurring mood swings. There are many underlying issues that contribute to this.

Part of it comes from my family background. I never really felt like I belonged with my family, I’m very much the black sheep. I dream of one day starting my own family that fit my vision of what family should look like, and guess what. Starting a family usually means starting with a partner. If I can’t find a partner how will I ever have that family?

I also struggle really bad with loneliness. I hate being by myself, which comes from me not fully appreciating myself. Due to this I am always in search of that one guy who can be with me all the time, who can “save me” from myself and my loneliness.

On top of all this I have pretty bad issues with my self-image. I’ve thought so little of myself for so long that I can only validate myself through other people’s opinions. If I can get a date, then I must be worth something, right?

With all of these underlying issues to begin with a new crush can really really send me spiraling and flying from one end of my emotions to another. Crushes are extremely difficult for me to process.


VII. Getting Back to Baseline

All of the above is a brief overview of some of the battles I have fought with depression, anxiety, and severe mood swings throughout the past five years of my life, and believe me when I say that it is just a glimpse at the whole picture. I could write all day long about the bad moments in my life, but that’s not the point. The point is, I started this off saying that I woke up this morning feeling happier than I have felt in a really long time and that is the result of some very serious work I have put in over the past eight months.

After my last experience with a large depressive spell, I decided to get serious about sorting out my issues. I went back to therapy. Again. But this time something wonderful happened. It worked! Surprisingly this therapist was the youngest I have seen, she was just a grad student, but she was the only therapist that actually helped me. I could sense the empathy from her, the understanding of my thoughts and feelings, and instead of telling me obvious advice, she would tear back the underlying layers that made it hard for me to make the obvious choices that could improve my life.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in working with this therapist and my current therapist. One of the biggest challenges was admitting many of my issues stem from my sexuality. As much as I wanted to convince myself that I was comfortable with being gay, I hadn’t truly embraced my identity before. This also created some of the issues I have around dating. Once I could finally embrace who I was a lot of other pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place.

I was able to pull myself out of the pit of depression much easier than I had in the past and this time once I was out I never wanted to go back in again. I decided that while therapy was working, it was time to consider medication.


I feel like there’s so much discourse over whether or not to medicate someone for mental health issues. Today people are much more understanding of medicating, but there still seems to be some people who think it’s a bad idea. “I don’t want to have to take pills to be happy.” Nothing is wrong with medication if you have a chemical imbalance in your brain.

I’d also like to point out that so called “happy pills” are not pills that make you happy. Medicating someone for depression is getting someone out of that pit of depression and back to baseline. Medication doesn’t just make you happy all the time. You still have good days and you still have bad days. You’ll be happy and you’ll be sad. What medication can do is bring you to the point where the average person should be functioning, so the next time, say a boy rejects you, you don’t want to literally die.

I like the following metaphor. If you break your leg you wouldn’t feel bad about getting a cast and taking pain killers, so why is it any different for fixing a broken mind?

Okay, stepping off my soap box.


I decided to set up an appointment with a psychiatrist with the help from my therapist. When you go into a psychiatry appointment they sit you down and start by asking you a long list of questions about your symptoms. Some seem so out there and irrelevant but they have to cover all the bases, to reach an educated solution.

“I’ve learned recently that it doesn’t matter what anybody calls me, I just need to work on fixing the symptoms…”

My first experience with a psychiatrist was pretty similar to the first few therapists. He was fine, but he didn’t seem like he was really trying to help me as much as I needed help. At the end of all his questions he said “Sounds like you have bipolar, with symptoms of borderline”. The bipolar kind of made sense, but borderline? I spent the next few weeks researching borderline personality disorder and I had to admit that there were some symptoms that could relate to my story. The way that I got overly attached to a boy and how my mood would be so easily influenced by this crush that I would be to the point of wanting to hurt myself did seem to fit some of these stories from people with B.P.D.

After research, contemplation, and conversations with my therapist we decided that bipolar might be a good diagnoses, however B.P.D. was not really true to me. Just because I had some similar symptoms didn’t mean the borderline personality disorder label “fit” me.


I want to take another brief tangent to mention that labels can be helpful to some and not so helpful to others. Sometimes it is extremely helpful to be able to know what box you might fit in and that can help you get the help you really need. On the other hand, sometimes it may make some people feel uneasy about being labeled as having this disorder or that disorder, or any disorder in general, and it might be better to just focus on treating symptoms, not necessarily looking for a name. Every person is different and these names we have for different conditions are really just broad terms that we try our best to apply to different cases, but every situation is unique. Again, do what feels right for you.


So for the time being I decided to go with bipolar and I was being treated with mood stabilizing medication. The psychiatrist suspected that I might be also suffering from some signs of manic episodes, but these seemed much less dramatic. The medication I was put on will stabilize my mood in general, but it was focused more on the depressive episodes.

It’s important to mention that the medication is only a piece of the puzzle. The medication I am on keeps me sane for the most part, but it can only do so much. Medication is best paired with continuing therapy so that you can work on the underlying issues as well as any potential chemical off balances.

Since graduating I have had to find a new therapist (who is great) and a new psychiatrist (who is also great). A resource in Fort Collins known as Mental Health Connections offered a lot of support in finding such good doctors. You can give them a call and tell them information like if you are looking for a male or female doctor, your symptoms, and what you’d like to focus on, as well as your insurance so you don’t have to waste time looking for someone who accepts your insurance.

Luckily the new psychiatrist agreed with the last one, even though I thought he was kind of lazy in his diagnoses. My current psychiatrist is hesitant to determine if I suffer from basic depression and anxiety or bipolar disorder, so for now my official diagnoses is “mood disorder” and it’s surprisingly validating. Before I thought I was someone who wanted an official label to get the help I needed, but I’ve learned recently that it doesn’t matter what anybody calls me, I just need to work on fixing the symptoms that are specific to my situation.

At this point I can honestly say that I have been suffering from depression and anxiety, but what the doctors have been able to help me figure out recently is that I fly in and out of these states so easily because of some kind of mood disorder. As was apparent from the time I was a child, I still can respond to simple situations or the slightest change in my own emotions and I’m suddenly at one end of the emotional spectrum or another. And due to many factors, relationships can trigger my mood swings very easily.

So there we have it, mood disorder!


VIII. Where I’m at Today

Where does all of this leave me today?

Since graduating from C.S.U. I have continued to see therapy and have found a psychiatrist. I see my therapist every other week and I have monthly follow up appointments with my psychiatrist to ensure that my medication is working as expected and not showing any signs of negative side effects. I’ve had a couple small relapses since graduation, but none of them have been nearly as dramatic as before I’ve committed to improving myself, and my mental health.

“I have found myself in the best headspace I have been in my whole life.”

There are many other changes I’ve had to make in my life to make sure that I am also doing my part to ensure I don’t swing into a depressed or manic state anymore, and that I’m generally in a good state of mind.

I’ve cut way back on drinking. If I decide to drink it’s usually a couple drinks in a social setting with friends, or maybe a glass of wine with my dinner. I’ve decided not to binge drink anymore and to stop getting drunk. Admittedly, I break this rule on special occasions, such as my friend’s twenty-first birthday or a recent trip I took to New York, but in general I stick to it. This goes for drugs in general. I try to stay as sober as possible these days, it’s best for my mind. I found that after binge drinking or going to a party I would wake up the next morning feeling extremely depressed. It isn’t worth the fun at a party if I’m going to hate myself for the next couple days.

I continue to look for resources that help me better understand what is going on with me, and how to handle it. As I’ve mentioned, I watch TED talks, I read many articles on medium, I listen to podcasts, I read books, I watch people’s stories on YouTube, etc. Anything I can find is a small piece of the puzzle and constant reminders to myself to get better and to stay better. From various resources I have found many little ways to cope through each day.

One time I had a friend offer me a rose quartz crystal which represents love (for friends, family, romance, and yourself) and I found this small crystal extremely reassuring. Since receiving that first crystal I have become very invested in learning about many crystals and stones that all have meaning and perhaps even power to help your mind, body, and spirit. I have them all over my desk, on my headboard, and I wear a rose quartz around my neck every day.

I carry around a coin that says “momento mori” on the front which means “remember you will die” which is a sort of morbid reminder to live each day to the fullest, because today or tomorrow you could be dead. I picked this up from another article, and you can find a coin for yourself here.

A habit I need to get back into is meditation. Meditation has helped tremendously in the past, but I have fallen out of doing it. I use an app for android and iOS called headspace. I believe you can even listen online. This app is pretty expensive, but there are similar apps for your phone that are free. Meditation is proven to be extremely helpful, and it has taught me how to better identify what might be going on with me internally and to identify my emotions when they are shifting.


I believe “Gratitude” needs it’s own mini-section.

During my last semester of college I was able to perform with the C.S.U. Concert Band for what felt like one of the most impactful performances I had ever been a part of. My band director at the time spent much of last semester preaching to our band on the importance of Gratitude, and helped me to more clearly see that this was something I was lacking in my own personal life. From my experiences in the band I’ve worked hard to try and adopt a more grateful attitude towards life.

My band director’s inspiration behind our concert was based off a series of final essays Oliver Sacks wrote during his last year’s of his life. Instead of mourning the end of his life, Oliver Sacks chose to celebrate his experiences through life and to reflect back, not with sorrow, but with Gratitude. The title of this last collection of his works was in fact “Gratitude”. As I read these essays I discovered that Oliver Sacks was in fact a gay man who had spent much of his life in the closet from the public eye. Not only did the message of Gratitude speak to me, but so too did the life story of a man who I had just come to realize I shared a lot more in common with than I first thought. At a time in my life when I was struggling both with my mental health and with my identity the message of Gratitude, from my band director and Oliver Sacks touched me in a way I had not thought possible.

To this day I make an effort to write down one to three things I am grateful for every evening. This message was so important to me I had it tattooed on my chest.


With help from all of these different resources and coping mechanisms I have found myself in the best headspace I have been in my whole life. As I started this by saying I woke up this morning feeling full of energy, happy, and grateful for the things I have in my life at this moment in time. I have been enjoying my life more than ever before, and guess what. I’m dating. It hasn’t been easy obviously given the circumstance, but it has continued to get better and better with time, and hopefully soon I can find a real relationship for the first time in my life.


IX. Wrapping Up

If you managed to make it to the end of this, I hope that you have gained something from it. I am a strong believer at this point in my life that every single person could benefit from therapy and from paying attention to their mental health. I’m aware that not everyone has access to such resources, but I hope that in the coming years we can see legislation that could make it more accessible for everyone to get the help they need.

If you have experienced similar issues to mine, issues entirely different, or have not experienced any of these things at all, I hope you got something out of hearing my story. I hope my story can help to empower others to lift themselves up and to fight the battle. I hope my story also inspires people to lift others up. We never know what someone might be suffering through and it’s hard enough as it is. Everyone deserves love and support from others. Pay attention to those around you and be sure to reach out if you sense something might be off.

Finally, if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to or any support, know that I am always here to help. I love you and you are perfect, and one day things will work out. Things seem to always work out in the end, it might just take a little work to get there.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Find something to be grateful for today.

-Justin


Invisible Illness

We don't talk enough about mental health.

Justin Rentie

Written by

I’m just a young adult trying to figure out how to navigate the turbulent waters that is life. I try to turn my struggles into other people’s motivation.

Invisible Illness

We don't talk enough about mental health.

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