The Greatest Gift I Ever Received: How Living with Mental Illness Made Me a Better Person
By Matthew Helt, Program Director, Techstars Startup Week
NOTE: If you are someone who lives with mental illness, and you find that reading about it can trigger your symptoms, please be warned that this post contains details that you might find disturbing.
A Mind At War With Itself
My mind was at war with itself.
I woke up on Friday, March 1, 2002, with what I thought were two choices that I had left. Just two choices. Either I was going to die, or I was going to spend the rest of my life in a mental hospital.
March 1, as it happened, was the last day of my 26th year. The next day, Saturday, March 2, I would turn 27 years old. That was an age that had frightened me for over a year. I was convinced that I would die when I turned 27 because all my music idols died at that age. I knew this was a completely irrational thought, but nonetheless it remained firmly cemented in my mind.
What led up to this date was a series of events that shaped the person I was to become. I was a person who had a pretty healthy ego, but I was also very fragile. I was nervous and anxious most of my life, but did my best to hide it. When I was young I was considered shy because most adults didn’t understand that I was terrified of the world.
So what caused me to give in to the irrational fear I was holding on to?
Originally published at www.techstars.com on December 17, 2018.