I got by with a little help from my friends

I Got By With a Little Help From My Friends

When nothing is going your way, it’s easy to lose confidence in yourself and hope in your future. It’s easy to spiral down a path that negatively affects your emotional wellbeing.

We at One More Light had the chance to speak with Sharon. She’s someone who not just struggled emotionally, but also conquered her struggles, starting with a little help from her friends.

Their responses to the following questions:

What is your personal story of struggling with mental wellness in the past or present? Could you tell us how tough it was and what kind of support you had?

During my undergraduate, a lot of things started to go wrong. My friends seemed to go their own ways, and I was left behind. Couple that with the pressure from academics and family, and I reached a tipping point. It all went south from there.

I stopped eating anything substantial, mostly just surviving on snacks. I lost quite a bit of weight too. I isolated myself from my classmates and stopped talking to anyone. My room was an absolute mess, although I couldn’t be bothered to care. There were days when I couldn’t even get up to go to class, and I just lay in bed with the lights off in complete darkness, not even sleeping. I couldn’t lift a brush to paint anything, I stopped reading my favorite books. I’d watch shows on Netflix, but even that was mindless and brought me no happiness. My academics suffered, and during that term, I scored my lowest GPA. (Trigger warning) Although I did have suicidal thoughts, I couldn’t act on them when I thought of the people I loved most.

My friends noticed something was wrong. And they took me to a psychiatrist, where I was eventually diagnosed with moderate to severe depression and anxiety.

My best friends really helped me out. They were there for me at every turn. Whenever I felt down, I’d just go over to their room and sit and talk. They’d put everything aside to make time for me. I also had neuro-feedback therapy, which really pulled me out of it.

Today, I feel great. Sure, I do have my ups and downs, but it would never be as bad as it was during my undergraduate. I’m pursuing further studies in Psychology, intending to help people suffering from the same struggles as I was back then.

What do you use the One More Light app for? Tell us about the motivation behind it and how you help people on the app.

I use it as a listener to help people talk about their worries. It feels great when someone tells you that you’ve really helped them feel better after they talk to you. Having gone through similar issues myself, I can empathize with the people I talk to, and it is my aim to help as many people as I can. Purely because I believe that no one should have to feel the same way as I did. If I can make a difference even in one person’s life, I’d be really happy.

What would you say to those learning about your experience, to help them understand the importance of mental health?

There’s a lot of stigma associated with mental health; that it’s all in the mind, and if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Some say that mental illnesses are an excuse to get out of things or to not do work properly.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. It legitimately affects people’s lives, especially when it’s curable. It’s difficult to keep up a facade to show society that you have your life together when in reality, you just need a little help from the right people. No one should have to suffer from that feeling of emptiness that depression brings, or the racing heart and mind that comes with anxiety.

But, there’s visible progress being made. Our generation is slowly attempting to understand the facets of mental health, and what they can do to make it better for their loved ones. And I hope that one day, mental health will be treated as valid as physical ones.

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