Hello! This is Taylor, the creator of Mentaylity, I hope you enjoy the creative name. So, this all began to document my mental health journey, this post will be diving deeper into my story.
To start off, I’m currently seventeen-years-old and a junior in high school at a small school in North Central Nebraska. I live with my parents, two younger sisters, and four dogs. Crazy house, right?? I enjoy being with friends, speech, One Acts, and spending countless hours on Tik Tok or watching Netflix. My current plans are to attend a nearby community college and become a nurse. I then hope to further my education by becoming a nurse practitioner in mental health or a nurse anesthetist.
My story begins fairly young. My parents had friends with children close to my age and something was always different about me. It could’ve been the fiery red hair or mischievous grin, but it was the “tantrums.” Knowing what we all know now, the hysterical bawling, the hyperventilating were all anxiety attacks. My parents were new at this whole parenting gig. Was this something I’d grow out of? Was this normal? Their questions were answered when their nine-year-old threatened suicide by trying to jump out of the car going down the interstate. This wasn’t normal. I then began seeing my first psychiatrist. At age nine, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I was on two medications prescribed by Dr. O, (I really don’t remember his name, but I do remember calling him Dr. O). One of these medications was required to be taken in the afternoon, so I would take it on my way to recess while we walked by the front office. It always made me feel self conscious and guilty, why was I the only kid doing this? I lied to the kids who asked by saying it was for my stomach, which was a lie, but the stress I would put on myself caused me to develop ulcers, so they believed it. My childhood best friend knew the real reason I stopped everyday, but that was it. I remember vividly one day when a group of peers were standing in the hallway getting bundled up to go outside, they asked where I was. My friend replied, “She’s taking her psycho meds.” This is when I told my parents I no longer needed medication and I stopped seeing Dr. O.
Flash forward to junior high. I remember the anxiety hitting me like a truck my seventh grade year. I would text my parents daily over my lunch hour claiming I was sick, I had headaches and my chest hurt, or my stomach hurt so bad that I felt like throwing up. It was all because I constantly felt that I had to live up to the expectations of my friend group. I had to be getting good grades, I had to be the star athlete, I had to be the best. This pressure made me begin to hate the things I once loved, I quit all sports by high school because of the insane amount of pressure I put on myself in middle school just so that I wouldn’t be the one that was getting picked on. In eighth grade, I drifted away from that group of people who made me feel like I had to be the best otherwise I was nobody. I made a very good friend I stuck with that year. I wasn't on any sort of medication in middle school, but started talking to a counselor by the end of my eighth grade year.
Ohhh, high school. What feels like a never ending hell most days. The homework, the hormones, it's a disaster. By my freshman year, I knew I needed medication.The anxiety made me feel like a ticking time bomb and I was about to go off at any remark made. I started seeing a nurse practitioner in mental health. I experimented with several medications, but never felt like anything worked and little did I know that there wasn't just one antidepressant, so even though I still felt awful, I stuck with it. It wasn't until the suicidal thoughts started that I realized this really wasn't normal. I told my counselor about these thoughts and the fact I'd been self harming that someone told me this wasn't normal. On November 1st, 2017, I went to my first psychiatric hospital. I won't specify this hospital because since then, they have made changes in the facility and are remarkable now, but at the time due to budget cuts, they combined they youth unit and the adult unit. At fifteen-years-old I was exposed to forty year olds who believed they were God. I remember one of those men so vividly, at the unit, the other kids and I called him Meth Head (awful, I know.) Meth Head sensed my fear, he knew I was terrified of him which gave him more satisfaction and more drive to go after me. I remember him telling a group of us that we were going to hell because that's where the "crazy people" go and that he knew because he was Jesus Christ. I could go into so many more details about my experience, but maybe I will make a separate post on those experiences. I was prescribed a medication that I had a SEVERE reaction to. When I got home, I remember getting in a fight with my parents and this is something I'm ashamed to admit, but I threw a chair into our brand new fridge to prove a point. Let's just say, I know to not use that medication anymore.
My sophomore year has been my only year in high school without an inpatient stay, let's keep our fingers crossed that senior year will be the same!! Although I didn't have any inpatient treatment, my parents will say the exact same thing, it was still hell. I became the stereotypical "wild child" and tested every button my parents had. Thankfully, I'm over that stage! I began a new therapy called EMDR, as hesitant as I was when starting it, it did wonders for me. I used to have nightmares and flashbacks from my first psychiatric hospital, but after EMDR, I no longer did. It was AMAZING. I still struggled with finding the right medication for me. I tried probably everything under the sun, but nothing worked. Throughout the process, I'd ended up gaining around thirty pounds because of birth control and trying hormonal pills to balance my hormones out. This made me hate medication.
Going into my junior year, I had an amazing summer. I babysat the cutest baby ever, along with several other families. I had traveled to Florida, gone to the lake, hung out with friends. Things were going awesome. I decided to go the summer unmediated which was my first time off medication in years. I was still doing awesome! School had always been a struggle for me at my old school. I hated it. I had amazing teachers, but a big class which didn't suit the learning style that works best for me. I transferred to another school my junior year and it turned out to be the best thing for me. I made a great group of friends, was going to school with my boyfriend, participating in extracurriculars, life was awesome! Although it was awesome, I still was struggling. I didn't want to admit that I needed medication because I told my parents a new school would change everything for me. Newsflash, an environment can't change a chemical imbalance. One night, I got in a fight with my parents, my friend, a former teacher and said screw it. I took hundred of painkillers that night. I woke about vomiting, played it off as the stomach flu. The vomiting carried on until Monday morning and my mom kept me home from school. She came home from work to lecture me about the fight my former teacher and I had gotten into and that's when I said, "Well, I took a bunch of pills on Saturday night because I'm tired of disappointing all of you." I went to the local clinic and got my blood drawn and taken to my second psych hospital. I stayed for a week and was put on medication. Things went pretty well after that, but I always seemed "on edge." You could've told me my zipper was down and it would've been World War 3. In January, I admitted to a school psychologist I felt suicidal. I was taken to a psych hospital, again, in the back of a police car. Hopefully the only time I have to ride in one! I finally was diagnosed with what my mom had been suggesting for years, PMDD. That's short for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, sorry boys. Basically it's PMS on steroids, my mom knew the day I was ten days from my cycle because I became Satan himself. Two days after, I was an angel. I was put on the only FDA approved medication to help PMDD. It helped tremendously!! In the next few months, a lot of things were happening. My boyfriend of almost a year and I broke up, I was starting counseling with a new therapist, everything was changing and it was difficult. I got involved on social media with a guy who began using me. He made me pay him large amounts of money and threatening me. I paid him and paid him until March 8th when I said enough is enough. My parents were on a much deserved vacation and had just flown back that night, but were staying in a hotel and driving back in the morning. My sister who is the mother hen, had just gotten in the shower and my grandparents hadn't come to our house yet to spend the night so I told myself this was my chance. I went to my parent's bedroom and found the key to the filing cabinet that stored all the medication. I grabbed everything my hands could carry and hid it under my bed. Later that night once everyone had gone to bed, I filled up two water bottles and began taking pills and writing what I wished at the time would be my final words. I remember becoming so tired as I wrote the last few, so tired that I couldn't finish another bottle of pills. I think this was my guardian angel because another bottle could've caused a much different outcome. I set an alarm for 5 a.m.. I wanted to finish that last bottle. I didn't wake up that morning, in fact I slept through speech practice. My sister came in to wake me up around 7 a.m., she nudged me and thought I was just being a pain because I hated the mornings and getting up, so she got my grandpa. My grandpa came in a nudged me and then saw my eyes. My pupils were huge and rolled into the back of my head. He called for my grandma and they tried to help me out of bed, but that's when they witnessed my first seizure. They told my fourteen-year-old sister to call 911. She called and was paralyzed with fear. She could barely get the words out, I mean how can you expect a fourteen-year-old to tell a dispatcher her sister just overdosed. My parents are apart of the local fire and rescue as volunteers, so as soon as the page went out for a seventeen-year-old overdose victim at my dad's house, dozens of EMTs showed up. I was taken to the local hospital and began to get my stomach pumped and they began IVs. I was transported to another city. I stayed in the hospital for three days and then went to my fourth psych hospital.
As you can tell, my story is long and crazy! I couldn't be more grateful for all of the people who have kept me here today and been apart of my recovery. I know there was an angel with me that night and that I'm here for a reason. As of right now, I'm doing much better! I have an amazing support system, an awesome counselor, and my medications are definitely feeling like the right fit. I hope you continue to read my blog posts! Be kind, you never know what a person is going through.