My Journey With Mental Health


Kaitlyn Finchler

Illustration by Preston Randall

TW: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts

It’s too hard, you’ll never make it, someone else is already doing better, why even bother? These are thoughts that run through my head on the daily. I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember, and sometimes it seems like it will never get better.

Last semester was probably the most challenging for me: mentally, socially and academically. It seemed like everything was going wrong at once, there were no constants and everything was changing. Once you get into these mindsets, it’s hard to get out of them.

I think a common theme with depression is: “I can’t even get myself out of bed,” and it’s true. It’s always been a struggle for me to get out of bed, as minute as it may seem.

In high school I didn’t have many friends, so why bother? Freshman year of college (pre-COVID), I was practically failing my math class, so why bother? Once the pandemic hit, the world seemed to stop, so why bother? It seemed as if everything in my life was testing me.

This may seem a bit dramatic — obviously the world isn’t out to get me, but sometimes it definitely seems like it. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I finally decided I had enough of the feeling that I was sinking and there was no way out.

The first week of a new semester always feels like a haze. I’ve always been excited about school: new classes, new people, writing down assignments and class times in my planner. It’s once we really get into the semester that my brain decides to shut down. 

The last two weeks have been interesting to say the least. My intrusive, and somewhat suicidal, thoughts were getting the best of me. I’m not proud to admit that I tried to hurt myself. 

I’ve never been at that point before. As hard as things may have been throughout my life, I’ve never tried to physically harm myself. It wasn’t until I was sitting on my bedroom floor about to do something I would later regret, that I threw the item across the floor and just broke down. 

The next day I texted my mom about seeing my doctor and about getting antidepressants. I was on antidepressants for about a month during my senior year of high school, but after I didn’t see a change and experienced a not-so-nice doctor, I quit. 

It always felt like I was bothering people, no matter what I’m doing. My friends that I’m super close with, that know what I’m like when I’m depressed or anxious, know what I get like. I don’t want to call them episodes, because it’s usually just a never-ending feeling that doesn’t go away.

I know that therapy is the usual route to go when it comes to mental health, but I’m just not there yet. I can admit that I do need help, but saying it and doing it are two different things. 

Seeing a normal doctor was the easy way. A few questions and then I received a prescription for antidepressants. I was nervous about how I was answering the questions. That if I accidentally said the wrong thing, she’d send me to a psych ward.

Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen. I’m here writing this, aren’t I? I ended up getting a small, 20 mg dose of Celexa. The doctor told me about the side effects, and they definitely came. I couldn’t hold food down for the first three days, and what I did eat came right back up.

I was honestly taken aback at how quickly I saw a change in myself. Obviously all of my mental health issues are not solved, but the intrusive thoughts went away within the week. 

This kind of plays into how easily we can solve our problems if we take the necessary steps to do so. If I stayed on antidepressants in high school, maybe I would be a lot happier now than I have been.

However, I’m trying to look toward the positive side. While things may not be great now, they can always get better and that’s the mindset I’m choosing for now.