Coming Out of the Closet with my Mental Health Story

February 22, 2019

My name is Manar Ahmad and I have anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder and I have been suicidal. Why is that my first sentence? Well, it is because if there is one thing I want you to read from my article, it is that first sentence. This is absolutely the most terrifying thing I have ever done in my entire life. Putting yourself completely out there not knowing how people will react takes some serious guts, especially when it comes to mental health. Many of you are probably asking yourselves why I would do such a thing. The reason is, for a long time I told people that they should not be afraid to talk openly about their mental health, yet I never shared my side of the story. I do not want to be a coward anymore, so I am writing this very article.

 

I have been depressed for a long time, but this past year and a half have been especially difficult for me. I was taken in for a psychiatric evaluation this past fall semester and that was rough. However, that time I had someone there to help me, but what I truly found the hardest was all the other times I had to talk myself out of it. I never wanted to die, I just wanted all the pain and misery to just stop.

 

 GRAPHIC COURTESY OF TEXAS PUBLIC RADIO

 

I have always been the type of student to really care about my grades, but recently school has been the last thing on my to-do list, if it is on it at all. I sunk so far down that I just literally could not think or be my usual self anymore. Most days I woke up crying, upset that I was still alive. My professors noticed me not really giving my all, and I always lied and said I did not study enough, because I sure as hell did not want to tell them this. To all the professors being harsh on students for not doing so well, please know that they are fighting battles you know nothing about. They go through so much more than you could ever begin to imagine. There were so many organic, biochemistry and biology lectures where I would be paying absolutely no attention because I had only had one thing on my mind. When grades starting coming in and I wasn’t doing as well as a “good pre-med” student should be doing, many professors asked me what my “why” was in relation to wanting to be in the pre-health field. It takes a pretty strong “why” to talk yourself out of suicide.

 

Every time I would get to the tipping point, I stopped and questioned what my purpose was. My answer was always the same: “I need to save lives.” As cheesy as that sounds, it is very literally the reason I am still alive today, along with my faith. My not so hot grades made me even more depressed. To every person that has ever doubted me or continues to doubt me, rest assured I will make it one way or another! Recovery does not happen overnight and I am still far from where I used to be in relation to my grades and life in general, but this is a battle that I will FIGHT and WIN! To every person going through something please don’t give up. If you were looking for a sign here it is. I truly believe every person has something unique that they have to offer the world and that the world just wouldn’t be the same without them. I wish all your hearts healing, and please reach out to me (mahmad@drew.edu) if you need anything at all. I have been in your place, and I’m still in your place, so please know that you are not alone. You will hear more from me next week, but for now this is my story. What is yours? #ENDTHESTIGMA

 

Manar is a junior.

 

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