My name is Vanessa, I'm 22 years old. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 16 years old. My life growing up was definitely a roller coaster. I guess you could say my anxiety started when I started high school in 2007. I went into high school with a group of friends from primary school, which I thought would make the thought of high school bearable. Unfortunately I always found it hard to fit in and really figure out where I belonged. Yes I had a group of friends I always hung out with, but eventually they just lost interest in me. When I got to year ten and eleven things changed. One day I went to school and none of my "friends" wanted to talk or be seen with me. I remember going into photography class and sitting in my usual spot and all of my friends walked into class and completely ignored me. It was as if I wasn't even there.
Things got worse after a while and eventually no one at school would talk to me and I had no idea why. Numerous rumours were spread about me, which were absolutely horrible. It made me feel like I wasn't worth being around and that no one would care if I were there or not. I never knew the reason why my friends stopped talking to me and still to this day have no idea. I guess they just thought they would be better off without me. This hurt me deeply and I cried every single day before and after school. I use to think that there was something wrong with me or maybe I wasn't pretty enough or that people didn't want to be around me. It was these negative thoughts that started running through my head on a daily basis.
I thought it would be best to move schools for year twelve to start fresh. Unfortunately as soon as I started at my new school it went downhill from there as more rumours started about me, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. It's like I couldn't get away from it. Everywhere I went these hurtful comments, rumours and accusations followed me.
Mid year twelve is when I got bad. My anxiety was through the roof to the point where I was too afraid to go to school. I couldn't even walk through a shopping centre without feeling like the walls were closing in on me. I had honestly never felt so alone and unwanted in my life. Everyday was a constant breakdown, after break down, after breakdown. And I had no idea how to overcome it.
I started to notice that the person I once use to be was gone. I was such a happy and vibrant person that got pushed around so hard that all of my happiness was crushed by a group of people who thought I didn't matter. I spent everyday trying to make people accept me and like me when eventually I just got to breaking point.
There was one day where my mind was all over the place and all of those nasty comments were playing over and over in my head. At one point I remember walking into the middle of a main road and stopping half way. I couldn't hear all the people around me telling me to get off the road. It was like my mind had blocked everyone out and all I could hear were my own thoughts. Thankfully a man ran onto the road and dragged me away before a car hit me.
I knew I wasn't okay. But even though I knew I was sick I still didn't seek for help. So my message to everyone out there who is suffering from anxiety and depression is to please ask for help, because it's okay to feel helpless and sad. Never be afraid of speaking up because using your ‘voice’ could save your life.
Please remember that you do matter and that the world would not be the same without you in it. I've realised now after so many years that life has its ways of surprising you and that things actually do get better over time. Yes, I still struggle with my anxiety, but overtime I’ve learnt how to control it.
Never give up on helping yourself. If you need help, reach out to Voice of Health.