My first experience with mental illness began in middle school when my family practitioner diagnosed me with depression and handed me a prescription for Zoloft. Years later, in college, I started having severe panic attacks that left me debilitated—confused, lonely, and physically sick.
I couldn’t fathom how I would pick myself up. I thought I was dying. But I didn’t. Even though panic attacks were horrible, they didn’t kill me. I chose to pull myself out of the depression I experienced after a panic attack. I told myself I have to fight every single one, that it’s just my brain doing this.
I am still fighting every single one, day by day. I look at the sun shining on the tree outside my window and smile, take a walk in the woods and realize how beautiful this world is. I want to see it all; I want to be a part of it. Life around me is so beautiful, even when it doesn’t appear to be.
In a couple years, I will be going to graduate school for neuroscience. I want to write about my experience and about mental illness. I want to learn its causes and its cures. This subject is so close to me, not only because of my own illness, but my grandmother’s schizophrenia. Although I barely knew her, she is a part of me. I want to tell her story and mine.