May is Mental Health Awareness month, if you have been following me you know mental health is very important to me. I have debated all month about if I was ready to share my story with the world. I hosted my Mental Health Awareness Luncheon this past weekend and it was truly amazing. My guest speaker, Amara Sturkey, founder of The Silent Me, shared her story with us and gave us some useful information. Ms. Amara inspired me to share my story so here we go.
Since about middle school I have been in and out of counseling, never really taking it serious. I remember the first time I got diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety, I was in denial, I remember saying “these people don’t know what they are talking about”. As time went on I started to see the signs of what the doctor I had told me, yet still in denial. I experienced some really close deaths at a young age, never really had a steady group of friends, I just had so much bottled up emotions that I couldn’t express. I really just wanted to die. I remember it was a time me and my parents got into an argument and I expressed how I felt, it resulted into them taking me to the hospital. I understand my parents wanted to do what they felt was best but it just wanted me to keep things to myself even more. At this time I’m also dealing with major self-esteem issues, making my mental health go downhill even more. From about eighth grade until my sophomore year of college I was in a relationship. He became my best friend, my only friend really, I couldn’t even express the emotions I was feeling to him, the closet person to me. I feel like I became a toxic person in the relationship because my mental health was out of control. When we broke up it was really bad for me I felt alone for a long time. I started dating guys, just because, to fill a void. I started drinking and going out more, I became a person I really didn’t know. I was in school in Rock Hill, so I’m an hour away from home, with no friends or family around me. I was putting on a good face because I didn’t want any more to be worried about me, or feel bad for me. As I was going into my senior year of college I was forced to sit out due to financial reason. At first I was really cool with it I understood what was going on but that didn’t last long. When people realized I wasn’t in school that’s when all the negativity started. “she got pregnant and dropped out” “she got kicked out for partying so much” “I knew she wasn’t that smart” “you’re just going to waste all that time in school and drop out, what a waste” “you done got a lil job and now you think you don’t need school” “up there chasing them lil boys” I mean I can go on for days, the sad part is the majority of it was family. I went into a depression I felt as if I let everyone down, including myself. I felt like my parents were ashamed, they both graduated from Winthrop, now look at their daughter, a drop out. Watching my classmates enjoy their senior year was so hard, I cried and cried. I wanted to avoid family functions and people from back home at all costs, I was ashamed and didn’t want anyone to ask me about school. I stayed in Rock Hill even after I wasn’t able to return back to school, sometimes I believe that had a lot to do with my depression. I remember it was Winthrop’s homecoming, my first homecoming when I wasn’t a student. I had an amazing weekend, all my friends came and stayed at my house, we had fun. I remember that Monday I had to work and I felt out of it when I got up but I just thought I was tired I remember driving in the car to work and I just felt light headed , my vision got blurry I couldn’t drive. I turned around and went back home to ask my best friend to drive me to work, as we were going down the road I panicked. I felt as if I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see, I flipped out, she took me back home and I just slept it off. That experience for me was scary , at this point I just knew I had to do something, I had to get out of my slump, I had to get my life back. I officially started my blog in October of 2016 but in October of 2017 is when TaylorNycole.com officially launched. I started it originally as a fashion blog, but now it’s like my online diary. So I launched my website and my T-shirt line at the same time. I was so proud of my brand, my baby, but it still wasn’t good enough I still got comments like “well that’s cute, but what about school”. Even though the negative comments hurt I started realizing that I couldn’t keep listening to others. I started going to group counseling in charlotte. I remember my first session, I cried and cried, and cried, it started realizing that I wasn’t alone, some of the feelings I was having were normal, that when I realized it is okay not to be okay. I started opening up more about my mental health struggles, I started going to counseling regularly. I felt as if I had everything under control, I still had anxiety attacks but not as bad as I use to , I didn’t feel depressed, I had some dope people in my life, I started modeling, my brand was doing pretty good, I felt okay. I hosted my first Taylor Nycole event in November of 2018 and it was amazing but even in the midst of that event I found myself sad, I couldn’t figure out why. From November up until now my emotions have been on a roller coaster. My emotions that I was feeling turned into anger. I stopped counseling at all aspects, I fell out with friends, and I started keeping my feelings to myself. At this point I’m still hosting events , I’m still putting on smile, I’m being there for everyone else and when they need me but I can’t even be there for myself. I just wanted someone to be there for me, call and check on me. Literally every phone call was either an argument or someone needing something from me. I remember driving from Rock Hill to Camden one night. I had a long day and I just needed to talk. I called three friends, 2 didn’t answer and the other one ended up talking about themselves. I broke down, I cried a cry I haven’t in a while, as I cried I thought, I should just end it all , and I swerved my car off the road towards the trees . I took a minute prayed and got myself together. Something came over me and said Taylor, you have to live, and you’re going to get through this. I didn’t call anyone, I didn’t tell anymore. That was a Thursday night that Saturday I went on to do my event like nothing happened. That night after my event I went out with a friend , on the way back I broke down and I explained how I was tired and I need someone to be there for me like how I am for them. Her response stuck with me, she said, “no one feels the need to call and check on you because you’re the strong one, it’s your fault no one is there for you”. I was speechless, is that how everyone feels? She had no idea what had occurred a couple days before and at this point I had no plan on telling her or anyone else. I don’t think people realize sometimes how their words affect people. One of my cousins use to always call me crazy when I would be going through my moods and till this day I don’t like talking to her about my feelings. It made me not want to open up to anyone because maybe everyone thinks I’m just crazy. I have been dealing with so much privately these past few months and yet still go out in public and smile and I’m there everyone else. I cry more than I ever have. Hearing Amara speak this past Saturday inspired me so much. I have to get my life back, I have to live, and it’s okay to need help, it okay to not be okay. I’m sharing this to help someone who may be going through the same thing as me. If you know anyone dealing with a mental illness, check on them, encourage them, don’t talk down on them. Those strong friends, check on them too, we need it. 1 in 5 people have a mental illness, there are over 970 million people with a documented mental illness case. If anyone reading this and need to talk I am open to it. Take care of yourselves, put your mental health first.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline - 1-800-273-8255