At the age of 13 I started becoming depressed. It was mild at first. Perhaps considered normal as I was a teenager with hormones raging out of control. As time went on it got worse. I lost interest in all school work and didn’t care if I passed or failed.
Teachers eventually started noticing something more was going on. During a parent teacher conference it was brought to my parents’ attention that I was struggling. Nothing was done at the time and things continued to get worse.
I was hospitalized for the first time at the age of 15. There was a lot going on in my life, and I had finally reached my breaking point. It wasn’t my last hospitalization though. Over the past 8 years I’ve been admitted to various psychiatric hospitals and institutions a total of 11 times, ranging from 3 days to 7 months.
My diagnosis is constantly changing. From major depression to bipolar disorder to borderline personality disorder. Personally I don’t think they know what is going on. I also suffer from severe anxiety though which certainly doesn’t help things.
I’ve been unable to hold a job and have only actually worked for a total of 6 months in my entire life. Which granted I’m only 23 but most people my age are self sufficient and living on their own or with roommates. Even if they are still living at home most have a job or are in college pursuing an education. I don’t even have college as an excuse. I obtained my GED in ’03 and haven’t continued my education any further.
In April of this year I was approved for SSI, Supplemental Security Income. It’s a form of disability for those who don’t qualify for Social Security for whatever reason. It has helped things a little but it doesn’t change the fact that I still am a disabled 23 year old. It’s a horrible feeling really. Maybe it would be easier if it was a physical disability. It’s hard being so young and feeling so incapable.
I get a check every month, a measly $449.34. The money goes quickly as I have bills I have to pay. Even then it still doesn’t cover everything. When I take a look at my life I can’t help but feel like a loser and like I’m a burden to my family. Logically I know none of this is my fault. And I should be thankful I am able to receive some assistance from the government. It’s just easy to lose perspective sometimes.
I’ve had a lot of trauma during my life. From various forms of abuse to losing loved ones, it seems I’ve been through it all. There is still hope I can recover though and go on to lead a normal life. I would encourage others out there in similar situations to not give up. Seek out all of your community resources. Don’t be afraid to lean on your family and friends if they are supportive and willing to help.
Writing for Associated Content has given me the fresh start I desperately needed. I’ve gained confidence and have even started writing a novel. For the first time in a long time I have hope. I’ve gone from a disabled 23 year old to a 23 year old living with a disability.