Hi. My name is Emma Elise. I graduated valedictorian of my 8th grade class, and salutatorian of my high school class. In high school, I was a member of almost every club and honor society, and played on the varsity lacrosse, basketball, and swim teams. Now, I am a “super-senior” at the University of Florida, and a member of the Honors College there. I am part of three academic honor societies, and play on the Women’s Club Lacrosse team. This is the story of my life that one may gather from a resume or application. However, this isn’t the true story of me.
Let me reintroduce myself. My name is Emma Elise, and I am not perfect. I never will be, because humans are not perfect. What makes each of us unique is our imperfections. However, I struggle daily with accepting this fact.
In third grade, I came home from school one day crying. I told my mom that I felt suicidal. I was sick of being bullied and wanted to “accidentally” fall off the monkey bars and break my neck. My mom cried and hugged me, but we never spoke about it again. In high school, my parents discovered that I had started cutting myself. For about a week, they checked me every night after my shower to make sure that I had stopped. Yet I still did not see a therapist, and soon all seemed to be forgotten. My sophomore year of college, I finally went to the Counseling and Wellness Center at my university. I didn’t tell my parents for about three months. But once I did tell them, they realized the type of help I truly needed.
Now, I am seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist in my college town. I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I am a former self-injurer.
I’m telling you all this because I want each of you to realize that you have a story. I have seen so many other bloggers touch on the subjects or self-injury, eating disorders, and other mental illnesses. For those of you that self-injure, know that each of your scars has a story – the story of what triggered you that day, what you were feeling, and most importantly, the big reason that you self-injure in the first place. The same is true for eating disorders. For me, the deeper story was my OCD, constantly pulling me in two different directions, and preventing the real me from shining through.
What I want to stress to each of you is how important it is to reach out for help. I know how scary it seems. You may worry about being judged and feeling isolated. But I promise you, that won’t happen. Turning to your friends and family is a good first step. But try to understand that they don’t always know what to do, or how to handle such a situation. My parents knew, but didn’t know how to handle this blip within our seemingly perfect family. I spoke to my friends, but none of them knew how to help without making me feel betrayed. You have to find the strength to reach out and ask for professional help yourself.
I found the strength to do so just in time. I found the strength once I was in college, one of the most pivotal moments of your life. I found the strength right before I had a major breakdown. Now, I have medically withdrawn from my fifth semester in a row at UF, and will be re-entering college this coming semester as a mere part-time student, taking only one class. I am doing more intensive therapy for my depression, anxiety, & OCD. I am constantly keeping an eye out for other potential treatment options. While all of this may sound scary, it is what I truly need to get better. Through therapy, I have already made great strides. I have not self-injured in over a year. And I plan on continuing to get better.
To any readers that may be struggling, I want to emphasize how important it is that you reach out for help now, at this point in your life. Whether you are in middle school, high school, college, or even already working in the real world, today’s world is a very hard time for anyone dealing with problems such as these. And not to sound scary, but things can get a lot harder from here on out. As time passes, you will acquire more responsibilities and find new dreams and goals. Taking a life detour in order to seek the help you need will only seem harder as this time passes. So I ask each of you one more time to reach out for help while you have this opportune chance. Don’t waste one more minute. The sooner you start to get better means that you will be able to reenter a normal life much sooner and much happier. You will not regret it.
And before I sign off, I want to give each of you full access to me 24/7. So once again, my name is Emma Elise, and I am always here for you. If you need me urgently, you can AOL Instant Message (AIM) or KIK me at itsemmaelise. Or, you can make use of my handy ask box on here. You are always free to contact me any time, even in the middle of the night. I will always help you and provide my best advice, without judgment. I have experience doing so in the past, and hope to help anyone else that may need it. I look forward to hopefully hearing from some of you and learning your stories, and to provide mentoring and guidance as needed. Good luck, and I hope each of you can one day tell your story to help others, just like I have told you mine.
Thank you for being my followers!