“I am not my mono-phobia”

Throughout my life, I have been told that I am someone special. I have a huge heart, I love my family and friends unabashedly so, I make people laugh, and I feel very deeply. Little do most people realize, my apparent love of life has not always truly reflected what has been inside my heart and mind. Life has not been easy to me. In fact, at times, it has been seemingly unbearable.

As if things weren’t difficult enough being a kid who had been in the middle of a hostile divorce, I was teased and taunted by my classmates from a young age. “Midget with a mustache!” yelled my peers later on, targeting me for my short stature and dark facial hair. My body, my ethnicity, my fashion sense; none of it was off limits, especially during elementary school. As middle school began, I was so used to it that I started to eat lunches alone in the bathroom just to avoid the cruelty that lurked just outside. By isolating myself, the mean and hurtful words of my classmates became my own thoughts. Even though they seemed to be my worst enemies, I sadly began to agree with them. From there on out, things only got increasingly more difficult. At 11, I first started seeing a therapist. At 12, I first self-harmed. At 13, I was diagnosed with a learning disability. At 16, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after panic attacks landed me in the hospital. At 18, I was getting in trouble for public intoxication as a college freshman, and at 19 and 20 I was using alcohol, drugs and sex as a means of distracting myself from the emptiness I felt inside. At 21, I had gotten myself into a frighteningly codependent relationship. At 22, I was so severely depressed and suicidal that I was deemed a danger to myself and was forced to spend several days in a psychiatric hospital. The kids in school had been bad, but I had become my own worst enemy.

A lot of medication and a lot of therapy later, I am 24 and living a happier life than I thought possible just two years ago. For the most part, I am very happy, but dealing with my mental health is still a big part of my life. My depression and anxiety are exacerbated by loneliness, and thus, I have trained myself to fear being alone. I know it is something I should welcome and treasure, but I am not there yet.

Thankfully, I have always had amazing friends and family to support me. They love me unconditionally and have been a driving force in helping me in my journey to find self-love and self-acceptance. They help me celebrate my accomplishments and recognize all that I have to offer myself and the world. I know that with their help and my own motivation, one day I will not fear being alone, but embrace it. Until then, I will always be thinking to myself, “Is anyone there?”