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GVSU student shares story of mental health to raise awareness

What happens when a lifetime’s worth of tragedy is forced into that of a 22-year-old?


If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

/Lucas Saye

What happens when a lifetime’s worth of tragedy is forced into that of a 22-year-old? 

I interviewed a Grand Valley State University student who wishes to remain anonymous and to only be referred to with the pronouns she/her. To understand her motivations and decision-making processes, we must first know her background.

Born into a family lacking compassion or love, she became an immediate burden. Plagued by the death of her father shortly after birth, and the abandonment by her mother just four years into life, she became an orphan, delivered to the nearest relatives within close proximity to her former home—her grandparents. Her adolescent years were spent taking emotional and physical abuse from other students, which added to the development of her impermeably-calloused personality.

When asked to describe her mental health, she responded: 

"I’ve always struggled with severe anxiety and depression, like I was born into it. I just have to deal with it in different ways as I age. Depression has gotten much better over the past year and I feel like I’m at my best right now. Anxiety is more about big picture things instead of little insignificant ones. Stress is at an all time high with working full-time and going to school full-time for a medical program."

When asked about how she manages her mental health, she responded:

"I’m on antidepressants, and have been for years. There are a lot of days and nights when I have to punch the wall because there’s so much tension built-up inside of my mind; it needs to get out somehow."

When asked to describe her relationships with others, namely friends, classmates, relatives, and partner, she responded: 

"I've got a very select few friends because I value true friendships; I’ve got about four. I don’t like other women usually, always have had older women friends or males. I don’t talk to classmates unless it’s a group project. I keep to myself. I’m there to learn, not socialize. I don’t care for making new friends. I’ve grown distant with my relatives over the past couple of years. Never had much family anyways, but even what I have now, everyone’s becoming distant. As for my boyfriend and I, we get along fine, we don’t really argue, more like bickering old people. At the end of the day, we love each other and he makes me the happiest."

Through close companionship, intense counseling, and steady medication, she has begun to regain her life and find hope in the things and people that matter to her.

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