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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Mental illness is not embarrassing

Mental+illness+is+not+embarrassing
Whitney Veazey

I grew up in a broken family. Not only that, but I was born into a family where anxiety and depression is just something that we all had. It was our normal, so feeling down and anxious was nothing new to me. Because of this I had always made jokes about maybe one day having to take a vacation to the grippy sock place, but I never thought that one day it would become my reality.  

The end of 2023 was probably one of the worst in my life. It was filled with COVID, a dead kitten, and a break up. These last two months of my life have been nothing short of painful. Quite frankly, these things led to a crash in my mental stability. I skipped classes and made excuses for myself. I stayed in bed and just completely rotted for days, and I stopped eating, and lost over 30 pounds in a month. 

Needless to say, the tail end of 2023 sucked. I knew I needed help, so I asked. This resulted in something I am absolutely humiliated of, a trip to the hospital, and not just for physical sickness, I checked myself into a mental institution. Nobody tells you how dehumanizing it is to sit in an ER with no access to your phone and in paper scrubs, but all of those feelings don’t even compare to how low it feels to be suicidal. Nobody tells you how much regret can come with you asking for help at first. 

I have always been someone who has struggled. It’s taboo and honestly something I never saw for my future, but for five days I was in Decatur Morgan Hospital. I woke up at 6 am everyday, had lots of therapy sessions, and left with some scary explanations. I was diagnosed with multiple things, but the one that has resonated the most is OCD. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was always something that was described to me as extreme cleanliness and being organized. Here’s what mine is like, an intrusive thought pops into my head and most of the time they do involve self harm. This thought then becomes all I can think about, it becomes my life, despite me not wanting to hurt myself, it becomes so overwhelming to not give into these thoughts that the only solution I can think of is to die. These spirals are helped significantly by medication, which is what my time in the hospital was for. 

People with OCD typically develop strange distractions or coping mechanisms. For me, I count syllables, constantly. Regardless of the situation I am weirdly counting syllables and separating them into increments of 4. I also have the more stereotypical OCD tendencies like having to have things in a certain order. Organization is not something that I have to have like others, but organization in a way that is pleasing to my brain is what I need. 

Coming back into my real life sucked. Your time in the hospital becomes safe and secure. You are surrounded by doctors and other people who just get it, who are not judgemental. When you leave, you also leave your bubble of safety. I was terrified to go back to work or my apartment, but knew it was what was best.

I’m not just a woman with OCD, but sometimes it feels like I am. It’s difficult to not completely give into your mental illnesses. They are so ingrained in your being, but you are not them. I have been shameful these past two months of my mental state, and I know now that I shouldn’t be, it’s simply just life. Help is available regardless of how large or not your support system is. You deserve to live, you deserve to be, and so do I. Your mental health will always be more important than anything in this world, especially what people think of you.

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About the Contributors
Amberly Brown, Staff Writer
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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