At the young age of 13, mental illness began to emerge. My childhood, worry-free and fully immersed within my family and my friendships, changed forever. Life would never be the same again. I headed towards a future of uncertainty and confusion. Despite the pain, I chose to stay silent. I told no one. Not even family. I didn’t want the scare them. I just wanted to be a normal kid. I paid the price. Over the years, from high school, to university, to fulltime teaching, problems persisted and things only got worse, yet I continued to live a lie in fear of judgement and prejudice. This silence would ultimately lead to a complete breakdown at the age of 26. It would take a miracle to get back on track.
You cannot do this alone. I learned this the hard way. Severe illness got out of control. I often wonder what life would have been like had I spoken up early on. I would have had loving support surrounding me and numerous strategies to prevent a major fall. Prevention is EARLY intervention. I know that now. You need to know that. My road to healing was long, steep, and painful. Healing does happen. I am proof of this. But it took me a full decade to heal and get my life back. There is a better way. Speak up NOW. Get help NOW. Heal NOW.
I have come to realize the utmost importance of having people by your side during your challenging times. Reach out to a parent, a friend, a loved one. Reach out to me, to anyone. There are always people to talk to. Talking is life saving. -Chris Nihmey