“Eight hours in the psychiatric wing of an emergency room was just dipping my toe into the deep end of mental illness, mental health recovery, and psychiatric treatment. I was just fifteen years old, but it felt as though I had aged by twenty years. I was staring down the barrel of a dual diagnosis of depression and anxiety. It was suffocating. When my deep-seated pain came bubbling to the surface, it became difficult to hide my struggle. It soon hit my parent’s radar that something wasn’t right, and they were the ones who rushed me to the hospital.
Since that first hospital visit I have spent eight years learning about mental health. A few of those years weren’t voluntary, but I came to realize that investing in my treatment, and myself, was the only way I would heal. After years of battling privately, I spoke to a group of individuals who sat in the same hospital chairs I had once sat in. That moment was exhilarating. It felt as though my purpose for suffering through my illness had finally revealed itself to me.
I have since become an advocate, sharing my story through both speaking and writing. I even began my own brand ‘The Infinite Project’, to share my message; the message focuses on the concept of infinity. In my illness I always saw my life as finite. Everything was black and white. But now I see grey. I see that life has infinite possibilities and infinite paths.
Mental illness will not hold me back from experiencing a life filled with no limits. I share my story to instil that same ideal in others along their road to recovery. I am currently planning my first mental health event and putting together the outline for my first book. Nobody should have to battle alone, and I intend to see people through their struggle. Infinity is ours for the taking.”
This is an extract from an interview I carried out with Mallory Gothelf, a mental health advocate and founder of The Infinite Project.
Are you a mental health advocate? What is your story?