Hey guys! Today’s post is going to be more personal than we usually do. I want to talk about my personal struggles with mental illness and how the book community saved my life.
I want to start by saying that I’ve always loved reading. I always read past my bed time as a child and I always had a book with me. However, I didn’t used to be as passionate about it as I am now. There was a year (which I’m gonna talk about) that I didn’t really read at all.
I’m a really emotional person. I get this from my dad, who is the most emotional person I know. Seriously, he cries just thinking about the day my brother and I were born. I’ve always felt a heightened sense of every emotion and I’ve always been very sensitive.
The time period in my life that was hardest for me was middle school. I know, I know. Middle school was bad for EVERYONE. I had an exceptionally bad experience. I was bullied a lot. In 8th grade, I had to get a schedule change to get away from these two girl who WOULD NOT LEAVE ME ALONE. They made fun of everything I did. I dressed differently, which made me a target. I also carried myself looking scared and fragile.
I had a lot of friend drama in 8th grade. There was one girl (who I’m not going to name, but if you know me you know who it is) who ruined by 8th grade year. She was my BEST FRIEND in 7th grade and in the beginning of 8th grade. She became an awful person, she still is. She made me hate all of our friends and left me friendless. It all went downhill after that.
Let’s jump ahead.
On June 10th, 2015, I shared my story on Twitter. I wrote about my struggle with depression and how I got over it.
Here’s the tweet:
This has been really hard for me to share. Please read. pic.twitter.com/AmLhTpAHPs
— Deanna (@deannareads) June 10, 2015
The responses that I got were incredible. People were so kind to me. They thanked me for my story and made me feel so, so, so loved. I cried a lot that day. Not for the reasons I talked about in the tweet, but for all of the kind words and people that have made my life so much better. Cat, Wesaun, Helena, Kristina, Stacie, Nori, Lisa, Ryan, and others–thank you so much.
The YA community has truly saved my life. When I started 9th grade, I was ok. I wasn’t great, but I wasn’t bad either. The thing that truly transformed my life was this. I have made so many new friends. I’m crying while I write this post, just thinking of all the amazing people that have touched me. I immersed myself fully in books and forgot about my troubles. Things were good. And guess what? They still are good! Even when I’m fighting with my friends or my family, I know that you guys are always there for me. I will never again become the girl I once was. Why? I will always have you guys. I can always rely on you to give me a kind word to a virtual shoulder to cry on.
I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t discovered this. I was halfway to recovery when I found this community. It wouldn’t have taken much to break me back down. You guys are the ones who built me into the strong, confident girl that I am today.
Honestly? I still have anxiety. That’s never going to go away. But I’m not sad anymore.
In 10th grade now, I am great! I have two really close best friends at school and a bunch of other friends. I am happy. I have activities and hobbies. I am the president of my school’s book club, I’m in theatre, I’m on the QuizBowl time, and I regularly spend time with my friends outside of school. Things are really good. I’m eternally grateful for this community. It’s such a wonderful place and it truly saved my life.