Shattering Stigmas: A Personal Essay by Dana from Devour Books with Dana

Welcome to the fifth day of Shattering Stigmas! From now until October 22 I’ll be highlighting voices from the book community on mental health. I’m co-hosting this event with Taylor from Stay on the Page, Shannon from It Starts at Midnight, and Amber from YA Indulgences so make sure to check their blogs out each day to see different content.

Content Warnings: self-harm, suicide attempt

When Mari posted about this, I jumped at the opportunity to talk about mental health. Honestly I had so many ideas for things I could talk about.  I wanted to talk about my mental health and how isolated it makes me feel and how that makes my mental health worse, I wanted to talk about how being in an abusive relationship had destroyed my mental health and then I wanted to talk about how with my anxiety, the littlest thing can send me down a rabbit hole that I can’t get out of. I even thought about writing about how terrible the counseling offered at my college was. 

After much deliberation and typing up most of a post about my previously abusive relationship, I ended up with a post about my current mental health state and feeling isolated.  

Here’s a little bit about me first off: My name is Dana and I’m 22 years old. When I was 13, I started to self harm because at least that way I could understand why I was hurting. When I was 15, I tried to kill myself for the first time. It wouldn’t be the last time I tried to take my own life.

At one point, I was sent to the hospital and they set me up with a therapist who I saw for three years until I left for college and then I saw her whenever I went home. While seeing her I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I remember her calling it a dangerous combination because even if an issue wasn’t as big as I thought, my anxiety made it bigger and then I would get depressed which could lead to me trying again.

Even now about 6-7 years later, that’s still true. Even though I haven’t actively tried to kill myself in about two years, I get overwhelmed by the smallest things. The other day I had to write a blog post, clean my room and read and I ended up getting so worked up about it, that I got nothing done. I felt like I couldn’t breathe because I knew I was wasting my day but I also felt like water was holding me down because everything was pointless. 

Lately, the thoughts of killing myself have been coming back. There is so much going on in my life right now. I get married in November and have been planning my wedding since April 2018. We are currently less than two months out and every time I fight with Alice, I’m afraid she will leave me. One of my grandparents is sick, another just got charged with a DUI and is facing jail time, my uncle recently got out of jail (again) and in about a year, my in laws who I live with are moving and we either need to move out before then or go with them across the country. I started a new job as a host at a restaurant which I was doing at 16 so I feel like even though six years have passed, nothing in my life has changed. None of these things are things I can control which makes it even harder. 

Having anxiety is isolating because I feel like reaching out to anyone would only be bothering them. Even writing this post, I am starting to get upset and uncomfortable because what if someone gets mad at me? What if they think I’m annoying and what I’m upset about isn’t that big a deal? What if I should have wrote the other post?  At this time, without health insurance (hello another stressor), I can’t afford to see a therapist so I tend to try to bottle things up and end up exploding. I’ve gone back to living each day one at a time, thinking of something I need to do the next day as a reason not to try again.

I hate that my mental health makes me feel isolated and alone when I know there are people who love and care for me. I hate that I feel ashamed for bringing these things into the open. I wish I could ask for help or someone to listen without feeling like I am a bother and worthless. 

I think I might still post my story about my previously abusive relationship one day over on my blog if I can ever find a way to make it fit because it is so important to talk about. Big thank you to Mari for hosting this and allowing us to talk about our mental health. 

If anyone ever needs a friendly shoulder, you guys can feel more than welcome to reach out to me. The best way to reach me is Twitter. 

Dana is Hufflepuff and proud, a 22 year old YA book reader with a book list the size of a mountain, and loves blue skies, sunshine, music that makes her feel things, Disney and her soon to be wife. You can find her talking about books on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and her blog.

Want to win two mental health related books? Enter through the Rafflecopter form and good luck!

21 thoughts on “Shattering Stigmas: A Personal Essay by Dana from Devour Books with Dana”

  1. This series is so important and I think it’s amazing that you’re opening up the floor for people in the book community on mental health, I’m definitely learning a lot + it’s such an incredible way to connect with people and realise that mental health issues can affect us all in a variety of ways. Wishing Dana all the best for her future and a big congrats on her upcoming wedding 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just want to pop up in here and say that you’re doing amazing, and that I wish nothing more but for great things to come your way. I know how you feel and I just want to say that you’re so strong and I’m here for you. I hope the wedding turns out the way you want it and even more ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh, I think my heart burst reading this because I felt so much of this and it’s so difficult. As a teenager, I also struggled with self-harm. I still do, honestly, but it’s no longer the same ways. Depression and Anxiety is a huge paradoxical struggle.

    I seriously feel you with the anxiety of needing to do things but not being able to because they just seem SO much but then you end up doing none of it and then being depressed over that. In college I procrastinated so much, it just seemed so hard to do everything that I’d put it off to the last minute.

    Today, I slept for the majority of the day. It was Saturday, the weekend, one of my two days off and I just wasted it. I just slept. I had things I could have done but I didn’t because I was just sleeping.

    The part about having so much going on (congrats on your engagement!) and not having much control over it hit me too. It’s so hard to reach out, especially with anxiety, but if you don’t, you feel worse but if you do, you still feel worse. And somehow all that can just lead back to depression. I really hate the combination.

    Lastly, I understand the thoughts as well:
    *Suicidal ones
    *Anxiety ones

    I feel like I say this a lot, but it’a just so ‘hard’. I am so glad that you are still here and still trying.

    Therapy is so expensive, I just started going last month and I’m already drowning trying to pay for it every other week. It’s awful and it leads to worse feelings because, “No. sorry, can’t afford it this week. Maybe next week” but what do you do when you DO need it that weekend?

    I think we have to take things one day at a time. Sometimes that’s all we can do. Just keep going for 24 hours. Thank you for sharing. 🧡🧡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad this post resonated with you so much, Amber! Thank you for helping continue the conversation by sharing so much about the specific parts you understood and related to. I’ll make sure Dana sees your comment.

      Also, I’m so glad you’re still here and fighting. The world is brighter with you in it!


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