Many of us in the mental illness community can trace our “story” from the very beginnings, and many stories start when we were teenagers. In my own experience when I was a teenager, I never wanted people to know, or to tell my story. I wonder all the time what would have happened if had gotten help as a teenager? That is what makes Taylor’s story— a young woman from Knoxville, Tennessee— all the more amazing. At age nineteen Taylor has already been through so much, and yet she was willing the be featured on the Bipolar Writer blog, this is Taylor’s story. One we can all learn a few things from her journey.
(Taylor’s blog) https://taysblog2017.com/
Taylor’s Interview Feature
When a journey begins, it is usually at the point where life and mental illness starts crashing into one another. Taylor’s journey begins four years ago in 2014, with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety. In October 2014, Taylor attempted suicide for the first time by trying to overdose on 105 painkillers.
“I sent one of my best friends a suicide note, through text, expecting not to wake up the next morning,” Taylor explains. “To my disappointment, at the time, I did wake up.”
The next day Taylor’s friend, believing that her friend had committed suicide, was hysterical. Taylor’s other friends were clueless as to why her friend was crying hysterically, and it was at this moment that she told her friends what she had done.
“They ended up telling my guidance counselor because I told them I did plan on doing it again and no one was going to stop me. I was so sick mentally that I couldn’t see past the darkness.”
Taylor looks at her life before her illness with so much light. It was a time of happiness being surrounded by family and friends. Life was more natural when Taylor had the coping mechanisms to deal with life, it was a life where she found goodness in everything. Then, what seemed so sudden, life was changing. It reached a point where Taylor couldn’t take it anymore.
“By that, I mean, I couldn’t just smile every time I had a personal problem and acknowledge them,” Taylor talks about the experience. “My problems became more frequent, and I couldn’t handle all the negative changes in my life, all at once. I just had enough, and I didn’t know how to cope with it.”
Taylor describes life before her mental illness like a sugar rush, and when it became too much, she crashed. It became a deterioration of her mental illness, and it led her to suicide.
To get through a single day, Taylor turns to her faith and talks to God. Taylor is very religious, and she grew up with her father as a preacher and now a pastor. It helps Taylor to connect with her parents daily because they serve as her closest confidants and best friends— especially her mother.
“I am so greatful for the constant pushes they give me everyday to be productive, eat, and take my medicine. The simple things.”
Every day is a constant battle for Taylor with herself. At a level, Taylor wants to get better, but the motivation to do anything on any given day can seem impossible at times. When she isn’t in class, you can often find Taylor sleeping in bed. It is physically hard most days for Taylor to put her feet on the ground. Just to get ready for school is exhausting because Taylor finds herself once again in the throes of not being mental well in the present.
“I am nineteen-years-old and my parents still have to call me and remind me to take my medicine otherwise I won’t,” Taylor explains about taking her medication. “Not because I don’t want to get better, but because I don’t like the way it makes me physically feel when I take my medication. I feel sick and lethargic when I take my medicine, but I also feel happy and satisfied. It is a constant battle of wanting to feel good physically or mentally.”
At only nineteen, mental illness has already changed Taylor, and she has grown accustomed to being alone. It makes her less social and more of a hardcore introvert when the Taylor before was more extrovert. It is easier in her life to be extremely antisocial, and Taylor often finds herself doing things on her own.
The struggle to deal with life with a mental illness can be severe for a young woman still trying to find her place in this world. It has resulted in the loss of many of her friends because it is easier for Taylor to push people away because of the constant ups and downs of her struggles. Taylor understands that this is a part of her life now, but it is never easy.
There is one positive thing that Taylor wanted to share in this interview feature:
”I want the mental illness community to know that it is okay to not be okay. I have had to learn that myself. People with mental illnesses already see themselves as a burden, so they don’t press their issues on others causing a buildup within themselves until they just snap. We can only handle so much. I want this community to know if they or someone they know are not feeling like themselves lately please seek help and talk to someone. I am always here anyone and everyone— always,” Taylor explains.
Taylor has discovered the therapeutic feeling of writing her feelings and thoughts within the confines of her blog. It is fantastic for Taylor to share her thoughts and help others like herself being young in this mental illness life. In her own experiences, Taylor expresses the wish that she had someone in her darkest of hours.
“Whenever I am having a bad day, I focus on my blog, or ways I can advocate for mental health. I want to help someone who is possibly on the verge of ending their own life. My overall goal is to help people while also helping myself. I do that by acknowledging my own struggles, pain, and letting others know it is okay to do so.”
Taylor is thankful for the people in her life that make living worth it in the end, and her family and friends mean the world. It brings Taylor to tears thinking about the family and friends that stuck around helping her become a better version of herself. Taylor is forever thankful for those people.
“I am also a huge fan of Scandals lead actress Kerry Washington and singer Beyoncé,” Taylor explains about things that make life worth living. “I know it sounds silly, but Kerry’s advocacy and how she lights up a room every time she steps it has helped me so much in my recovery. Beyoncé’s music has soothed me and has made me feel empowered in more ways than one.”
It would not be the last time that Taylor has tried to take her life since 2014. On some occasions during the previous four years, Taylor has found herself in the hospital after a suicide attempt. On her, last suicide attempt, in particular, landed Taylor in intensive outpatient therapy which has been her start to the road to recovery. Taylor expresses that she is grateful for her last suicide attempt because she survived— its another chance at redemption and recovery.
You can find more on Taylor on her blog:
I always take great care to share a story on one of my fellow mental illness bloggers and Taylor’s story is one that needs to be told. The fact that Taylor is so young and is finding her way in this mental illness life makes for a fantastic story. I know in my heart that we will hear great things from Taylor in the future.
Interviewer: James Edgar Skye