This fall I will be enrolling at College of the Canyons. Although I was accepted into a school in the MidWest, I chose to stay because it did not feel like home— COC is a great school so I need not to worry. Right now, I want to major in Business Economics and hopefully transfer out to UCLA or UC Irvine. I feel like Business Economics is my calling because I want to go into Hospital Administration and help out with the way hospitals are ran in the United States. I have been on a 72 hour hold and I saw my psychiatrist three times in the four days (they kept me for a little bit longer because it was a weekend) and the therapist once. That is in no way “help.” The saddest part is that my story isn’t too different from many others. 72 hour holds are not what they should be and the flaws in the way we treat mental health is ridiculous to me and I consider them the reason why we lose beautiful souls.
People should not be afraid to reach out for help— It’s hard enough as it is, but to receive “help” that only hurts them is ridiculous. We spend the most money on our healthcare out of any nation in the world and yet we treat people with mental illness by basically locking them away and popping pills in them. I almost wish my story was an outlier, but it’s not and it needs to change— and I consider it to be my calling to create change. Living life with a mental illness is rough, but it has only made me stronger. My junior and senior year was rough. I transferred schools twice within a year because I felt as though my old school did not have my best interests in mind, and being in a war with my BiPolarism, I was desperately losing. The light that I had for most of my life had left me. While I was “stable,” an empty feeling always resonated within me. Education had always been my outlet, so I carried on despite my struggles. When I should have been focusing on school, my junior year consisted of many trips to the therapist’s office, trying various medications. Many nights were spent hysterically suffering due to adverse side effects and feelings of hopelessness. I saw no solution. This dark moment in my life nearly led to me taking my life away. My life felt like a maze; I had no clue how to get out. As you can see, my transcript reflects my fall. I was merely a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and had this happened any later in my life, the consequences could have been much worse. Never had I felt more as a human than a person. I was a walking shell recovering, and then one day, I knew I had a mission: to help out those with mental illness, which is where my idea for “The Sunshine Project” stemmed from. The more vocal I had become about my condition, the more people opened up about theirs too. I knew my job was to serve as a leader for the community and help out others that were in my position. The Sunshine Project consists of me and a few friends I gathered and we deliver sunflower care packages. So far we have delivered 357 sunflowers, and my work has gone to be recognized even when that was never my intention. ABC 7 News chose me to be their “Cool Kid” and gave me a segment on the news. My biggest prize though is that I have been able to touch the lives of 357 individuals. From peers to parents, the care packages have been able to serve as a medium to help people reach out for the help they need. I am only one person with a mission to help out as many people as I can, but bigger than that, I seek to make improvements where they are needed. No experience is a tragedy if we can improve ourselves from it. I know I’m playing with fire by being open about my health condition, but we need people to take on that role because if we don’t— we lose lives. If sharing my story means I can help even just one person, then it will have been worth all the effort.