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Living with Mental Illness

By Alex Cavalier

Being diagnosed with a mental illness is not a death sentence. It does not define a person, but it would be naive of people to deny the fact that having a mental illness does change you. For people with a mental illness who have been suffering in silence, the diagnosis of mental illness can be both a good and bad thing. I can’t speak for others, but for me, being diagnosed explained what I was feeling, and why I was feeling it.

From the age of 12, I have been severely depressed, and it wasn’t until I came to DePaul and began to enter my late teens that things really started to change. Once I entered my late teens, I started experiencing severe mood swings and I was encouraged to visit a psychologist. After my first therapy meeting, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which is on the spectrum of bipolar disorder.

In light of my mental illness, people have treated me as fragile and have thought that everything I say and do will turn into a therapy session, but this is not the case. Mental illness is a part of who I am, not the total package. I want people to know that just because you are depressed and feel alone does not mean you are alone. You are never alone, someone is always around to listen even if it’s just for a moment. If I could tell my younger self any piece of advice, I would tell myself, one phrase: “Step into the Sun” which to me means to not be afraid to ask for help and show people the real me. #youwillbefound