Learning to Not Take Yourself for Granted
How a health scare taught me about myself.
It was the summer of 2013. I had just begun to, as Kylie Jenner would say, ~realize things~. It started with a brief feeling of loneliness, but swiftly escalated into a depressive episode. And boy, did that episode seem to last forever.
As the weeks, months, and even years went on, the depression and loneliness kept increasing. Like all people who have struggled through similar situations, I had to live in denial and oblivion for awhile. You know, the whole “I’m just a little bummed out” and “I’ll get over it” situation. I needed professional help, and only a mental health expert could provide therapeutic and medicinal aid for a person like me. But I kept on denying what was necessary.
Then came the bullying; they were so cruel. Being pushed around made me feel even more belittled and unworthy. I hated who I saw in the mirror every morning. I asked myself the same question every day: “Why would anyone love me? Am I even worth it?”
The girls’ comments continued—about my body, my capabilities, my friendships and relationships, even my family. After a year or so, a slight miracle happened. One day, the bullying stopped. Or maybe I just stopped caring what those meaningless comments meant...because I knew they meant nothing, and they never did. And it was marvelous to be able to walk through the hallways like the queen I am, not fearing some snarky laughter or moronic taunts.
For a while, everything was OK, but the loneliness kept coming. Here’s the thing: Apparently, humans cannot undo depression on their own. Even if they feel better, they still have the illness and they need professional help. Finally, I relented and went to a number of psychiatrists and psychologists in order to find one that could provide me the treatment I needed. I eventually found a doctor I liked who prescribed me antidepressants and therapy.
While my mind started to feel better, my body was falling apart. After feeling a severe pain in my mouth, I met with so many doctors. Even the best immunity doctor in the entire country wasn’t capable of properly diagnosing and treating me. I became even more depressed.
At long last, I learned that I was struggling with a rare, terminal, incurable autoimmune disease called pemphigus vulgaris, which attacks the skin and mucus membranes. For two weeks, I was slowly dying. I could feel my body malfunctioning and crashing. When I just couldn’t take it anymore, I demanded to be hospitalized.
Surprisingly, this moment was a very bright time in my life. Between the antidepressants and the steroids, I was beginning to feel like myself. Once I was released from the hospital, I started preparing for my finals (and may I say, I actually got straight As for the first time ever!). It was almost as if I needed to hit rock bottom in order to finally achieve my full potential.
Finally, I’m working on rehabilitating myself into someone I am profoundly proud of. And I think—after years and years of trying—I am actually, finally getting there.
By Nouran Awny, 17