The wear and tear mental illness brings

Caleb Spencer

My bipolar depression affects my life every day.

After being diagnosed at the start of 2019, I have been able to monitor myself better and even started medication shortly thereafter. I feel comfortable reaching out to friends and family about what I’m feeling, but it hasn’t always been like this. Before I knew what was wrong, I let my depression control my life, and it almost took it all away from me.

At this time last year, I was beyond excited to get started in my AP Chemistry class at Andale High School. After passing college chemistry my junior year, I was excited to see what challenges the AP class would have for me. I tried my hardest in the last two chemistry classes and passed with flying colors, and wanted my success to continue with this class and continue into college, where I wanted to major in Chemical Engineering.

Turns out, AP Chemistry is not an easy course. I started to fall behind, and I couldn’t find time between my job and cross country to catch back up. Time management has never been my best skill, and it was hurting me badly early in the semester.

Different stresses started building on each other. My coach was mad that I was leaving practice early for work, and my manager was mad I wasn’t getting to work early enough. Late assignments started piling up on my desk, and when I looked at them, they looked back with shame in their eyes. I started to hate every moment of being awake.

I felt stuck. I was going through the same routine every day and nothing ever changed. Nothing ever mattered, nothing felt impactful, and I needed something to happen so that I could get out of this rut. I quit cross country, and that helped for a while, but the feeling didn’t last.

My grades were plummeting more and more, but I couldn’t find the time or interest to do anything about it. I started being less of a class clown and more of a cynical, rude person to my friends and teachers. It never crossed my mind that I should reach out to someone.

Even when friends would ask if I was OK, I would tell them it was fine, that there was nothing to worry about, a pointless lie to hide a massive problem.

I didn’t trust myself to drive alone. I didn’t trust myself with sharp objects at work. I didn’t think I would reach graduation, and in hindsight, it’s practically a miracle I’m able to write about it today. My ray of sunshine I carried with me had left a long time ago and didn’t show any sign of coming back.

Through all of this, I was able to carry myself to the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. I’m confident that I wouldn’t be able to say this without the support of my friends, family and especially my therapist. Speaking from personal experience, please reach out to people if you’re going through a tough time. People care about you.

The number for the National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255, and the Hutchinson mental health crisis number is 1-800-794-0163 or 620-665-2299.

Caleb Spencer is a freshman studying Journalism.

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