Natalie Pike: Overcoming Obstacles

Natalie Pike: Overcoming Obstacles

Natalie Pike, Guest writer

One of the biggest things I have overcome in life is depression. Dealing with this illness has been one of the most challenging things I have ever had to face. Feeling overwhelmingly exhausted, unmotivated, lonely, hopeless, stressed, unhappy, empty, worthless and at times, suicidal was an everyday occurrence. Depression is a serious mental illness, which can cause your brain to have irregular thought about wanting to end your life or hurt yourself. Depression in teens is more prevalent than ever these days, and it’s important to know you can get help, life does get better, and you can lead to a normal, happy life.

I remember the first time I began having these feelings. It was the summer going into my sophomore year in high school. The negative emotions came out of nowhere. I would cry every night, thinking about how worthless I felt and believing that no one really likes me. A strange feeling that if I were gone tomorrow, no one would care. It is truly a hopeless feeling and a difficult place to drag yourself out of. Somewhere in me, I knew these feelings weren’t logical;  had friends and family who cared about me yet I would never listen to or believe anything they said. They would tell me how much they cared, how much they wanted to help, but it never sunk in. Thankfully, my mom noticed something was not right and I was able to get diagnosed and treated early on and things got a lot better.

However, in the summer of 2014, I was involved in a car accident. The back tire blew and my car rolled several times. I punctured my lung, cut up my body, and had a fairly serious concussion. This, unfortunately, brought on another episode of depression. Additionally, I developed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and any reminders of the accident would cause anxiety. At times, just seeing the healing cuts and cars on my arm would cause flashbacks of the accident. This time, I recognized the symptoms, and knew I would be able to get through it.

I was starting to get a handle on my life again, but my misfortune did not end there. The PTSD caused a severe skin reaction on my face and part of my upper body. It came on overnight, and it wasn’t a mild reaction. It caused severe breakouts, swelling, bleeding and peeling skin. Nothing or any amount of makeup could cover up, though I tried. As if being a teenager isn’t difficult enough, this almost pushed me over the edge. Kids in high school can be so cruel, and I learned social media can quickly become your enemy. People would post pictures of me on Twitter and Instagram that were side b yside comparisons of what my face looked like before the reaction and what it was like at my worst. Kids I didn’t even know from other schools were posting pictures of me on social media. I was called ugly and accused of over editing my photos because people who didn’t know me thought I had always looked like that. I would cry and frantically contact these people; if I didn’t know them I would find someone who did and beg them to remove the posts. My anxiety was at an all-time high and my self esteem was at an all-time low which was a bad combination to say the least.

After seeing several skin specialists, we learned the only medication could speed up the healing of my skin problem had effects of causing severe depression and suicidal thoughts. They did not recommend me trying this. After much consideration, one of the doctors decided that the depression couldn’t get much worse that what I was already experiencing and she handed me the prescription. Thankfully, within a few months my skin was back to normal.

In the world today, it is so easy for kids to become sad or feel inadequate. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and society bombards us with images of “perfect” people. With apps like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, we are always seeing what we are missing out on or being excluded from. We can’t help but compare our lives to the fun we see going around us. There’s a whole new level of bullying that takes place on social media that can be both hurtful and humiliating. In the summer of 2015, I finally started to feel like my old happy go lucky self again. I began opening up to others, giving advice, and the struggles I have been through. As it turns out, I am not alone. Even those who seem to have the perfect lives, the flawless skin, the new car and a huge circle of friends, experience low self esteem and at times wish they had someone else’s life. For some reason. there is comfort in knowing no one’s life is really perfect.

We all face problems, we all have something we wish we were better at. Eventually, I realized that people who take the time to make fun of you, are probably dealing with some pretty big issues of their own, and you can’t base your worth on what they think of you. I’ve taught myself to keep things in perspective and to remember we all have our obstacles.