By Megan Gallagher
I remember being at rock bottom at 15. Yes, at just 15 years old I was at the lowest point of my life. How did I get here? Well, when I started High School, I started getting debilitating panic attacks. They came out of nowhere, it felt. I truly spent most of my time in my classes, trying to hide my panic attacks. I was stuck in survival mode. From that young of an age, to feel so ashamed and embarrassed by this invisible disability felt defeating. For my entire freshman year and half of my sophomore year, I thought I was living in the twilight zone. Every day was me sitting in each class period, for one hour. Just praying I could make it five more minutes. During a time when most students are planning their future or thinking of what College to go to, I just wanted to make it five more minutes. I was stuck in this tortuous cycle of daily panic attacks, trying to self-soothe and barely function the rest of the day. I was hanging on by one tiny tiny thread. My grades were all C’s and D- 's, I was making unhealthy choices in my personal life and I was a massive people pleaser. Toward the end of my sophomore year, I was in my math class when I asked the teacher if I could go to the bathroom. That was my normal routine of covering up my panic attacks, I would grab the hall pass and run off to the restroom. I would sit in a stall until I felt more calm. On this specific day though, as I left my math class and walked into the cold hallway, I felt flushed. I jogged into the girls bathroom and picked the stall I always sat in. As I sat down on the toilet, with the lid on, I peered around at all of the graffiti and writing on the stall walls. I took a breath and noticed how quiet it was. It was ice cold in that bathroom. The only thing I heard in that bathroom was the hum of the generator from next door. It was my safe place. I could escape the chaos in my head for a brief moment, giving me headspace. As I took another breath, I looked down at the white tiles on the ground, I noticed the groove of each square and how many there were in the bathroom. It then hit me like a lightning bolt in my head, I realized that at 15 years old, I didn’t see a future for myself. I never saw myself graduating, going to college, becoming an adult or having a family one day. It was a scary epiphany to have at that age. I then knew I wanted to get help. I was at rock bottom and I wanted different. I actually wanted to feel better and evolve. It took asking my parents for help and being brave, yet I wouldn’t trade anything for the world. My journey was uniquely for me, if that experience hadn't happened then I wouldn’t be the motivational speaker, author, TV Host, or advocate that I am. It all happened FOR me! I truly hope that my story inspires anyone that is in that dark place, I know how it feels. It can swallow you whole and make you feel that you’re not a human, but a shell of a human. I’m here to let you know that there is hope! You should never give up on your mental health. I believe in you!