Maddie Heineman and Jadin Reeves | Staff Writers
Alyssa King is a student at CGHS, she is a classmate, she is a dancer, and she may be a friend of yours. But she has a story that needs to be heard. Growing up King knew there was something a little different about her. She didn’t feel normal or like she fit in with the other students at Center Grove. As a fourth grader she developed symptoms for anxiety, come middle school her symptoms were at their fullest.
“I had a great life, and my mental health took that away from me. I stopped looking in the mirror in fear I’d go blind because of how ugly people told me I was,” King states. As a young girl looking in the mirror is typically a normal thing, and with both her own thoughts as well as the thoughts of others it had become its own form of torture. King ended up isolating herself from both her family and friends, which made her struggle one that only she could deal with, which resulted in other hardships for her. One of which was an eating disorder, so she both over and under ate causing her health to go down significantly. Unfortunately, the effect of her depression did not end there.
“It got to the point where I wrote a suicide note, a long one, and several to different people in my family,” King said. “I didn’t want anyone to find it yet so I kept it in my locker at the middle school.” She then opens up about one of the hardest nights of her life.
“That night, I was so down that I was going to take my life. I was twelve-years old and wanted to end my life. So getting ready to do so, I could not find my note because it was at school. That was the only reason I didn’t do it, because no one would find my note.” As a sixth grader King wanted to end her life, she almost did. Looking back at her situation, that note saved her life, and she is grateful for that. However now King says their is another reason for her choice. It was all based on her faith in God. She said she was also thinking ‘I don’t want to go to hell, I want to be in heaven with God.’
After the struggle with her suicide attempt King’s depression and anxiety had not decreased, if anything they became more severe. She had gotten to the point to where her anxiety and depression had morphed into self- harming. Once her parents found out their concern for their daughter increased tremendously. But they were unable to do much to help their daughter. What they were able to do was talk to her. According to King, she and her father are very close and when she was really struggling he talked to her and helped her get through things.
Throughout seventh and eighth grade King had been placed on a suicide watch by her family, who at this point was still unaware of the magnitude of her struggle the year before.
“I couldn’t shut my door and at one point I even had it taken off. I couldn’t be in room for a certain amount of time, it was really a lot of restriction on what I could and couldn’t do,” Alyssa states.
In eighth grade King was finally diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and MDD (major depressive disorder) and put on medication to help her. She went to therapy on a regular basis and also a psychiatrist for her medication. She still struggled, but she was on the hard road to recovery from everything she endured.
Entering high school her workload increased and she joined the dance team. Since high school and dance team consumed so much of her time it allowed King’s depression to take a backseat and she could focus on other things that she enjoyed. She still gets panic attacks, but not like they were before. She is no longer in therapy and she is able to enjoy her life once again. She is supported by her friends and all the girls on the dance team which helps her significantly.
The problem is King is not alone in her feelings of anxiety and depression. There are so many more people feeling like she did. While they might not show exactly how much they may be struggling. Sometimes even if they do show it the people around them might not understand.
King’s advice for anyone in a similar situation would simply be “Find your motivation to keep going. Figure out something that will inspire you to keep pushing forward because especially when you are this young, there are ups for every down. ” It might sound difficult to start, but once you are able to see the positive amongst the negative, things can only go uphill.
King came forward to both raise awareness for depression and the toll it takes on a person. As well as be an example for anyone is a similar situation to her own, and show them they are not alone, as much as it may feel like it at times.