For me, working through depression and anxiety has been a long, tiring journey. It started when I was ending my sophomore year of high school. I was in a relationship where he only wanted me for my body and we had no real connection. He used me to get what he wanted. During that time, my parents separated and a few weeks later, we found out that my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after, the guy I was dating broke up with me. I was absolutely devastated because he was my first everything. I dealt with all of this in a very unhealthy way, I went online and sent pictures to random people. I was withdrawing from everyone, I lost my friends, I locked myself alone in my room away from my family. My mom eventually found out and she took me to see a therapist, which I thought was super lame and stupid at the time. I was quiet and didn’t talk much to anyone. As I began working through my issues with my therapist, I told her about my love of photography. She told me about therapeutic photography and I decided I wanted to better myself so I started doing it. Photography was pretty much all I had in the months of summer between my sophomore and junior year. My therapist and I worked through the process of finding myself, my values, and who I wanted to become. I went through a year of constant ups and downs, figuring out medication and fighting against the negativity inside of me.
But eventually, my depression came back and it hit me harder than ever. It was on Halloween last year and I had started cutting again. I went to the doctor for one of my monthly checkups to make sure my meds were working and I was healthy. They gave me those forms you have to fill out, rating the levels of anxiety and depression so they could see what was going on. I was sitting in the checkup room, drawing mountains on the paper that they lay over the bed for sanitation. My doctor came in and pulled my mom out of the room to talk to her. When they came back in, my doctor told me that my levels were not good at all and asked me if I would be ok with going down to the psychiatric emergency room. I said yes and they walked me down there. They took my phone and my shoes and my necklace that I always wore. I was put in a room with white walls, and one of those beds you see that patients are transport on with one scratchy white sheet. That was it. I was freaking out, my creative mind didn’t like how there was nothing on the walls. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I was released in the morning because being there was making everything worse. I could see that my parents were scared for me, they wanted me to be okay. Throughout the next few months, they kept a very close eye on me because I was very suicidal. I was still seeing my therapist which definitely helped me. She taught me coping skills and helped me find ways to deal with the feelings I was having right away.
If I didn’t get the help that I had, or if I didn’t have the people that I surround myself with today, I know I wouldn’t be here. And I definitely know that if I had never found my passion for photography, I wouldn’t have made it through the darkest of my days. I still deal with suicidal feelings and I still worry about hurting myself, but I know I have what it takes to become better with coping with my mental health.
— Kira Godinez