June Warrior – Lauren H.

June Warrior – Lauren H.

This next Warrior is someone I am in awe of. I reached out to Lauren back in April after coming across her page on Instagram. Seeing how open she is about her mental health, I knew I had to ask her to share her story with you guys. Although she suffers from a variety of mental ailments, she is so strong and using her platform just like me, to raise awareness about the issues surrounding mental health. She immediately accepted my offer and here is her story.

During the first week of grade eight, I suddenly felt very down. I lost all my motivation, and cried. I barely slept which made it almost impossible for me to get up and go to school in the morning. After a week of staying in bed, my mother brought me to the clinic, and they assumed I had mono. The following Monday, as my mom attempted to get me to go to school again, I experienced my first panic attack. Later, I was then diagnosed with anxiety and depression. My mother decided it was best to homeschool me until I could cope a little better. My life was a constant rollercoaster. Some days I could go to school and others I could barely function.

I ended up being homeschooled for over half of the year from grade eight until grade ten, when I was put into the dropout program with the school board due to my lack of attendance. Throughout those years, I was put on many different medications and tried multiple forms of counselling. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to work. I struggled badly with my mental health. And I used very bad mechanisms to cope with life. The main things I did to cope included self-harm, isolation, pushing away everyone I loved, crying, and eating. My life had gotten to the point where I had to be hospitalized twice because my life was at risk and I was extremely suicidal. I was very alone and afraid. All my friends had either abandoned me, or I was being severely bullied by them. I barely left my room. If I happened to go out in public, I would experience extreme panic attacks and would draw a lot of unwanted attention to myself.

Years later, at the age of 17, I was graduating from a new high school. My life had finally seemed to turn around and became okay. I convinced myself to get my driver’s license and apply for post-secondary school. I was accepted into my program of choice at the local university during early acceptance.  During the summer, I experienced severe anxiety around the idea of going to university as I believed I wasn’t smart enough. So, I decided to go to the well-known college in my hometown.

When post-secondary started, my life went downhill. I was put back on medication. This medication ended up reacting negatively with my body, therefore, making me go crazy and caused me to contemplate suicide. I also developed an eating disorder which lead me to lose an unhealthy 20 pounds off my already small body. I realized I hated the program I was in. I felt like my life was ending. I ended up dropping out of the program and studying general arts for a few years. As schooling continued, my eating disorder got worse. I ended getting down to a weight of 80 lbs and being admitted to hospital. I spent 3 months on the medical unit on an IV and NG tube, and after gaining some weight, I was sent to the states for another 4 months for residential treatment.

Life after treatment was great, I thought I was improving, and I was finally happy. A little too happy. I wouldn’t sleep because I had so much energy, I was doing impulsive things like getting tattoos and piercings, and I wouldn’t stop talking. Little did I know I was experiencing a manic episode. That fall, I was diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder. We all know that when there’s a high, there eventually has to be a down. And mine just happened to be a crash. I ended up relapsing in self harm and doing other impulsive things trying put myself at risk. To this day, I am still trying to figure out which mixture of medications work for me. And I am happy to say that after dropping out of school for a year I am finally going back in the fall for social work. My ultimate dream is to become a public speaker, I hope to bring awareness to mental health issues and help people understand how real they are. I want to bring light into the eyes of those who only see darkness, like I have in many times in my life. I am already starting this process by sharing my story on my recovery account, @laurenhourtovenko, on Instagram. My goal for this platform is just to give one person a reason to continue fighting. Now, go be a wildflower.

 

THANK YOU Lauren, for being one of the bravest souls I have met. Not only were you courageous enough to start your social media profiles about your life and your struggles, but you were willing to share your life with a total stranger when you sent this to me. I can’t express how much that always means to me when my Warriors do that. It is such a privilege to share your stories.

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