I will most likely be on this journey – and on medication – for the rest of my life. But that's okay. It doesn't mean anything bad and it doesn't say anything about me. It's just how it is. I have green eyes and brown hair and I have bipolar disorder.
Everybody's story is valuable, so when we were assigned a piece of longform journalism, I thought, “Why not tell mine?”
My friends told me I was brave for writing it, which I found weird. I don't see it as brave. It's just my story. I'm not doing anything magnificent by telling it. I'm not curing cancer. I'm not stopping world hunger.
But I think writing that piece did sort of help me. Until I sat down and wrote it out, the timeline of how I got to the point where I was in the ER last August was really fuzzy. I didn't really recognize that I attempted suicide. It was just sort of a vague idea.
I had been to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed before, but the help didn’t work. I hated it. I cycled up and down, up and down. I was on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication and I felt like complete crap all the time.
Trying and failing made me feel like I should just should give up. But the second time I asked for help, I had a really good doctor who said that even though she couldn’t help me, she knew somebody who could. If she hadn’t given me that option, I really would have given up.
I was lucky. It doesn't always get better right away, and a lot of times it can get worse before it gets better. That doesn’t mean it's not worth it. And sometimes, you’ve got to just keep pushing through until it is.
In writing about my experience – in going back and analyzing it – I learned a lot: how to be objective, how to be blunt and that you don’t always get the results you want. I also realized that without those parts of my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
– Gabriel, 4th year student, Bachelor of Communication Studies, Journalism
Gabriel’s longform journalism piece, “My manic mind,” is one of 10 pieces that make up the 2018 edition of The Scavenger, an annual online magazine published by students in the fourth-year feature writing class.
Gabriel is sharing her story as part of Changing Minds: Creating a healthy campus – an initiative that makes mental health a priority. The program connects training opportunities, support services, resources and stories from real people across the MacEwan University community.
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