My Condition Had a Name. (Blog)
By Michelle Scruggs
Hi, all! My name is Michelle Scruggs, and it is my pleasure to be a part of the NYC Nature, HOPE community. I am 27 years old and reside just near Charlotte, North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a full-time psychiatric technician. If you’re reading this, I’m glad you’ve come across this wonderful community. It’s all about mental health and promoting hope in our society and communities everywhere.
The mission behind NYC Nature, HOPE is to break stigmas that surround mental health and to help people develop friendships by providing a platform to share personal stories and mental health information. The more you browse around and explore the stories here, the more you may begin to realize that you are not alone in your battle against mental distress. Take it from me. I had my first run-in with mental illness at eight years old. At this age, I transitioned from a seemingly normal lifestyle one day to having suicidal thoughts the next day. So many emotions ran through my mind.
I felt ashamed for letting my mind wander to such a negative space. I felt guilty about the thought of leaving all of my loved ones behind if I were to give in to what my mind was telling me. I felt embarrassed for having such a seemingly bizarre thought.
But above all else, I felt alone. I remember asking myself, “Why am I the only one with this?” These thoughts quickly began to consume me. I knew, however, that I did not want to give in. That’s how I found strength to tell my parents. Doing what was in my best interest, they immediately took me to a therapist who then sent me to a mental health facility. I was officially diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
I felt relief that even though I still had nagging thoughts, my condition had a name, and if it had a name, I thought, that meant that I was not alone. This experience from my childhood had and continues to have a profound influence on my passion for mental health. After all, everything happens for a reason, and if I had to endure this in order to help even one person realize that they are not alone, then it was worth it. I have come to realize that the more I share my story, the more comfortable people around me feel sharing their stories. We can only normalize discussing mental health by practicing such conversations frequently, and by doing so we generate a level of empathy that is unbreakable. At NYC Nature, HOPE, everyone is heard. Everyone is equal. And everyone is a friend.
Thanks for reading. I’m looking forward to diving into more topics with you!