My story of struggling with loss, anxiety, and depression
Growing up in a large Italian family, I learned quickly the importance of family. We were a tightly knit traditional family. My father grew up around his aunt and uncles and grandparents and parents, basically everyone, shouting Italian at each other, and so did I. My sister’s and my second home was my mommom and poppops house. Everyday they watched me. They helped me deal with my anxiety. We played card games and planted flowers, and when my sister started school it was just me. Those were the best years of my life.
Then, when i was 9, the unthinkable happened. My poppop died of mesothelioma, a slow growing cancer. I remember that night like it was last night. My family had been rocked by an earthquake of tragedy. Then 2 years later, my mommom died of lung cancer. I was destroyed. At that moment every spark of my anxiety was fanned into a flame of terror. For years I lived with the fear of everything, such as losing another family member, and especially, cancer. During my 7th grade year, when I was just 14 years old, it turned into full on depression. I couldn’t bear anyone even saying my grandparents’ names. What made it even worse after my mommom’s death, was that my tightly knit Italian family, with some exceptions accused us of things that we had never done, and left us. I felt like part of me left with them,
But it’s not all bad.
Through therapy I finally defeated my depression. It felt like the greatest thing I had ever accomplished. I discovered that talking to someone really helps. And from there I took the first step in piecing my life back together. When I was 15 and in my freshman year of high school, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I got treatment. It was another giant step towards complete happiness. In school I also realized that I could be closer to my grandparents and my family in Italy if I learned our language. It’s like every day I get a constant reminder of where I came from, and it helped me figure out where I’m going.
Then my parents announced their divorce. I shouted with a sailors mouth. I had seen it coming , but it just felt like i couldn’t catch a break. My life had begun to change and my mom put my sister and I in therapy. Talking it out had helped me again. Everything had started to affect my grades in school. Then with my therapist’s help, I began to turn it all around.
Every day I think about my grandparents, and sure I’d like things to be the way they used to be. I still have a long way to go from here, but now I have everything I need to make this journey a good one from here on out. I live by a lil wayne quote as weird as that sounds, “I know this world can be cold and deceiving, but I keep my head up like my nose is bleeding” so I’ll stand tall, and know there’s nothing that can knock me down.