S3: Fine Line - Episode 21 - Anna

Episode Information

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Season three Fine Line narrative histories about mental health and mental illness, a traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. May you find insight and understanding in these voices. Episode 21, Anna.

Anna:  I don’t know who I am. I think about that a lot. And I wonder why I am the way I am or why I think the way I do and what makes me me. But I, I’m just a simple girl. I’m not one to want the most fabulous things. I just wanted my family to be happy and to just have a good life. So I don’t know what that makes me. The first time I experienced depression that I can remember was probably when I was like four or five, just knowing that I was different, that I didn’t feel like everyone else, that something was wrong with me. The feeling of being scared of everything. And everyone, I used to take my mom’s picture with me to school every day, and she told me to take it because that way I could feel safe. The counselor would pull me out, and she talked to me to try to comfort me and stuff like that. But I wondered if like other kids thought I was weird for always crying and having to step out of the class and stuff. But like, my priority was my mom. I felt that I had to take care of her and everything. But just being so scared when I was little and thinking that each day when I went to off to school, that that might’ve been the last day that I was going to see her, was, was horrible.

I was diagnosed with manic depression, and I had a phobia too. I was afraid of the world ending. Some of the symptoms I had were just always wanting to be alone. I’d had crying spells and the anxieties, that feeling of not being able to breathe. But most of all, what I remember still is that fear. I was terrified of everything. I just wanted to crawl in a little bar in the corner and disappear. I didn’t wanna feel anything anymore. I didn’t wanna have to deal with anything anymore. I just, I didn’t wanna hurt myself. I just wanted to not be here. Sometimes I wonder if I even wanted it to go away. It was such a part of me that I felt that I was being punished or something, but I don’t know. After a while, I just, I got tired.

I saw this doctor for a good while. I remember, and after a couple of years, our insurance wasn’t going to cover him anymore. So I went out and I got a job, and as soon as I would get paid, I would call and I went to go see him. And at this time, I was, I had so much anxiety, and I would pray to myself, oh God, please, you know, don’t let me get scared. I hope nobody talks to me. God, you know, trying to reassure myself to get on the bus to go see him. And when I would get there, I’d remember walking off fast and kind of just wanting to get in the office. And once I did, I felt a little safe, and I would go see him, and I walk out of there like I could breathe. And I just knew that if I didn’t change what was going on for myself, then I was gonna be miserable forever. Even now, I tell my mom, I get discouraged with school. I feel like I’m not ever gonna finish, or that it’s kind of, it seems kind of impossible, but I enroll every semester, and even if I’m barely passing, I stick it through. And I always tell my mom that I love her a lot and that, um, I just don’t wanna ever be stuck. I don’t wanna have to depend on somebody to take care of me. I wanna be able to do it and know that I can.

[Outro Music]

Host:  Fine line mental health, mental illness began as a traveling exhibition and travel to over 60 cities, a series of audio narratives and portraits from the point of view of those that are living with a mental illness. These stories are not intended to summarize or explain anyone’s life. We all carry a thousand stories, and every story is incomplete.

These stories are about our shared humanity, about the mysterious genes that we inherit carry as gifts or burdens and pass on to the next generation. A story can be a window into a larger world than our own. And places where empathy and understanding begin. It is so tragic that some children experience severe fear and anxiety, some as a result of trauma, while others may carry a genetic propensity. Thank you, Anna, for sharing your voice, your story. Thank you for your care and your presence and your courage. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast  for Anna’s portrait and transcript. Thank you for listening.