How it's Told
Tell Your Story: Hi everyone! My name is Calista Hughes and I will be a senior in high school starting August 2019! But that’s not the point. I am here to share my story with mental illness with you guys. So buckle your seatbelts, we are traveling back to my elementary school years!
So it all started way back then. Maybe 7-8 years ago. Wow, I feel old now. Anyways, I don’t really talk about my elementary school years because they trigger a lot of old memories but I need to start talking about those memories because who knows who they could help! Okay let’s get started. So I used to have accidents all the way through 6th grade. Yes, I would pee on myself. Every time I laughed it would happen and there was nothing I could do to control it. I would be so mortified I wouldn’t go to the nurse even though my mom kept a bag of clothes there when I needed them. I would walk around all day with wet pants. The way I covered it up was either by a long shirt or wrapping a jacket around my waist. But it didn’t cover the fact that every kid in my grade knew about it. They would always make fun of me for it. I never got a break. On top of that, I was super tall and much more thicker than all the other kids. In fact, I was the tallest kid in my grade when we took our 5th grade pictures. I was at the front of the line. As you can tell, I hit puberty pretty early. So I also had acne really bad. Kids would say “I can play connect the dots on your forehead” and “pepperoni face”. Just stupid stuff like that. My elementary school years were pretty rough as you can see.
Now let’s go to middle school. 6th grade was a pretty uneventful year. Nothing happened much. But once 7th grade hit, everything changed. I started failing science really bad and was so embarrassed about that because I’ve always been a straight A student. And on top of those failing grades, I got into a fight with one of my best friends. I’ve known her since kindergarten. Don’t worry we are good now. Anyways, she rallied up with another one of her friends to fight against me. They always talked bad about me and I just couldn’t take it. But the one thing that sent me over the edge was they said “commit suicide.” Now I don’t know if they were talking about me, but hearing those words hit home hard. I’d been thinking about that for a little bit and hearing it out loud was something I’d never experienced. It was awful. About a year later, I was in 8th grade. I was much worse. I don’t remember the exact reason I was so depressed besides having failing grades in science. All I know is that on October 18, 2015 I decided to attempt to take my own life. I took some pills and then fell asleep. I woke up the next morning feeling completely awful. Worst feeling I’d ever felt. But I still had to go to school. Yay! Not really... So I go to school and I tell one friend I trusted. Good thing she told the school counselor or else I don’t think I’d be here. The school counselor got ahold of my mom and explained to her what happened. So pretty soon after that I was in a therapist’s office getting prescribed medicine.
Fast forward to sophomore year. I am still on medicine, still in therapy, still depressed, and self harming. It was December of my sophomore year and I decided to take my own life again. But it was going to be a slow death. I realized over the years that when I forget my medicine during the day, I get really depressed and eventually at night suicidal. So I figured if I stopped my medicine cold turkey then I would slowly get to the point where I attempt suicide and hopefully be successful. Well sadly, that landed me into a mental hospital. Now that experience is a whole other story. No time for it now. Just know, you do not want to go to one. It is a prison. Now, I get released on Christmas Eve. Yay! But a few days later I experience a traumatic event that brings me back to the mental hospital in January. Again, not a good place.
So I finish out sophomore year and move straight into junior year. Wow. Not one month later my grandpa goes into the hospital. Deep down inside, I knew he wasn’t going to leave alive. So all through December we spend at the hospital everyday with him. Except for me, I’m back in the hospital in October. On my birthday, my grandpa told me he only had two months to live. So guess what? The next day I’m back in the hospital. For three weeks this time. It was miserable. I felt like I was locked in a cage. I hated it. So three weeks later, I am released on Halloween. Glad to be home, but nervous to see my grandpa. I wasn’t sure how I would take it. Long story short, I saw him the day of my freedom. It felt good, but it was so sad. He was in much worse shape than I remember him.
Now we are in December. Early December my grandpa passed away. I was with my grandma that night. Around 3 AM my aunt and mom came over to my grandma’s house and told us that he had passed away. My grandma fought through the sheets to find my hand. She grabbed it intensely. I felt so much heartache through that initial squeeze. She lost her husband of 57 years. It was devastating. I lost my best friend.
So now it’s May 2019 and I have become a strong mental health advocate in my area. Mental health means everything to me. It’s my past, my present, and my future. It’s my life. I have spoken on mental health in the past and I have lots of speaking opportunities coming in the future! I am so proud to say that I still struggle with mental illness everyday. I’m still on medicine and still see a therapist and I have no shame in that. So I hope you guys get the message of no matter what, things get better. Please always remember you are so important you most importantly YOU MATTER!
Hometown: Tomball, TX