Only 10 years old

It does get better


Words that were said to Juliet Fuhrmann during her hard times and still to this day.

According to Mental Health America, one in five Americans suffer from a mental illness in a year, that adds up to 43 million people that have something like an anxiety, bipolar or depression disorder. Suicide is the second leading cause of death with people between the ages 15-24. This is devastating hard hitting facts.

Mental illness is a serious issue that I believe people should pay more attention to, and these statistics can prove that. I was one of those 43 million people with a mental illness, with generalized anxiety and depression,and  it took me a long time to get out of that and it was not easy either.

People are surprised that I went through it. They look at me now and just can’t see it, they see me as a happy person with a great group of friends, a writer and editor of the newspaper. Which is true but this wasn’t always the case.

It all started when I was only 10 years old, my parents had just gotten a divorce and I was happy about that. But one day I was at my father’s apartment and he laid a hand on me for the first time. He would be drinking a lot when my siblings and I were over, and he was a angry drunk. So whenever he would get mad about something, he would yell at us. Me being the big sister of three younger kids though, I tried my hardest for him to take all his anger and abuse on me, I wanted to protect my siblings who were only 3, 6 and 7 years old.

After a long time, it finally got to the point where I could not take it anymore, I started to get more sad and wasn’t energetic like I use to be. I then finally wanted to talk to somebody, anybody about what was happening. So I told who I thought was my best friend at the time, her name was Lauren.

I told her what was going on, but instead of being a friend she made fun of me and turned the whole school against me. And I am sadly not exaggerating that, nobody would talk to me anymore and everyone made fun of me for every little thing I did.

It got to the point where I was shoved in the lockers and spat on, but what really made me start questioning life is when I was pushed down two flights of stairs at school by Lauren and her new friend. That also left me with many bruises I assume you can imagine.

That next day, there was just pure laughter in the halls, so during class I went to the restroom and I brought a small rope with me.. That was my first suicide attempt and I was only 10 years old. The two girls ended up walking in, you would think they would’ve gotten a teacher or somebody. But, no, all they did was laugh. Laugh.

After that day, I felt like my life meant nothing to people. I felt like I had no purpose and that the world would be better off if I wasn’t in it. I did not want to feel like that anymore, so I finally went to my mom.

I told her what my father was screaming at me, that he hit me once and what all was going on at school, besides the suicide attempt. She said I did not have to go to his apartment anymore and then she called the police. At 10 years old, I filed a police report against my father. By then, there was nothing they could do since I had no bruises or scars on me at the time. I was devastated. I did not want to be anywhere near him and there was no way of getting rid of him.

For what was happening at school, my mom told me to go to the counselor but they did not believe me. They said their students would not dream of hurting another. She then said, we are moving at the end of the school year which was only two months away. I could not wait for those two months to fly by.

When we then moved here to the Francis Howell School District, I said to myself that nobody would know my past. I wanted to bury it all and have a better life here. So I started 7th grade with a couple friends that I eventually opened up to after a while, I still was dealing with my father trying to see me and I was trying to be a happier person.

I was good at keeping everything inside for that year for the most part, 7th grade is kind of a blur to be honest. When 8th grade it, it started to go down hill again for me. I ended up getting all of those feelings again. How I thought I wasn’t worth it and how the world would be better if I wasn’t in it. My father was trying to wheel his way in back into my life, my grandparents thought I was overreacting about the situation, I felt like I had no one on my side.

Then one day, I made a choice that I still regret to this day. I found a box cutter.. I made the choice to cut my wrist for the first time. The reason I did it was because for a split second, I forgot everything else that was bringing me pain and only focused on that.

I am not proud of that choice to this day. It was that moment where I realized I was depressed and that I should get help. But I thought no one could help me. So it kept happening and happening, I kept getting new scars. I ended up self harming up to to October 2nd of sophomore year. That was two years ago now to this day, and I still have scars, they will be on my body for the rest of my life.

On October 2nd, my mom saw my scars for the first time and made me get help. Outside I was pissed but I knew deep down I was screaming “thank you” to her, because I missed being the happy, outgoing girl I use to be.

I saw several counselors and none of them helped, they either treated me like I was five years or like I was crazy. I ended up stopping counseling and started talking to a friend of my moms. Her name was Jena, she is a trainer at UFC gym and has been through a lot as well when she was my age.

After talking to her about everything, I realized the root of why I was depressed and self harmed, it was my father. At this point I was 15 years old, and I decided to confront him. I decided to confront my biggest fear. I wanted to let go of all my pain and anger towards him for putting me through so much abuse as a young girl.

And that is exactly what I did. For the first time in a long time, I pushed away all my anxiety, worry and fear and I went off on my father and telling him that he will never hurt me the way he did ever again, and that no one will ever. He had no words, literally. Not one apology or anything.

I kicked him out of the house and told him I would not be speaking to him again, I locked the door and I already felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders and a huge breathe I did not even realize I was holding in. That was the start of my new start, and I made sure of it that I would not let anyone hurt me.

I started doing something I had been wanting to do for a while, taking classes at UFC. I started to take self defense and kickboxing classes. Then after a while, I started to weight lift on my own. This alone boosted my confidence and love for myself after doing it for a certain long period of time. I felt strong and sometimes even have the moments where I knew no one could hurt me.

Also around this time, I joined our journalism class and found my love for writing. This is how I started getting my feelings out and not have them bottled up inside, I started to write everything down. Everything.

Then eventually as time went on, I realized that I wasn‘t always depressed anymore and that I hadn’t had an anxiety attack in a while. I had slowly gotten better and I was proud of myself for that, and I hadn’t been proud of myself in a long time.

To this day, I will think about all of what happened to me and I realized it made me stronger, I would’ve never found my love for working out or writing possibly. I never even thought I would be breathing right now. This is the reason why I think mental health awareness is important to be aware about and that is why I shared my story. I never thought I could write about this, but I did and even 7 years after it all started, I feel like writing this made me stronger.

So, if you or anyone you know is going through anxiety, depression, self harm or anything related, know that it will get better in the end and to not give up. Find something safe that makes you happy, and keep doing that. Talk to someone you trust. Remember, not everyone struggling will produce the ‘image’ of mental illness, it may not be obvious, but it does not mean it is not there. Make yourself available, for anyone who may need you. And most of all, learn to love yourself because it does get better. You won’t be feeling like this for the rest of your life.