My name is Abby Matson and I’m 18 years old. I am impacted by mental illness because I struggle with it everyday of my life. The heart of my situation has really been my entire life, I can’t remember a time where I haven’t been effected by my mental illnesses. It goes back to when I was young, my OCD showing through in memories of my childhood like having to have an even amount of stuffed animals in my bed, having to repeatedly count them in order to go to bed at night. My depression and suicidal thoughts making itself prominent at 9 years old when I was in dollar general and I saw a jump rope and thought to myself, “what if I killed myself?”. My eating disorder in 8th grade concealed in half eaten granola bars and lunches I’d throw away. I remember joking around with a friend and telling her that if anything was going to kill me it would be by my own hand. I remember freshman year, my first suicide attempt was in the girls bathroom at school. I was at such a low point in my life, I thought I’d be better off dead. At that point I had already been seeing a therapist but felt stuck in my depression. It was the day after Halloween my junior year that I was admitted to Swedish American Psychiatric. I had stayed home from school and in the midst of a breakdown scream out, “cancer patients are lucky because they get to die and I have to live!”. My parents decided then that I should be hospitalized for my own safety.
It was April 1st 2017 i was involved in a near fatal car accident…my mother recalling how dark of a place I was in when I was in the ICU, crying out in pain, wishing I had died. During my recovery I came to realize how lucky I was to be alive and that whether or not anyone else did, I love myself and value my life. Along with the help of the amazing Hononegah Community High School nurses and support staff and Group Hope, family and friends I was able to come out of my darkness and see that for the first time the light end of was the world I was meant to live in.
I still struggle daily with my mental illnesses but now, I am able to over come the obstacles in my way. I am working on dedicating my free time to help those who struggle and to raise awareness about suicide and mental health along with the impact of drunk driving. If I could give any advice to someone struggling, it does get better…I know people always say that, but it will get better and only continues to.