Hear Our Stories
Youth M.O.V.E strives to reduce the stigma of mental health disorders. We engage with local youth within our Minnesota community to break down barriers that sigmas create. This website has been designed as a tool for youth within a state and national level. Information about disorders, tools for recovery, resources in your area, stories by other youth, and a gallery of art/literature has been produced for a better understanding of mental health. If you would like to ask questions, submit art, short stories, poems, music, videos, etc.. please email us and you will be publicly featured on our website either through the gallery or “hear our stories”! Please submit your work or questions through the contact us page.
This poem was written by Alyssa Kuglin, 29 years old:
Some days it feels like your limbs weigh half a ton and they anchor you to your bed. You can look outside your bedroom window and see the sun and the trees and the sky, but you are trapped; restrained in the grip of the blue beast whose arms are covered in fur. In the beginning, the fur feels prickly like a wool sweater and you ache to get rid of it, but over time the over-stimulation of the rough texture makes you numb. You’d fight it off if you could feel. The numbness becomes normal and your old life is like a phantom limb. It sometimes feels like the person you used to be is still there, but you look down and see that the hole in your chest is still hollow.
One day you might catch a glimmer of the old you staring back through the mirror and you reach out to caress the cheeks flushed with vivacity. The apparition smiles warmly and whispers, ‘you will be okay,’ and it doesn’t resonate within you as something possible. Days go by and the vision of your old self manifests again in the mirror, its eyes sparkling with life and joy. ‘You will be okay,’ it repeats and you startle at the flutter of hope that awakens in your gut.
Each day the vision becomes clearer and the voice grows louder as it chants, ‘you will be okay.’ The hope that you thought had died in you was simply dormant, like a tulip buried in snow that bursts from the earth at the mention of spring. The cocoon the blue beast had placed around you begins to crack and the shards of your despair crumble as you claw your way out of what had become your life. You emerge from your ordeal and stand tall again. The hole in your chest has scarred over, reminding you of what you came from, what you were and that you are a survivor.
Personal story of a college student who is living with depression:
I have struggled with depression for several years. Although getting on medication and going to therapy have been important and necessary actions to help with my depression, art has always been there through my struggles. Not unlike many others I had avoided getting help for my depression for many years. As an adolescent I attributed much of my moodiness and disinterest to puberty, thinking “it was just a phase”. Looking back I’m disappointed that I hadn’t reached out sooner, however, I discovered for myself a way to cope. Art. Art was something that I could carry with me throughout my day. In class I would doodle, impressed with my own creations, each one better than the last. Depression always made me feel so out of control. It seemed to me that I couldn’t control anything in my life because everything was already dictated by the darkness I felt inside. But drawing…everything I drew was of my own creation. I could control everything from the shading of different figures to every insignificant detail. And it was all mine. Finally feeling control over some aspect in my life was comforting to me. For me and probably many others who suffer from depression, it’s hard to feel heard. And that is why art is so important. It is calming and allows you to express yourself when you feel as if you have no voice.
I finally got diagnosed with depression after the first semester of freshman year of college. It was an important and necessary step for me to take if I ever wanted to overcome my mental illness. But even with the medication and the therapy I still turn to art. My roommates and I use creativity as a coping strategy for many other stressors in our lives as well; anxiety over an exam or fight with a friend. Being creative is also an excellent study break!
Nobody should ever feel discouraged from receiving help for their mental illness. But it is a difficult step to take. So until you are ready to take that step, know there are many strategies to cope.