Feature Friday: Taylor

Taylor posted her story on Facebook, and our mutual friend tagged me in it because she thought it would be a good idea to share it on here. How cool, right?! So I messaged Taylor and she thought it was a good idea too. And here we are.

Taylor Devuyst is 19 years old. She was born and raised in Mission, British Columbia until she moved to Cardston, Alberta when she was 17. She’s a convert to the LDS church and was baptized when she was 16. It changed her life forever, and she is so grateful for that. She’s currently attending the University of Lethbridge, and she’s majoring in Neuroscience. She absolutely loves to write, and she hopes to one day be able to share her story on a bigger scale. She also plays the piano and some sports in her free time. She loves this life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all of her heart! She owes everything to Him.

I never thought the day would come where I would be telling the world about my darkest trial. But, I think it’s time. I’m talking about this so that maybe I can help just one person feel a little less alone in the world. If I can accomplish just that, this will all be worth it. There is a huge stigma against mental illness, and each time that we talk about it, we free people from suffering in silence.

We all face challenges in our lives, trials, and hard times. We live in a fallen world, where we are not immune to pain and heartache. In honor of Bell Let’s Talk Day, I want to share a bit of my experience with mental illnesses.

It started 7 years ago. I have suffered from Severe Depression, and Major Anxiety Disorder since I was 12 years old. I was diagnosed officially when I was 14. Then when I was 18, I was also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s a lot, but it’s not all of me.

Having severe depression for me, never really consisted of not being able to get out of bed. I have always been very high functioning. I wake up, get ready, eat, go to school, hang out with friends. I take my responsibilities very seriously because I don’t like to disappoint myself, or others. My depression has always been silent and hidden. What really happened, was that I lost purpose. For as long as I can remember, I didn’t understand the meaning of life. I lost myself, and I lost hope. It got worse over the years, and at 12 years old, I started having suicidal thoughts. I became someone that I didn’t recognize. I lost the little girl who once loved herself.

Having an anxiety disorder is the worst. I had my first panic attack when I was 12 years old, and I still have them to this day. It’s not funny, it’s terrifying. Nothing triggers them for me. I could be eating lunch, or sitting in my room doing homework, or trying to go to sleep, and I will have a full-blown panic attack. They are horrifying. More than that, having an anxiety disorder means struggling to make your own appointments, or call a friend. It means not being able to stay in the mall for too long. It also means having a panic attack, because you’re afraid of having another panic attack. It’s a vicious cycle.

Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a tricky one. I guess I would describe it as living in the extremes. I am either on cloud 9 or at rock bottom. My emotions are intense in the way that a house fire is, a plane crash, or an earthquake. They are life-changing, earth-shattering, and most of all painful. I cannot experience “kind of happy, kind of sad, kind of bored, kind of angry.” My emotions have one level, and that level is catastrophic. The smallest events can trigger the hugest feelings, and those huge feelings demand huge reactions.

I believe that the scariest part of all of this is that I can honestly say that I have an amazing life, and yet I still have suicidal thoughts. It makes zero sense. I have a good family, lots of friends. I have many opportunities, I get to go to university. I have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I am physically healthy, and I love life. But apart of me is constantly trying to destroy all of this. It is a fight. A battle every single day, against myself. A war to stay alive.

Now, recovery. It is a lifelong process. I have been on medications now for 2 years and in therapy every week for 3 years. I have been to countless doctors and psychiatrists. I have been admitted to the hospital 4 times in the last 2 years. It’s hard. It’s hard to talk about. It’s hard to say that I have an “appointment,” when that really means that I’m going to therapy, again. It’s hard to say that I’m “going away for a few days,” when that really means that I’m going to the hospital. It’s all hard. It’s hard to fight for months at a time with what feels like little success. It’s hard to want to die, and yet continue to get out of bed anyway. It’s painful.

But that’s not the point. The point isn’t the pain. The point is that there is hope. There is always hope. I used to not believe that, but then I learned about God. I learned that He has a plan for all of us, and that “the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).” At times it becomes too much, but I just try and hold on to hope with every last piece of me. I am still learning to rely on my Savior’s promise. The promise that as I come unto Him, He will give me rest and strengthen me. I am so in need of His strength because on my own I am weak. This life is a beautiful struggle, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am grateful, for everyday that I get to spend on this earth, becoming the person that God needs me to be.

To the one out there who is struggling. To the one who feels like they are losing the war against their demons, I promise that it gets better. Please hold on. Please don’t give up just yet. One day you will look back on your life, and see why everything had to happen the way that it did. You’ll cry with tears of joy as you fall at the feet of your Maker and Savior, knowing that you did all that you could. So for now, hold tight to your faith, whatever it may be. Don’t be afraid, “but have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions (Alma 34:41).” I promise you that the darkness doesn’t last forever, and that the small moments of joy in between, are worth more than you could ever comprehend. You are worth more than you could ever comprehend. You are so loved.

I hope you know that there is always someone there for you. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Don’t be scared to reach out, there are people waiting to catch you when you fall. I didn’t used to believe that. I used to think that I was all alone in the world, but then I worked up enough courage to reach out. I suffered in silence for far too long, talking about it gave me the freedom that I desperately needed. There have been so many people along my journey who have saved me. Little by little, they have saved me. I would not be here today without them. So please, talk about it. Reach out, and let the light of recovery into your life. I promise that you won’t regret it. God is so good, and He has provided us with resources to help us make it home to Him. Don’t be ashamed, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Life isn’t easy, but it really is beautiful. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the darkness that has consumed me at times, and still does. And I’m really starting to like who I am. I have learned some of my greatest lessons amidst the storms of life. It’s a good life. Don’t give up on it too soon. You will be okay. You will have a happy life. You will make it. You will be free. I just know it. You’ve got Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world fighting with you, and you’ve got me too.

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