Mentally Tough

By: Ariane Komyati

300 Votes

Mentally Tough - Ariane Komyati

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ariane Komyati

As a child, strength is being able to lift a heavy box. Illness is having a fever, and broken is when a bone is out of place. As a ten year old, I did not understand that the voices in my head were stronger than I thought.

I was ten years old and in fourth grade when my world became different. My dad was deployed in Iraq, and I did not want to show my emotions to anyone, not even my friends and family. I was always the top of my class in math, I could do minute multiplication tables in under a minute. Yet, fourth grade was different. I could not keep up with fractions. I did not want my mom to know I was slipping behind. I spent a lot of time in my room, and did a lot of thinking. I would reorganize my room over and over again. I started reorganizing my parents room, and my mom noticed. She noticed my odd behavior and my irritability. She brought me to a doctor. I thought this was odd. I was not sick, and I did not have a disease, so why was I here? I was told I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder..OCD. To my ten year old brain, that was humiliating. "Old" people had mental disorders, not ten year olds. I did not want anyone to know, not even my sister or my best friend.

I thought my life would change when my dad came home from Iraq, but as the years went on, my mental state was worse. I took medication, but it did not help everything. I started pulling my eyebrow hair out in fifth grade. I did not know why. I did it during class when I was stressed or at home when I was bored. I was told I had trichotillamania, or trich. I once again denied this, telling myself that if I really did have trich, I would be an outcast. When people asked me where my eyebrows went, I said, "I shaved them." For some reason making up an excuse was easier than the truth. Life did not get easier when I entered a new school in 7th grade. I had to draw in my eyebrows, but kids still noticed. I continued to lie about shaving them. I was laughed at, but I felt telling the truth would make me an outcast.

The stress of balancing school, OCD, and my trich took its toll on me when I entered high school. My grades were not perfect, and I was told I would not be able to get into the school of my dreams. Suicide crossed my mind often. I laid in bed at night, crying as I pinched my hair between my thumb and index finger. My mind twisted my thoughts. My life was worse in my mind. I wanted to end it all.

Yet, I decided not to end it all. I cannot thank my current self enough for doing that. The rest of my high school days were tough, but I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem and received counseling. I am not longer afraid to tell people the truth about my issues. I believe mental illnesses are something a lot of people struggle with, it is just not talked about often, since it is not visible, like a broken leg. I still struggle with OCD and trich, but it is better due to my acknowledgement and the help I am receiving. When I look at myself in the mirror, and see a full head of hair, full eyebrows and a smile, I know that I have made it.