hello, my name is vanessa, otherwise known as vanity. i've already essentially shared my experiences with mental health before in the discord, but i still want to go into detail about my general experience regarding it.
for me, this traces all the way back to elementary school. i have a developmental disability known as autism spectrum disorder. i was diagnosed with it at a very young age, and as a result i was always given special remedial privileges as a result. i had a private class to help with speech for example, but i suppose i eventually moved past it. i was actually a decently social kid all the way up to 7th grade. i did have some issues making friends during elementary school, but it wasn't cripplingly bad, to say the very least. i am on the high functioning end of autism, but it's still a struggle for me to this day.
in 6th grade, i was... crude, to say the least. there was a small group of us who would constantly say inappropriate jokes and make fun of others because we thought it was funny. this is probably the point in my life i look back at the least fondly, but what's more important is what happened when i graduated to middle school. it basically felt like i was left behind. all i was good at was being funny and inappropriate, so once more people funneled into this group who had better social skills, i just felt left behind. around this time my parents also talked to me and told me i had autism. honestly i wish i wasn't told this until i was much older. i actually shared this in front of a whole class, which... was a mistake in retrospect. i had no idea what "autism" meant at the time and how that affected me. i was just a naive kid. eventually any special aid i had was removed with the consent of my parents, teachers, and myself. i partially did it because i wanted to feel normal, but in retrospect that should never had happened. i feel like it's partially responsible for the path i've gone along.
as time went on, i became more anti-social, and my crude personality didn't go away. others were maturing, and i was trying to figure out how to adjust with said maturity. i became nihilistic and standoffish, and by high school i became a complete loner. i self-isolated, and my social interactions during class plummeted even further. a couple years of isolation later, and i started feeling major indicators of depression.
around the same time, i was decently active in an online community known as intox gaming, which was a clan that hosted servers of tf2 mods. i was decently active in that community, and was even a member at a time. eventually i stepped away and it became exceedingly obvious that people took reservations with how i was placing my mental instabilities on display and was always being a debbie downer. i eventually left the community for said reason, but it ingrained this mentality in my head that no one actually wants to hear about mental struggles. it made me think they were inherently unpleasant, and instilled this mentality into me where i had to "fake it till i made it". while that certainly works for some people, but i was nowhere near resilient enough with my emotions to convince myself of that.
as i started transitioning out of high school, i was facing severe love-sickness and my motivation to do most activities completely sank. i don't really remember my brief time during college well, but i was more quiet in college than ever before. this is around when i started developing a pretty bad social anxiety that i still struggle with to this day. my social anxiety is even what caused me to almost fail college due to the volunteer work i was required to do that i simply didn't due to social anxiety and other unfortunate circumstances. it felt like my life was falling apart at the seams.
when i started eventually working, i started developing a feeling of worthlessness. i never had a job before, it was only a mediocre retail job, and i was doing poorly. i felt like i had no talent and no calling in life, and to this day, i'm still uncertain about my future in any career. however, i did recognize that it was my fault in the end. i could've been doing better, but instead i felt like i was somewhere that would be the equivalent of purgatory. i labelled myself as a $%#! up, my social skills were still terrible, and it didn't feel like i was improving at my job.
this story does have somewhat of a happy ending though, i suppose. after deliberation about my own identity and my own place in the word, i started identifying as non-binary, and later as a transgender woman. this was the first time i actually felt like i was someone i wanted to be. for the longest time, i didn't think much of gender, but i actually did feel dysphoria tracing all the way back to high school unwittingly. i don't want to go in complete detail about my trans awakening for personal reasons, but it was also around this time i started acting way more self-deprecating. i have struggled with self-loathing for a very long time, and only around then did it feel like i was actually putting it on display again just like i was when i was at intox gaming. and i know, it absolutely is unpleasant, but i couldn't help myself. it felt compulsive, as if i couldn't help it.
i feel like my mental state is better than it has been in a while though! i still struggle with general motivation, loneliness, worthlessness, social anxiety, and self-loathing, which includes signs of depression, but it's not crippling. i love being transgender, and all the love i get from people around the mu community makes it worth it. it's not all well and good though. i still feel pressure to stay closeted. it frustrates me, but the world isn't exactly welcoming to transgender individuals. however, no matter what your identity is, it's valuable and beautiful. so is mine, and hopefully one day i can build up enough courage to completely come out of the closet! i've been doing training for vocal feminization, so maybe it's coming sooner rather than later.
as a note to end on, your mental health is something you need to value. even now i don't completely value my mental health. i've never seen a counselor or psychiatrist, and i absolutely should. a part of the reason i haven't is because of my budget. there are people that love and value you though, and that's the reason i'm still around. if i didn't feel valued, i would have committed suicide a long time ago. self-worth is important, but it's not the end all be all. you're a massive void that would be missing from your friends and family if you were gone. take this with a grain of salt, because i'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, but... it does feel like there's verity to my words.
that's all i have to say regarding my own struggles with mental health. thanks for reading.