From Self-Loathing to Self-Love
October 13, 2021
A personal essay by Luthien, a 16-year-old Children’s Hospital Colorado patient who bravely sought help and found healing.
“What are these feelings, these emotions I cannot seem to control?”
“The tears, the anxiety, the stress. Make them go away.”
These are the things that would run through my head every night. It was scary to lose myself and not be able to control my negative emotions. That loss of control led to terrifying thoughts and decreased my hope and confidence in myself.
Since I could walk, I was always positive, bubbly, optimistic and ambitious. I would make it my goal in middle school to make at least a couple of people genuinely laugh and smile each day. Young and naïve, I truly wanted to make the world happy.
But as I grew, I had to face life’s challenges and hardships. No longer was I innocent and blindly joyful. Personal circumstances produced stress and anxiety, replacing my laughs and smiles. The feelings of being worthless, unloved and not good enough slowly took over my body, my thoughts and my actions.
I would have desperate thoughts: “Who am I? How do I control myself? How do I become ‘normal’ again?” I was scared, and I did not know how to react to the total loss of motivation and hope that I felt. Every day, I fell in deeper and deeper into what felt like a complete pit of darkness with no way out.
Feelings of hatred towards myself began to grow — hate because I could not fix myself. I had reached a point I could no longer contain my self-hatred, and by spring of 2020, I had turned to self-harm to cope. It only worsened over time and became a decision that I deeply regret in life.
As my thoughts became worse, I began fearing for my own life. I believed there was no way back. I believed that I was never going to feel better. I finally decided it was time I asked for help. It was not an easy thing to do, but I knew that I wanted to live – for my family, for my younger sister, for my friends – and I could no longer endure the suffering.
That’s when I went to my mom. I asked her to help me, to save me. I said I did not want to continue like this. Together, we trustfully turned to Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Pediatric Mental Health Institute for help, where I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety.
After my diagnosis I felt a relief to know what was going on with me and a relief to know that they would help. I entered the Partial Hospitalization Program for a month, where I underwent intensive therapy and made wonderful friends who could truly understand what I was going through. The mental health specialists were also amazing and made me feel welcomed and wanted every day. I knew I was not alone.
With a lot of hard work and support from Children’s Colorado, I learned how to control my emotions, how to create a healthy environment and support system, and how to become better for myself and for others. I still use many of the skills I learned in my daily life, and I now know I can overcome the challenges that life presents to me.
Today, I am dedicated to advocating for the importance of mental health care. I want people who are struggling to know that you are not alone and that the negative feelings one experiences are not permanent. I want others to know that they can be a resource for others and even save a life. I am grateful for the amazing support and care offered by Children’s Colorado that saved my life.