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Personal Stories: The Great Pretender

“Hey everyone! I’m Kyler. I’m 21 and from Wisconsin. One neurologist, four psychiatrists, five therapists, and fifteen trials of different medications later, here I am fighting with all of you. I realized I had some sort of mental health problem when I was a junior in high school. I’ve been told I have major depression, major anxiety, OCD, bipolar, and compulsive self-esteem disorder. Which doctor do I believe? There have been many periods of time where I hit rock bottom and felt as if I was sitting in this movie theatre called “Life”. I wanted so badly to play a role in that movie, but I was watching from the sidelines. I came to a point where I knew how badly I wanted to be heard. And, if I wanted to be heard, I knew others wanted to be heard as well. As a result, I created a blog to give people a voice and a place to empathize with one another in a creative way through photography, art, etc. It originally came from my passion for music. You can check it out on Instagram @greatpretender or www.greatpretenderblog.com.”

To give you a taste, here’s a blog post I wrote called “Now You See Me”:
The baggage of dealing with a mental illness/illnesses is the fact you have a hard time separating your insanity from your actual self. Has anyone told you, “The first step is to accept the fact there’s something wrong in your head.” I have, and I know so many of you have too. As far as I am concerned, I’ve had a difficult time separating the diseases from who I ACTUALLY am. I completely agree accepting the parasites inside your head is the first step, but I also believe separating yourself from the villain inside is so important in connection with accepting your delicate catastrophes. In high school, I started to notice my moods were not matching up with the way I should be reacting. When someone told a joke everyone else thought was funny, I didn’t. When my grandma passed away during the summer leading up to sophomore year, it wasn’t until the middle of the funeral that tears were falling down my face. Obviously, I loved my grandma very much, but I felt guilty for not grieving with everyone else the way I should have been. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I really started to feel like something was wrong. Maybe, I’m doing something wrong. Maybe, I was going to bed too late (hint hint: insomnia) or sleeping too much during the day. I did not want to swallow the fact I had a mental illness. I was thinking, “Does that mean I’m emo now, because that’s what everybody thinks of people who look mournful and heartbroken?” That’s what the stigma behind mental health does to people who struggle; when in actuality, it’s a cry for help. Out of all selflessness, I had acres of friends, was a big part of the track and cross country teams, and was even chosen as Prom King. How could I possibly be such a big influence to the people around me when my inner demons were telling me otherwise. I can expand on personal agitations at another point in time; but high school eventually came to an end, and college came to a start. It’s kind of crazy to think about all the different experiences I could share with you guys, and I don’t mean that in a bad way necessarily. The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences with others who have also felt or still feel like they’re crawling in their skin, hanging blankets over their bedroom windows so their cave was filled with dark, and hoping not to wake up in the morning. Anyways, as time went by, I was still confused by what was exactly going on inside the depths of my head. Eventually, I came to grasp the complete truth that my illnesses don’t define me. As a result, I slowly began separating the person God created me to be from the devil that tries to convince me otherwise. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, you have to walk through hell to get to Heaven. Good things come to those who wait. Love you guys!

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