Name: Brianna Bicker
From: Greensburg, PA
How Mental Health is Important to Me
Mental health is one of the most important fields known to man. It helps to heal the mind in ways no doctor or religious figure could. To be able to express your concerns, your issues, in a safe space and then work through them with a professional. I know the importance of mental health, for I have suffered from it myself.
In 2011, when my parents divorced. It was challenging, but nothing I couldn’t work through. Even as a 9-year-old, I understood that my parents worked better separate then together. I lived full time with my mother, visiting my father when he was in town from work. Things were fine, perfect even. It was when my father re-married when my mental health became an issue.
My stepmother was nice and kind to me in the beginning, but things changed once she had wedded my father. She began to apply more pressure on me, saying that I was addicted to technology. To try and appease her, I stopped watching Tv and focused on reading instead. However, this made things worse as she then declared I was addicted to reading. I couldn’t win with her, no matter how hard I tried. Not to mention she played favoritism to her own son. He was able to get away with many things I was not able to. He could get up in the morning and turn on the Tv, watching for hours. He was even allowed to play on his phone, while I had to ask permission. I couldn’t even keep my phone on me, it had to stay on the kitchen table always.
My stepmother always expected more out of me then what a pre-teen could deliver. At any point she could decide to punish me by giving me more chores more frequently. It got to the point where I had no free time to myself. Directly after school I had an hour or two to do homework or to study before I had to do chores then go to bed. My father was hardly home, as he worked for long periods of time out of state. When he did return, he always got the report from my stepmother, never hearing my side of the story. As this continued and on, I became more and more exhausted. I had no time to myself and was in constant fear of my stepmother. It was like I was always walking on eggshells.
I always dreaded going to my fathers, finding the most peace when staying with my mother’s. She was my rock, supporting me through these times. But when I was about to enter my first year of high school, my mother and father went to court. The court ruled that primary custody would go to my father. This was because he was married, and my mother was not. Thinking back now, I wish I had spoken up to the judge and told him about the troubles I had with my stepmother, but my fear kept me silent from speaking the truth.
Now the troubles I experienced on the few days I visited my father became my life. Constant chores and no time to myself. My stepmother would stay seated on the couch as I vacuumed the entire house twice a week, cleaned the bathrooms and dusted once a week, and did all the dishes every night. I only saw my mother once-three times a week. The days I didn’t see her, I could call her. However, I always had to stay downstairs, within earshot of my stepmother. If I said anything she disapproved of, she would question me then punish me again.
My mental health was detreating. I had sudden crying fits in school with very little triggering them. I began to claw at my stomach and even wrote notes on how I should commit suicide. It was an incredibly dark and low point for me in my life, at such an important time of development too. Eventually, CYS was involved. This is when I finally got what I needed for my mental health: therapy. Finally, I was able to talk to someone without the fear of being spied on. I was able to develop healthy coping mechanisms and even find ways to live with my stepmother.
My therapists were able to help me recover from this dark time, and even now continue to help me long after my stepmother is gone from my life. Thanks to them, I am now able to control my depression and anxiety. I have even gotten past the trauma my stepmother gave me from the countless episodes of verbal abuse.
Without the help of professionals, my mental health would have suffered greatly. I may not even be where I am now if it wasn’t for their help. You need to take care of yourself and your mental health, just like taking care of your body. Mental health is one of the most important fields after all.