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"My arm has a patch that is almost completely covered in scars from self-harm"

My name is Mark, I'm 27 years old, from Indiana,USA. I just found out about this foundation and I love what you are doing. Maybe if I had a resource like this when I was younger things wouldn't have been so hard. Anyway here is my story:

The first time that I self harmed I was in middle school. I think 7th grade. I didn't know what depression was at the time and I had no clue what I was going through. In high school I continued to self harm periodically.

To this day my arm still has a patch that is almost completely covered in scars.

Things really started getting bad when I went off the college. I wasn't ready to go to college and so I was going to a school I didn't want to be at in a major that I didn't want to do. I was too busy being concerned about what other people wanted from me that I didn't stop for even a second to think about what it was that I needed.

After about two years I dropped out. I moved back home with my parents and got a job as a cashier. The depression was crippling. One night I was found by two police men on a freeway overpass looking down at the traffic. A highway patrol officer had seen seen me from below and called it in to the local station. They came and talked to me, and after a twenty minute conversation they said that I needed to call someone to come pick me up or they would take me into protective custody so I didn't hurt myself. It was then that I realized maybe things weren't good.

If two police officers could tell I was in danger from a twenty minute conversation maybe there really was something wrong.

Shortly after that I started going to therapy and taking medication. I was hesitant and resistant to it at first but once I opened up and accepted the help things started improving. I was offered a full time position at the shop that I had been working part time. I started taking some classes at my local community college.

I started going down a path that I wanted to go down and not just doing things because they were expected of me. In the past couple of years I went to a technical school and got a degree and am now working in a pretty good and enjoyable career. I am working more on creating the life that I want for myself and trying to not just do things to meet other peoples expectations. I am not saying my life is perfect. I still have my bad days, but I am continuing taking antidepressants and seeing my therapist regularly.

I am working on improving myself and being the person I want to be and getting to the place I want to be.

It can still be a painful process. I still have days that things are so bad I cant go to work, but I am working towards making the life that I want. I still have my scars, and I know some of them are so bad that I will always have those scars, but it is a reminder of things I went though, and more importantly its a reminder that I got through them.

I guess the moral of this story is:

Don't do things just because it's what other people expect of you, you need to take care of your own mental health.

Don't be afraid to ask for help and more importantly, accept that help. Mental health can be a taboo topic sometimes, and once we can destigmatize mental health and start having open conversations we will be able to catch the signs earlier and get people the help they need.

I hope my story can be helpful for the foundation. If sharing my story can help people I will gladly share everything. I would love to donate, and once I have some money I can spare I will gladly give what I can. I believe a foundation like this can same many lives.

- Mark Zavestoski.


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