Growing up, I had the picture-perfect family. I lived in a beautiful home in the suburbs of Detroit with my parents and younger brother. I had every opportunity in the world, attended private schools, and even made it onto the honor roll. I was involved in dance, theater, and many of the school sports teams.
I was the first of 12 grandchildren, and this led to me feeling that I had to be the best at everything I did.
Beneath the surface, however, I always felt a lot of pressure to be perfect.
I was the first of 12 grandchildren, and this led to me feeling that I had to be the best at everything I did, which gave me terrible anxiety from the early age of 5.
When I was 15, the perfect little world I thought I was living in was shattered into a million pieces; my mom informed me that she and my dad had decided to get divorced.
A court order meant that we all lived under the same roof for the next year, until the divorce was finalized.
During my junior year of high school, I switched to a public school for the first time. I had no idea where I belonged and felt lost, as though I had no control over anything around me.
The only thing I could control in my life was food. I began restricting my eating and later realized that this was the beginning of my battle with an eating disorder.
I’d always stayed away from using recreational drugs and drinking alcohol for fear that it would interfere with school and extracurricular activities. Even though my friends all drank, I was adamant that it wasn’t for me.
Everything changed one New Year’s Eve, when I finally had my first drink. I do not remember much from that night except being violently sick through the night and into the next morning.
I absolutely hated the way alcohol tasted, but it took me out of myself and the chaos around me in that moment. I started to drink more frequently and, as a result, my grades began to plummet.
I was skipping school and getting into trouble at home. My mom had no idea what to do with me.
Toward the end of the year, my final paper for my English class was due, and I was struggling to finish it on time. A girl in my class offered me one of her Adderall pills and told me that it would help.
‘I was starting to look sick’
I had no idea what Adderall was or what it was used for; I just knew that I needed to finish my paper or I would not pass the class — so I took it. Little did I know at the time how big an impact that decision would have on my life.
I stayed up all night writing that paper and went into school the next day having not slept. I was still fuelled by the Adderall that I had taken and felt completely out of my mind. I was talking too fast and too much, I couldn’t sit still, my anxiety was through the roof, and my entire body hurt.
When I woke up the next morning, I was exhausted and very depressed. So I asked my friend for another Adderall.
This quickly became my daily routine, and within just a couple of weeks, I was buying them from other students as I realized just how many of my classmates were also abusing the “study pills.”