Diagnosed & Fighting

My name is Alexis Smithers and I’ve been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, General Anxiety, disordered eating, and PTSD. I’ve been dealing with all of them since at least first grade, but wasn’t diagnosed by professionals until two years ago when I went into intensive outpatient treatment. I was in the program for about eight months and I still go to individual and art therapy on a weekly basis, and will start trauma therapy and LGBT support groups soon.

Before treatment, I primarily dealt with my disorders through self-harm, mostly cutting. Here’s a slight joke: one of my counselors asked if there was a history of mental illness in my family and I told her “I’m black.” She nodded and said, “Right. Even if there is, you wouldn’t know.” She was right because it’s something we don’t talk about. Since my suicide attempts, we’ve been forced to start the conversation and it’s nowhere near as bad as we thought it’d be.

The people in my program are some of the kindest, most supportive, and necessary people in my life and they’ve helped me in ways I could never thank them enough for. One of them told my mom during the worst of everything that: “We’re going to save her.” I didn’t believe him then, but I trust it a little more now.

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