Ashley Mensah

Ashley’s Story:

I was sexually molested at the age of 6 through 13 years old. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 20. I felt like I suppressed that secret and memory so deep that I pretended that nothing ever happened. Being molested I was afraid, so I had a habit of bottling things inside and never really speaking up. There were so many internal conflict growing up because I never really understood what was wrong with me. I started feeling insecure and I felt very disgusted because I felt like I allowed it. During the years I was being molested, I still had to go on with my daily life and having that secret boggling my mind for years made it worse when other instances occurs. I was bullied throughout middle school about my weight and skin tone, which put me in a very low place where I wanted to take my own life. I was suicidal and planned on it by writing a note in school, taking it home and act upon it. I felt like no one loved me, understood me, and most of all cared for me. The battle with being taken advantage of at a young age and going through a rough time outside of home, I felt like my life would never get better. Fast forward, I noticed that I was having flashbacks and dreams from time to time but would ignore it. It was until Summer 2017, where the flashbacks was happening more than usual, the dreams kept me up and I remember hyperventilating because my body felt the coldness of the hands that has been molesting me. I took the courage to tell my family and I honestly thought a huge weight would be lifted, but it didn’t. All these years I really thought maybe if I said something I would feel relieved but I realized it was too late since the trauma has permanently effected me. That fall into my junior year of college I was still coping with the fact I just told my family and I was still feeling depressed because to be honest I’m in college. I can say that college has brought out my mental illness because my experience here has to be my worst. I always felt like I didn’t belong because I wasn’t smart enough. I felt like my trauma has effected my learning abilities to some extent. I would be physically in class but mentally not because I’m thinking about every possible worst thing that happened to me but I can’t seem to fight it off. So within that semester, I couldn’t sleep in the dark, there were times I would stay in bed and not attend class for days, I felt like I didn’t want to exist anymore. I was always in bed wishing how would my life be if I wasn’t molested. Lastly, I decided to tell my friends and start a YouTube channel so I can bring awareness and the amount of support has uplifted me. I met my psychotherapist in class where she was a panel speaker and getting her help was the best decision I’ve ever made. I was planning on taking a semester off to heal and get myself together but I told myself to stay and beat all odds. Now, I’ll be a senior Fall 2018 and this journey hasn’t been easy because I’m learning about myself all over again and I’m glad I had the courage to speak so I can heal.

What Does Depression Mean To You?

What depression means to me is an everyday battle with my mind and consciousness. I’m aware that my emotions are up and down and when it’s up, I still feel down inside and when it’s down it’s unbearable because I know this is a fight I have to win to get back on top to move on with my life. Depression isn’t always just sadness and staying in bed for days, it’s also having the time of your life, accomplishments, and happiness; depression will always be there for me but I know it won’t knock me down.

How Did You Overcome Depression And/or Self Harm? 

Overcoming depression doesn’t happen overnight. But what I will say is the first
step of overcoming is acceptance. Being diagnosed with Anxiety and PTSD, I was devastated because I thought this will define me. I changed that around and decided to accept it and heal. Healing is one of the main priority to overcome. With healing, I put my self first which has improved my mental health.

What Advice Would You Give Someone That Is Battling With Depression And/or Self-Harm? 

My advice to someone that is battling with their mental health is to speak. Talk to someone and I mean someone who you feel you can trust and allow you express your struggle. Once to allow to express not only to someone but to yourself that this is your life and your battle to fight, everything will fall into place. Secondly, if you find that talking to someone doesn’t really help, you can seek a therapist. I wouldn’t be here today without my therapist. Make sure you find a therapist that understands you and relate to you because having that connection helps the journey to heal makes it easy. Lastly, I would honestly say prayer is key. I believe in words that you say or put into the universe is very powerful. So a positive mindset while praying and speaking positivity to help you heal is a great feeling.

What Do You Believe Are Some Problems That The Media Brings To Females That Battle With Depression And/or Self Harm? 

I believe the problems that the media bring to females that battle with depression or mental health is the perception that we have to be strong at all times and any sign of emotion is a sign of weakness.

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