Mental Illness Struggles in My Teens, 20s, and 30s

January 10, 2018 Megan Rahm

Mental illness struggles can last a lifetime. Although treatment has lessened the severity of my mental illness symptoms, my mental illness struggles continue.

Mental illness struggles are often life-long, so I think it’s interesting to look back at different stages in my life and what role they played in my mental health. I have had mental illness symptoms since childhood, but they became a lot more visible when I was a teenager. My mental illness struggles are chronic, but I am in recovery now.

My Mental Illness Struggles as a Teenager

In my teens, I was very emotional, and every little event in my life felt so dramatic. I’m not sure if that’s true for all teens, but my life was a confusing roller coaster every day. For the first time, I felt debilitating depression that cast a heavy shadow over my senior year of high school. I felt stuck and angry. However, there soon came a light at the end of the tunnel – I knew after graduation I was leaving my dusty little town for college on the other side of the state. I later painfully learned that leaving doesn’t always improve your mental health issues. In fact, many times it only worsens your symptoms.

My psychotic symptoms were also present in my teens, but I had no idea they were hallucinations. What I experienced felt very real and was a part of my everyday life.

Mental Health Recovery in My 20s

While my teen years were filled with confusion, my 20s brought a little bit of clarity. At 21 I hit rock bottom. I was broke, unemployed, out of school, and far away from home. I was just miserable.

I finally asked for help and told my parents about my eating disorder. It felt like my only option. I was admitted to a treatment center and I completely surrendered. I would have done anything the staff told me to do because I felt desperate. There was really nowhere to go but up.

I started taking medication in my 20s, and learning that I was having mood and psychotic symptoms due to a mental illness was quite the revelation for me. I felt like I wasn’t crazy because it was an actual illness. Since I thought my hallucinations were spirits, I also had questions about spirituality. However, after my symptoms subsided, I knew where I stood on the issue.

About a year after being discharged from the treatment center I returned to college. I was happy to be back in school, but I had lots of different interests and I couldn’t decide on a major. I didn’t graduate until I was 31.

I felt more stability in my personal life as well in my 20s. I met my husband in my mid-20s and a few years later we married in a small ceremony in Las Vegas.

Fewer Mental Illness Struggles in My 30s

I didn’t really feel like an adult until my 30s. I am now 35 and have all the responsibilities that come with a family, home, and full-time job. There are many days that I don’t really think about my mental illness. Sometimes I just want to take my pills and move on. Now I usually only have symptoms when I feel stressed out or overwhelmed. My medications occasionally need adjusting, but my medications, as well as my life, are pretty stable.

It will be interesting to see what the future brings and how my recovery might change at different times in my life. How have different stages of life affected your mental health? Please let me know in the comments.

APA Reference
Rahm, M. (2018, January 10). Mental Illness Struggles in My Teens, 20s, and 30s, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Megan Rahm

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