West C. graduated from Skyland Trail in 2014.
What’s the biggest change you’ve been able to make in your life?
The biggest change has been my ability to deal with life as a whole. Tomorrow is no longer a terrifying unknown; it’s now just the day after today. I wake up to face the day knowing I can handle whatever hardships it may bring and be happy with myself.
What are your hopes and goals for the future?
My hopes for the future revolve around continuing to grow more comfortable with myself. I want to keep living without fear and sadness ruling my life. More concretely, I look forward to finishing my master’s degree and, at some point, getting a bull dog puppy that I will name Brutus.
What do you want everyone to know about living with a mental illness?
Living with mental illness felt like I was living inside a cloudy bubble, peering out as the world went by. As I learned about my illness, the bubble became clearer, and eventually translucent. I’m not really sure if the bubble is still there. Sometimes I can still feel it, and it doesn’t matter. It took a lot of work to get to this point, and I have come to realize the bubble – the label of my mental illness – no longer matters. I’ve realized all the time spent looking outside the bubble I missed the happiness that was in it – in me. Recovery from mental illness is possible. Ask for help. We don’t have to suffer in our bubbles by ourselves.