Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

We all face events that can leave us bruised or broken. This is my story and how I decided to let it affect me.

It’s estimated that 3.5% of youth in the U.S., about 2.5 million children, experience the death of a parent by the age of 18 (Social Security Administration, 2000). Unfortunately, I’m part of that statistic. In June 2015, I received news that my dad passed away in a tragic accident. At that moment, I knew that the rest of my life would be different, that I would be different. 

Later on, I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD. It was hard hearing from three doctors that I had these conditions. I didn’t know how to handle it at first, but I knew I couldn’t let them define me. Living with anxiety, depression and PTSD is far from easy; they can make everyday tasks like getting out of bed or eating more than one meal difficult. There are many days when I’m down, but I have a lot of good days, too.

Having a good support system has been extremely helpful to me. Although it can be hard to find a good group of people to help you, once you do, it’s so nice to know you have someone there for you. I’m incredibly grateful for my family and friends who have consistently supported me as I go through this. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

Losing my dad has been an eye-opener for me. As a kid, mental health wasn’t something I thought about, but now it’s constantly on my mind. I believe everyone should pay attention to mental health because so many people battle with it, whether it be anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, etc. Everyone should learn more about mental health for all of those who struggle with it in today’s world. 

I’m not going to lie: it’s hard. I miss my dad so much, and I think about him all the time. There are so many things that remind me of him, and even though I wish he was still here to be a part of my adventures, I know he’s looking over me. I’m very grateful for the time I had with my dad. I could’ve let his death break me, but instead I decided to only let it bruise me because there was still so much coming in the future.

After my dad died, I worked a lot harder. In high school, I managed to graduate with a 4.1 GPA, I was president of our DECA club, I was stage manager for four years, and I managed to get a job. I knew I couldn’t let his death break me, so I changed my perspective. I turned my difficult experience into something bigger. I decided that I want to study psychology to become a grief counselor. I want to be able to help other people who are struggling like me. I want to help others keep fighting the fight because I know firsthand how hard it can be. Therapy has given me an outlet where I can express myself without fear of feeling judged. My therapist has helped me get through a lot and adjust to changes in my life, and I am so grateful to her.

Grief can leave you bruised or broken, but you get to decide which one it leaves you. So what do you choose? 

Here are a few things to remember:

  • It is OK to not be okay.
  • It is OK to ask for help.
  • Take breaks and rest when you need to.
  • Therapy does not make you weak.
  • It is OK to want to be alone sometimes; we all need space.
  • You are loved.

Here are a few resources that may help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line

Text “HELLO” to 741741

Veterans Crisis Line

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Disaster Distress Hotline

Call or text 1-800-985-5990

All of these can be found on the website here.

Sources: 1 / 2

Katie Tuggle

Virginia Tech '25

Hi!! My name is Katie, I am a freshman here at Virginia Tech. I am a psychology major and my goal is to one day become a grief counselor. I am so excited to be a part of the writing team for Her Campus. I love to read and write, hang out with my friends, go on adventures, watch movies, listen to music, and hang out with my brothers.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️