“I was born with a rare medical condition called lymphatic malformation. It is not hereditary or contagious. There is no known cause. It occurs during pregnancy. It usually affects the face. I have been dealing with that my whole life. I also was diagnosed with mental illness when I was nine.
“I was never really bullied growing up. I had good friends, and great family, and I was always very social and outgoing and very confident. It wasn’t until I was eight or nine years old that I started getting involved in self-harm and all of that stuff. It was bad depression and anxiety I was dealing with then. I realized at that point, ‘Wow, I really am different, I really am not like anyone else. I am not going to be able to have relationships with certain people,’ and I had a really hard time dealing with that.
“I finally stopped harming myself two years ago. I had spent so much of my life doing that to myself. I had gotten treatment, and I just didn’t want to keep doing that to myself anymore. I really didn’t want to die.
“I also had an eating disorder for a while. When I was in treatment, I was refusing to eat my meal, and I went to my room at the treatment place. This group of girls that were at my table came upstairs and encouraged me to finish my meal, and they sat with me until I finished it. That was one of the most meaningful moments of my life. I was like, ‘Wow. They are struggling themselves, but they are taking time out of their day to show me compassion, that they care. We became such good friends after that. We still talk to this day, and that was two years ago.
“I am a psychology major. I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life, but I know I want to help people, whether it’s as a nurse or a psychologist or something else. I know I am here to help people.”
~ Ocean Grove