My name is Courtney Cunningham. I am 20 (almost) years old, redheaded, loud, and passionate to a fault. I am currently working towards degrees in both Vocal Performance and Psychology.
I kind want to do everything in my life. I want to work as Princess Ariel in Disney World, land my dream roles, march in feminist rallies, volunteer at mental health facilities and animal shelters, go vegan, protest the government, travel Europe, get my psychology doctorate… and this ridiculous list goes on. But my biggest “dream” is ultimately being the first in a long history of dysfunction to make a happy, healthy, musical home for my children- and if there’s one thing I will make happen, it’s that.
But basically, I aspire to be a Clinical Psychologist that teaches private studio voice. Crazy, right? I strive to help people find their voices, but most importantly find their inner strength and their happiness. I aim to give support and treatment to those suffering with a mental illness. Because like so many others, I know what it’s like to be afraid of your own mind.
I have this thing, this cloud of darkness in my head. It’s been labeled with many diagnoses: Anorexia, Bulimia, Major Depression, dysthymia, anxiety, insomnia, self-harm, EDNOS— but these are all really just different faces of the same demon. And I’ve had this demon/cloud/whateverthehell it is in my head for as long as I can remember. In my worst moments, this ‘thing’ has led me to four hospitalizations (two of which occurred this year) for everything from my heart failing to a suicide attempt, but this year I finally started going to treatment. I’m on medications. I’m in therapy. I’m on a meal plan. I’m in love with the most selfless and patient person I’ve ever met. And all of these things are really helping me.
I’m working hard to make sure that I emerge from this strong and compassionate, rather than damaged and bitter. My goals, my sisters, my friends, my wonderful boyfriend, and my supportive family are fueling me with the motivation and love that I need to fully recover and heal.
And it’s truly a gift from God.
The road ahead of me may be long and difficult, but there’s no way I’m backing down. Someday I’m going to be the heroine of this story, and there is absolutely nothing that is going to stand in my way. Not even myself.