133 thoughts on “Anxiety and Depression

  1. There is no feasible way you can pass through life without having a sad moment, but for every stormy sky, there’s a sunny day on the horizon. There’s sunshine after the rain, and it’s true. You have to take the bitter and the sweet. It’s inevitable. It’s like when I was a kid, I loved my family and loved having them around. I was naive, and always tried to find the bright side around things, and for the most part, my childhood was the “sweet” part. Here and there, there were events that helped teach me about the world and mature me, I learned that there will be rough patches in life that you can’t avoid no matter how hard you try. It catches up to you, beats you to the dirt, but you have to get up. You can’t give up or else those stormy skies just keep on raining. You have to take the hit, and stand back up, no matter how hard it hits, because the second you decide to sit in the dirt and give up, the stormy skies consume you.

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    • Honestly reading that just improved my mood on the day. For me, I get stormy weather majority of the time but today is going to be different thanks to you. Love the piece and thanks for sharing.

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    • Very well said, and I agree with you on every part. Without a mistake, there is no lesson. Mistakes are the building blocks to your life, and you have to push through mistakes, to learn from them.

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    • Thank you Nathan for writing this. So many people think life is glitz and glamor, but there are bad patches as you said above. Love the words of encouragement to keep on pushing through life.

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    • Jassehmarli Sebastien Antoine
      jantoine@umassd.edu

      The Possible Project (TPP) is an entrepreneurship program that helps teenagers make their business ideas come to life. Freshman year, I was new to my high school, so I looked for an afterschool program to join in order to make friends. I joined TPP because it offered me strong support, not just in creating a business, but also in preparing for college and developing leadership skills. I eventually started my own business called, Deadstockix. It is a shoe restoration company. I’ve always been interested in sneakers and have a big collection at home. I was inspired to start Deadstockix because I noticed that when my sneakers got dirty, I did not have the tools or time to clean them. Thinking that this issue must affect other people too, I created an affordable service that cleans customers’ shoes for them. Early on in starting my business, I was painting a customer’s shoe, and I messed up. I spilled paint all over the shoe. I was mad at myself because I didn’t think I would ever be able to fix this without them knowing. I decided to buy the customer a new pair of shoes altogether. From this failure I learned that I need to be more careful and create a real space to paint when I’m working on customer’s shoes. This lesson taught me to always be prepared and to take my time doing any task at hand.

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      • I have wanted to start my own business for quite a while. I’ve had ideas throughout high school but I haven’t pursued them enough to get them to go anywhere yet. I have one project now that I feel very passionate for and I have been trying my hardest to learn everything I need to know in order to pursue it. I’m impressed and inspired by your drive to get it started once you felt the need for the creation of the company, and I hope that I can take my drive and create something real with my ideas too. It’s nice to see a success story about someone who shares similar goals because it gives you the feeling that it can be done.

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    • I think this was very motivational in the sense that you cant let the bad consume your life. I agree with you that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that the good follows the bad. I also think that this optimistic point of view could help people with depression see that in order to know happiness and feel happy that you must also know sadness and hurt.

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    • Very inspirational! I agree with everything you have said and I hope people that read your post will apply your message to their lives!

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    • The motivation of positivity throughout this piece is amazing. Battling through the sadness that life brings, sometimes you feel nothing but the negative. However, believing that things will get better and there always won’t be a grey stormy sky in your eyes but rather pick yourself up and move forward.

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  2. Curling up in a ball, feeling insignificant, looking for an escape. Overcome with emotion built up due to the years of continuously pretending that everything was okay. Society has formed this generation of young teens into believing their bodies need to be modified through countless procedures and feeling ashamed when they experience a bad day as life should be a piece of cake. It has brainwashed us into thinking therapists are for crazy people who are moments from jumping into the deep end and eating disorder clinics are solely for those who are overweight because how could someone skinny possess any problems? We are quick to judge in addition to comparing ourselves with those we see on the magazines forgetting entirely about the hours of photo-shop put into every image. Instead of embracing our differences and coming together as one, we separate and divide merely due to simple “imperfections”. Imperfections which are those society dooms to be hideous and ugly, an opinion so deep seated and detrimental it causes years of depression and heartache. But wait! As young teens we can’t be depressed or, god forbid, let anyone know the hardships we endure because that’s just not normal. So now what? Now we are forced to hide our feelings from those we hold dear to us because conversations about our problems become awkward causing friendships to fade away. Many don’t know what to say or how to react, all because of how society portrays those who struggle with mental illnesses.

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    • Couldn’t have said it better. It’s truly depressing and honestly disappointing how negligent society has become to acknowledge one another. It’s as though, everyone has become numb and succumbed to the stigma society has placed upon us. There is nothing to be upset about, why would there be, “millennial’s” have everything, what more could they ask for; who cares about accepting yourself for who you are, celebrities are turning to surgery to “fix” an “imperfection,”
      so why shouldn’t I? These “simple” solutions society has come up with to avoid accepting themselves for who they really are has made it so many have too become negligent of their self-worth, thus resulting in any progress in helping those with these issues/illnesses. Because, it’s like you said, it’s come to the point where it’s not normal to say your true feelings, and even doing so can be looked at as being “too sensitive.” I really appreciate you writing this and bringing the issue to light; otherwise, people wouldn’t acknowledge the truth of the matter and would continue to mindlessly live their lives in the shadows of our cryptic society; thank you.

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    • This is so well worded, and I agree completely. Society is so messed up and everyone is so quick to judge; yet were all the same really. Everyone experiences hardships and is always going through something and you never know what someone is going through so just be nice and respectful to everyone. You get what you give.

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    • I 100 percent agree with you. I also feel like society makes people change themselves either physically or mentally just to fit in or be the “normal.” But the normal is fake. We try and strive to look like the people in magazines or in movies but we should imbrace ourselves. This was a great blog post.

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    • Honestly, I know this feeling all too well. The stigmas against anything that isn’t an able-bodied and able-minded person are all too strong in this society. It is up to this generation and those beyond us to break down these barriers to bring down these stigmas and have a world where everyone is comfortable being themselves.

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    • I really connected with a lot of the things you said in this post, even though our experiences are pretty different based on gender. Thank you for writing this

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    • Wow, this is really a powerful piece of writing, I really can connect with the part about friendships fading away. I have had friendships fade away due to awkward conversations.

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    • I have found this blog post to be quite encouraging for those like me who struggle with mental illnesses everyday. This piece of writing allows others to realize that they are not alone in the intense battle with their mind. It is so accurate that society as a whole does not understand things like depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Most humans suffer with some kind of ailment without admitting it and society, for the most part, is to be blamed because of their definition of “normal”. It is a shame that mental illnesses are not considered as important to address as physical disabilities, especially since psychological disorders are extremely detrimental to any individuals quality of life. Great job on this blog post, Marina!

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    • Such a great and powerful message of how society views depression. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. I believe that society should show more concern about mental illnesses instead of brushing it off.

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    • Marina, as someone who has suffered through self image, I found your words empowering a inspiring. Rather than look at how pretty a model is on the cover of a magazine, focus on those people fighting for acceptance of all body types. Everyone is beautiful, and everyone should see that.
      Courtney Simpson

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  3. I prayed and I prayed but there was never any connection. I never felt relief, I never received guidance, I never believed. I grew up following the rules. I felt as if I was my family’s puppet. A prodigy for being obedient and diligent at home and in the classroom. I was making everyone happy except for myself. I let myself go, I was oblivious to my own physical and mental health. I was technically forced to do everything, since I never wanted to upset my elders. I was always willing to do everything unwillingly in fear of shame or punishment. When I had one ounce of fun, for some reason I was wrong. I was always wrong, the leather whipped me into the man I am today. Broken, empty, unhappy. Was it really all worth it? Trying so hard to keep other people in my life happy. Trying to keep a good reputation, for what? I lost myself.There are days when getting out of bed is the hardest thing to do. There are days when drinking or eating is the hardest thing to do. But I decide to hold it all in and hide behind a person I don’t even know how to explain.

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    • I understand that feeling. The requirement of obedience. It is expected that I do well in school, it is expected that I am happy. Expectations are, no pun intended, to be expected but it seems like all my parents say is how I am always taking what they do for me for granted. I’m sure that is somewhat true of me but it just seems like it is a constant grind for no recognition. I’m not a troublemaker, I get good grades and all I can seem to get from either of them is scolding.

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    • I know it is hard to go through this in our daily life. We fulfill their desires but in return gets nothing. I always wanted to share my feeling but there was no one to listen to my stories. So I found true and best online friends that help me get through difficulties that i faced. I know they wont be there at all the time but they did bring true me out of myself.

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      • I will not say I totally understand where you are coming from because I can’t, we are not the same person. I will say I have also followed the rules and did things for others even though I was not happy. We are expected to act a certain way to please others which can make us unhappy with ourselves.

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    • I as well have always followed the rules, always wanting to make sure that everyone else around me is satisfied and content. I never really looked inward and made sure that I was happy, that I was satisfied with my life. Thank you for your post, it helps so many of us knowing that we’re not alone and that others have experienced the same situations.

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    • I too feel like im making everyone else but myself happy. i always console my friends and ask them how they are feeling when they are upset, but when im feeling anxious or depressed i hide it because i dont want to be a burden on them.

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  4. Even though, people deal with specific losses or situations that they can’t control,
    it continuously occurs causing them to not know how to physically or mentally deal with it. Depression is more than feeling “low” or “sad”, it changes the chemicals in your brain, When chemicals in your brain are unbalanced it messes with the thought process as well as the rest of your body. This piece of information resembles the fact that most people that suffer from depression in many different ways, mostly because depression can change the way you normally act. It tends to alter the way you feel about yourself, other people and everything else in your life such as; your eating, sleeping, and study habits. I certainly believe that depression does have some sort of similarity to drugs. Adults and teens find it easier to escape from their thoughts by smoking marijuana and other sorts of drugs that make them feel “high”. To the best of my knowledge, I know for a fact that most teens use it as an excuse to try and remove some of those thoughts in their heads. For an example, once someone who is familiar with depression gets “high” their tolerance tends to increase. When it comes to a certain point to where they do not have any sort of drug that lets them “escape” from their problems, their dependence on that drug leads their “happiness” to go below their tolerance level because the more they use it, the more unsatisfied and unhappy they will become which is very bad for someone’s health.

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    • Hi Tatiana, After reading your statement, which was well said! one of the things you said that stood out and is so incredibly important for people to know is “depression is more than feeling low or sad” I feel a lot of people automatically assume and relate the word depression with sadness and yes u can feel that way sometimes but that’s not the only feeling that can come with it, I suffer from depression, and saddess is definitely not the only feeling I experience

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    • A very insightful look into depression from someone who suffers from it. Posts like this help people to acknowledge that they are not alone in their battle against mental illness. Also ideniftes and corrects the misconcepts/sterotypes againsts depression that some people STILL fail to understand. Especially affecting students who require a lot of mental disciplne, and how depression can affect study habits, intrests, and energy level which are all important to a college student.

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    • I agree with so many points you made. Due to depression being such a big part of a person life to the point it consumes them, they turn to unhealthy and often times dangerous (such as drugs) to numb the pain or to feel something and it turns them into something completely different. I still think people do not quite understand how impacting depression can be on a person and what it can do to you.

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  5. The feeling of being alone and hopeless is one that really takes its toll.
    Even when everyone around you is happy and cheerful, the monsters in your head want you to feel empty. It almost feels like nothing can cheer you up at all. That’s where you begin to lose hope. You don’t open up to anyone because you don’t want to be a bother or look like a fool. You keep it all to yourself because you don’t want anyone to think different of you. You don’t want to make your problems someone else’s as well.
    It happens out of nowhere. Any day, any time. Sometimes you just wake up and have that empty feeling inside you. In my case, anxiety prevented me from doing so many things. I wouldn’t even leave the house. Being so secluded just made me have too much time to think.
    The best thing I did to overcome it was talk about it and step out of my comfort zone. I forced myself to finally get out there and enjoy myself. I made so many new friends and it slowly became easier. I was happy. People understood me when I needed to talk. You don’t realize how many people support you once you finally talk to them.
    Before I decided to talk about my struggles, I always thought it would never end. I would always feel like this and there was nothing I could do about it.
    Talk about it. Get out there, enjoy yourself. You only get one life, make the best of it. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

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    • I agree with everything you said and the last few statements are powerful. I believe the feeling of hopelessness resonates in everyone, and more light should be shed on it. Everyone should know there’s hope and purpose to every single life out there, and so many people need another to just simply listen and we don’t even know it. Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

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    • I loved you’re statement. Everyone should be able to talk to someone about what they are going through. The feeling of being alone can sometimes change a person and no one should have to go through it.

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    • Everything you said in this was very relatable and inspiring. It’s so important for people to talk about their struggles and recognize they aren’t alone.

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    • As a person with anxiety I completely understand what you are saying. In every sense the anxiety makes difficult to reach out for help because you jump to the absolute worst case scenario and become afraid to ask for help. However the only real way to get through that is to get help. In my case I got lucky. My friends found me and I was the outgoing one who sparked a friendship but they instead found me. As I got more friends it became easier to break out of my shell and become my true self and as that happened my social anxiety lessened and now I am more out going.

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  6. Too many people in a room talking all at the same time. Being late to school and having to walk into a classroom already filled with people. Calling my dentist to reschedule an appointment. Asking a friend if they want to go out for dinner. Believe it or not, those are all anxiety-inducing for me and probably are for a lot of people. It is easy to hide your anxiety, not all panic and anxiety attacks consist of hyperventilating, shaking, and crying. It’s hiding in the bathroom, or finding a separate room at a party and leaving early. It’s not even showing up to school if you’re going to be late. It’s waiting until the dentist reschedules on its own, or maybe they won’t. It’s staying in your room all day instead of going out. Sure, sometimes something gets too overwhelming and you do burst into tears and uncontrollable breathing, but a reaction won’t be the same in different situations. The stigma given to people with anxiety, or people with any mental illness, is well known throughout society. We are seen as unstable and continue to suffer because these illnesses are widely understood and are treated improperly. I work in a fast food restaurant as a cashier, and sometimes I am left to do two people’s jobs by myself. It gets overwhelming fast and it only gets harder the more anxious I get throughout a shift. Luckily there is someone there that I trust that I can say that I need a second to get my head back on and some time to breathe. I find it so upsetting that when I do so on occasion, I receive looks from co-workers like I am unable to do my job and like they are confused why I haven’t been fired for having an anxiety disorder. I continue to work on myself day by day, to stretch my comfort zone to lessen the anxiety that I get in some situations. As a society, we should broaden people’s mind and be able to educate people in mental illness, to create a more welcoming and understanding space for people who struggle with this every day. I believe that this would make this world a slightly better place, and a step to becoming something more than what we have been.

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    • I completely agree with your thought on the stigma of anxiety. Society likes to paint how everyone should view certain things and it isn’t fair. I hope your co-workers try to open their minds more and be more understanding of you. You’re very inspiring and strong for stretching your comfort zone.

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    • I couldn’t relate more to the part where even many minor things are anxiety inducing for you. I have the same exact problem. It makes day to day tasks a little more difficult. Some people don’t understand how it feels for us. Something as small as requesting a day off at work will get my heart racing and I feel like the whole world is against me. It’s hard but I try my best to step out of my comfort zone and get myself in these situations to get accustomed to them.

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    • I totally agree that we as a society need to broaden the view of people with mental illness. It seems that society is so quick to judge those when they don’t understand what someone is really going through. What may seem like an insignificant task to some could be the biggest deal to someone who suffers with an anxiety disorder.

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  7. I tend to get anxious often. Sometimes my anxiety is about things I can’t control. Sometimes it’s about a task so trivial I could be done with it in no time if I actually got started on it. For example, I got this assignment done in less than half an hour, and yet I’ve been panicking about it for the last month. In fact, I didn’t get started with most of the things I needed to do to get ready for college until several weeks after orientation. It’s a vicious cycle; my anxiety makes me procrastinate, and when I procrastinate, I get more anxious. My father says he was the same way once, and he learned that if he had something to do, he had to do it right then and there, or it would never get done at all. I’ve found that it’s not that easy for me. I’ll get ready to do my task, and right before I get started, I freeze. Unless I get some help, I’ll usually stay frozen until my anxiety outweighs my inertia. However, there is a flip side to all this. While I have a lot of inertia, I also have a lot of momentum once I get started. It’s all a matter of pushing through the wall. Once I build up momentum I can go down an entire list. They say that the hardest part of any journey is the first step. If there is a truer saying, I have yet to hear it.

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    • I can really connect with this post Adam, considering I also struggled with the anxiety of this assignment and then realize it wasn’t as a big of a deal as I thought it would be. The problem is when I finish, I know I will still have anxiety over the thought I may have not done something right. I struggle with the presence of things to be done, but also with the absence of things that need to be done. Absence may even feel worse than knowing I have a task. It refreshing to hear I’m not the only person that struggles with things like this

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  8. Can you imagine one day your happy and the next day your life doesn’t feel the same anymore. Until today, I’m still wondering where my happiness went and how can I get it back. It hits me life happened, and I grew up which mean I had to depend on myself. I went from spoil girl that had everything but her freedom to having it all when I turned 18. My own apartment even though I had roommates and closing my circle on friends and family because, the people I loved and trusted disappointed me the most which made me feel I only had myself. I think of myself as a soldier, I build it to feel no emotions, the weapon I use is a wall in my heart that has all my feelings and experience I been through so much so to help myself not to make the same mistake again, I shut down and kept everything in. The sad part is when gets to me hard especially letting people in and giving in. I have no trust not even in my own shadow. I became overwhelmed my senior, disappointments after another, I couldn’t handle it, but I had to be strong to graduate. I was stress. I had mood swings. I was losing weight, I would go weeks without eating, I felt weak and my body wasn’t handling the changes. I couldn’t sleep for days, had no concentrations and motivations for anything. I went to my doctor for help. She referred me to counseling because I didn’t want to take medication for help. I shut down completely after that with my friends because, didn’t know how to talk about it or where to begin. Just made me cry and I felt so alone and that nobody understands me. I put so much pressure in myself and lied to myself that I was okay. I felt like I was the problem for every issue. At the end of the day I wanted to disappear and never come back. The only thing that kept me going is my parents even though, they are not here with me. They are my light.

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  9. 10.18.17 – Approx. 11:30 AM. This is the exact moment I got myself into a one-car accident in the stupidest way possible with my favorite car, a car I can say I truly loved and loved driving. This was when I totaled my 2004 40th Anniversary Mustang. I thought my first crash was going to be my only crash, I was so confident and I thought I could show off my car, that I had such a cool car. I guess in a way I was arrogant, thinking I had such a better car, in the end, that was my downfall. The way it happened is, we had a half day of school so two friends and I were going to hang out at my house after we got lunch. On our way home I wanted to take a shortcut so we went by a local high school that was having lunch outside. We saw this, more rather I saw this as an opportunity to show off and I went way too fast around a corner and lost control. I slid into a curb so hard I pushed my front right wheel in and back and messed up the frame, door, hood, and cracked the windshield. It was a wreck. I was a wreck. Once again no one was hurt, just shaken up. I really thought I had it all planned out, I had such big plans for that car and I, I loved that car. To know that I’m never getting it back still saddens me.

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  10. I believe that there’s a better way to explain mental health. Anxiety and depression being the two most commonly talked about mental health disorders, need to be taught in schools on how to understand what people are going through and the right time to get them help or encourage them to seek help if necessary. I speak to this on a personal level and from my experience through the middle and high school education I received, I feel teachers weren’t able to properly discuss anxiety and depression, though it is definitely something that needed to be talked about. Starting in middle school is the time to discuss these two disorders. They are serious and affect a lot of us. I think it’s helpful if adults/faculty/parents were educated in what goes on in our generation and take classes or a class from doctors or people who can understand what depression and anxiety are; and not just focus on the negatives, but how we can discuss the positive ways to help one another lessen the thoughts of suicide. At the end the day the main goal is preventing anyone from getting to that point in there life. In my experience the education I got on this topic in mental health was given to us in a very generic and planned out format, not really allowing thoughts of personal experience and true care about the topic flow into a deeper conversation. I believe engaging in conversation and educating people on the understanding of mental health disorders needs to be taught in schools appropriately and this needs to begin sooner rather later.

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    • I completely agree, now that I think back depression and anxiety were brushed over right next to schizophrenia and drug use. There is a strong social stigma around anxiety and depression that only worsens the lives of the people with them.

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  11. Feeling like you’re losing yourself sinking into the sunlight. Feeling like there is no reason for the corners of your mouth to point up, but rather only anchor down. Feeling like nothing will ever be fine again and there is no escape. These were all thoughts that rapidly occurred through my sick and twisted mind for as long as I can remember. Always unsure who to go to for help, keeping everything bottled inside to eat me alive. Every morning to every night theres a consistent reminder being drilled into my head that I will never be enough; not enough for my siblings, my friends, my parents, or even me. There have been days that I could have sworn would be my last and when I scream for help it seems like theres no one there to help. After years pass of pitiful darkness that had been my life, I finally saw a gleaming light. I have been attending concerts most of my life, but as I grew, the more I began to appreciate what I had. Being crowded into a small general admission floor with thousands of people singing and screaming to our favorite songs and watching the artists we all admire so much in front of us doing what they love most. These dark and run down small concert halls became not only a safe space, but a second home where I can express all my feelings and struggles throughout my life and know that there are people who care, people who will guide me through the dark. Of course, there are still days where I slip back into the grey, but now I know that there is a way out.

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  12. Have you ever had that feeling in your stomach, like you’ve hit rock bottom and no one around you realizes your in pain? Or even know and see your in pain but they ignore you because they don’t know how to confront you? If so then I too was in that position from seventh grade to about half way through sophomore year and the whole time I was experiencing it I had felt like society had failed me. Some may ask what caused me to become so depressed well almost a quarter of the way through seventh grade I lost my best friend to cancer, I was devastated because before she was my friend i didn’t have anyone I was alone but optimistic for the future, but after she was gone I was again alone but this time broken. I believe that should be more awareness for anxiety and depression and that teachers should be better prepared to help out a child in need of mental help for anxiety or depression. Some ways that could make this belief a reality is that there should be a mandatory class for faculty that teach them how to handle a situation where a student is in need of mental help. When it comes to spreading awareness there should be a optional support group meeting mid way through and after every semester, there will always be those individuals who would probably think its lame or even stupid but that is the reason why its optional. Whether or not these ideals some how come into fruition i still believe there should be more awareness for anxiety and depression among teachers and even students.

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  13. Curled up in a ball bawling my eyes out late at night while screaming in a pillow so my mom wouldn’t hear me in the next room. Wearing long sleeves shirts so no one could see the pain I was in. Mom said it was just a faze everyone gets sad sometimes. But I was always anxious. Mom said I was growing and is normal to be a little anxious. But I’m crying and screaming at 2am wondering why my mind won’t sleep. But it’s just a faze. My mind is racing and my leg is shaking and I just can’t sit still in this desk. I can’t listen to the teacher my mind is racing I can take it I want to rip my hair out as I’m screaming inside why me. I lay in my bed hearing the tapping on the walls get louder and louder. Mom says it’s the heating vents but the therapist says it’s depression but mom says she’s crazy and my mind is still racing why can’t I just get some rest or an answer as to why I’m never happy why am I always numb why can’t I feel a single thing. The doctor evaluation says I have server depression and anxiety. But what did I do to not be able to be happy. Depression and anxiety is something that gets shut down but a lot of people. I believe in spreading awareness for the illness because people like me shouldn’t feel like there alone or there being shut out. Depression and anxiety has increased over the years due to scientific study and I hope that one day someone that is suffering is told that there is help and there not alone.

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    • Hi Milena, although I haven’t had experiences exactly like yours, I can connect with you on the fact that anxiety can eat up your life for absolutely no reason at all. I constantly feel anxiety and sometimes have to cry it out or take a deep breath and I wish I could go into my mind and understand why I feel anxiety but the truth is, I don’t think ill ever know. when I have a hard time, I tell myself everything will be okay and eventually ill figure out what to do. You’re not alone and I hope you are able to spread awareness and help someone that will really appreciate it.

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  14. Having Anxiety and Depression, those are the two feelings I’ve been carrying in chest mostly all my life. As a little kid, I was truly happy and always smiling no matter what I’m doing. But as time went on this real smile turned more into a mask, piece by piece, hiding what I was truly feeling. The more I did it the more I felt I was drowning with nobody to save me, just going down of an unending depression. Having to go to school, were I felt I was “that kid” that everyone felt sorry for. By being friends with me, I felt that you’re doing me a favor and that made me feel more lonely .But even if that person wanted to be my friend, a voice came up whispering in my ear saying “you can’t be friends with this smart person, who is better than you and who would be friends with someone like you. You know that having nothing is better than having you around”. I never wanted to make people feel like a horrible person so I just played along like I was happy to be their friend. I kept sacrificing my feelings to make the other person feel I better about themselves. Every time I did that it felt as if I just cutting myself from the inside, to a point where I’m numb and not realizing I’ve been destroying myself. I couldn’t ask for help because I thought it would make me look too vulnerable and telling that person would make them feel worried about me. I never want anyone to worry about me and having to look at me as if I’m a damaged kid who needed to be saved. There were a few times where I found a best friend, that understood me in a way and wanting to talk about I how felt, but I didn’t want to risk them looking at me like everyone else did. I’ve learned not to make anyone feel excluded from anything because nobody deserves that feeling. I’m always going to be kind toward anybody because I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but I want to be that one positive person that makes you feel better and actually accepting you as a friend.

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  15. At the age of 10, I didn’t know why I was consistently feeling sad and as though I had nothing to look forward to. The sad feeling was so immense at times, but at other times I felt good; it was a series of sadness that came in waves. I couldn’t identify this feeling. As a child, feeling these waves of constant fluctuating emotions was confusing; I had no solid reason to be sad as much as I was, I didn’t get it. As time went on and I got older, my fluctuating emotions died down and for the most part, I was happy with sadness floating in every once in a while, but nothing out of the ordinary. My junior year of high school my once “died down feeling of fluctuating sadness” turned into the strongest feeling of sadness I have ever felt in my life time; now that I had been older, I could now identify these feelings as my anxiety and depression. I would consistently feel trapped, suffocated, and as though I would pass to at any second because my feeling of anxiety was so immense. My anxiety would cause me to lash out on people I loved and break into crying spells for hours at a time, leaving me in a spiral of lost motivation, depression, and not knowing what to do with myself. This feeling lasted about a year and a half for me until I finally found the medical attention I needed by seeing a counselor and a psychiatrist. If you feel in such a way where you feel lost in your own life, never be afraid to get help; it just may save your life.

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    • Growing up I also struggled with these unwarranted and unexplainable feelings of anxiety and depression that only got worse as I matured so I understand how you felt. In order to cope I pushed people away and isolated myself so I wouldn’t be a burden. But dealing with everything exclusively on my own challenged the relationships I had with others and like you had mentioned I also became a ticking time bomb and could explode any second. I have been making steps to better understand myself and allow more people in on how I feel and I agree that seeking guidance from others really does help.

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    • I understand the feelings you have experienced but rather in waves of sadness it was every day for a few years, but unlike your experience i had a few reasons for my sadness but sometimes i would think that a few of my reasons were just excuses for how i’m feeling just so I wouldn’t think i’m crazy but when i asked my mom about it she told me that i had depression and anxiety and that she knew I had it for a long time and didn’t tell me for a while, its a little upsetting but at least she told me when i was ready

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  16. Living with depression is one of the most difficult things to deal with. It’s a mental game that just sucks all the energy out of you. No motivation to go to school, workout, even hang out with friends sometimes. Even though you know those things will help you, you just don’t have the motivation. It’s a dangerous snowball effect that leaves you upset and confused. With that being said, there is always, always a positive to every negative. Ever since I was a kid I always seemed like I was the happiest person alive, and even now it seems that way at times. Except I’m not. I know what it’s like to not feel happy, I have most of my life. No one should have to go through that which is why I try my best to help others and brighten their day. In doing so, it often helps me in return because it brightens my day… by brightening theirs. Another positive I had found with depression, is I often see the worst in things. Sometimes with others, sometimes with myself, but sometimes with the world around me. I see that the environment is dying, I see that people are dying, I see all the problems that our society currently faces. All I want to do is fix them. Part of engineering is taking the bad or broken stuff and fixing it or making it better. Improving lights, improving cars, improving clean energy. That is what engineering is all about and having depression has helped me choose the path of engineering to better the world.

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  17. Being diagnosed with depression at the age of 7 had a huge impact on my schooling, I was lucky enough to be placed in a school system that was well equipped to help a child suffering with severe depression and anxiety. Although I know I was lucky I know that many kids like myself slip through the cracks and don’t have the help they need in a school setting. School is where we spend most of our time as adolescence and if a student is suffering from anxiety and/ or depression this is going to have an impact on their academic and social behaviors. I believe that the lack of education in students and staff in the school environment involving mental health is allowing a large amount of students to slip through the cracks. I believe that there should be more education for students and staff in public schools nationwide would greatly help not only to break the mental health stigma, but also help students who are struggling feel safer opening up to a teacher. guidance counselor, or friend who could help provide resources that could help these students take steps in the right direction. I understand that often times the issue is that there are not enough guidance counselors to go around in larger schools but the possibility to have more guidance counselors/ school psychologists could help greatly. I also believe that with the education of students on mental health could help break the stigma on mental health for future generations and help students who aren’t struggling to understand their peers who are.

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  18. For the longest time, I always thought I was normal. It wasn’t until recently when I started thinking that maybe this wasn’t the case. Growing up, I may have appeared fine, but in middle school I didn’t exactly fit in. Sure I was pretty smart, but I was quiet and introverted. Once I got to high school, it did get a little better. Freshman year I came out of my shell a bit more, began to find myself and discover my interests, and found other people who held the same interests that I did. I felt better, but still there were always those moments where I felt that I didn’t fit in. The emotions that stemmed from those times left me feeling anxious, lonely, withdrawn, and above all, sad. They left me feeling not good enough or that I was simply doing something wrong when I talked to people. I didn’t exactly put a word to these feelings until the end of my junior year when I realized, “I think I may have depression”. The only problem was that these feelings were so on and off that I didn’t seriously think I had it. However I still felt like these mood swings are something to take seriously, no matter the person, so I confided in people that I trust, and they listened. In return, I heard their stories as well. Even though their stories were worse than mine, they didn’t belittle me, and in return, I didn’t dismiss their feelings either. I guess what I’m really trying to say is, even though you may not have been clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety, your feelings are still very valid, regardless of what you or other people think they are. I want people to know that everyone can go through a depression phase, no matter if they led a seemingly normal life or grew up in oppressive households. Your feelings will always matter.

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  19. ” Vvvrrrr….vvvrrr…. You have reached the voicemail box of-” I hang up the phone. I text them, no answer. I give them another two minutes and call again, no answer. I text one last time telling them I’d be on my way in a matter of minutes if they don’t call back, I wait- 1:47 AM. I’m about to get up and just head to their house when -” riiiing.” I grab my phone and hear their voice. I take a deep breath knowing that tonight I don’t have to speed to their house, that somehow were managing to get by hour by hour.
    That same scenario has played out more times than I can count, and sometimes results in a sleepless night. The countless days I’ve spent struggling to stay awake and nights having anxiety attacks as I wait for replies, knowing every minute counts in these situations, are no doubt miserable. However, none of that matter because for me being dependable is everything.
    Just think about it. If someone turns to you in one of their lowest moments, they trust you with everything they have, how can you not do everything you can to be there for them. Not only in that sense but people need to be able to depend on you in order to work together, there’s always a give and take relationship, you need to be able to pull your weight. Being dependable in all situations can get you so far in life, the experiences I’ve had have only proved that to me and imbedded the trait into my being. From late nights on the phone or in the theatre doing tasks no one else wants to, dependability is key.

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  20. It’s not every day that we stop and think about how lucky we are sometimes and be grateful for it. I believe that we have to have some gratitude for the things that have happened to us whether it be the small things that happen every day like winning a game or just having a good day. And the big things like having a good family or being able to go to college. We should all be grateful for the good things that happen to us because not everyone has the same luck or things that we have. Some people are not born into a great family and have a tough time as a child. Some people may have a good family but can’t go to college because of its cost and some people are born with learning or physical disabilities and have a harder time in school or just in life in general. I am lucky enough to not have any of these problems. However, my brother does have a learning disability. So I am grateful that I do not have one and that other people understand that things that they take for granted are more difficult for my brother. I think that my parents have raised me to be grateful for the things that I have and not to be too jealous of the things I don’t have. So, in conclusion, I believe it is important to be grateful for the things that we have because not everyone gets to experience the things we do.

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  21. Coming from a small, secluded town I never really knew how to express myself. I never really fit into the normal small-town cliques like the athletes, the troublemakers, or even the nerds. I never understood the basics of socialization or how to make friends. I always kept to myself because I would get extremely anxious because I never really knew what to say to anyone past the generalized greetings in passing. I thought I was always going to be that anxious form of myself until I found performing arts. Yeah, I know, you’re thinking, “Wow, he became a band geek to find friends and become a new person,”. You’re right, I sure did. Taking my first steps into the grandiose field that is music and performing arts, I found the way to finally express myself in a way that I never had known before. Music allowed me to throw all my emotion into a performance and express myself and who I am without words. Performing arts was how I escaped my former self and left that shy, awkward kid in the past. Because of performing arts, I have become much more outgoing, vocal person, learning multiple other instruments to fill in gaps in the music where I was needed and becoming a captain for our marching band junior and senior year. I am a performer, I use music as my escape and I am proud of all the growth that I have seen in myself since I was introduced to music.

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  22. Like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.” – E.V. Thomas

    Growing up life wasn’t always easy for me. With a dysfunctional family, hectic arguments were not rare to circulate around in my household. I prayed for better days and that someday and somehow, my family would realize that their words, actions, and incapability to support me had a negative impact on me and my possible future. Despite the traumatic events I suffered as a child, through recognizing my own limitations and the importance of self-care I was able to get through it. I still managed to stay positive.
    There were moments throughout high school where I would describe that chapter of my life as a dark, gloomy cloud. As conditions became worse in my household, I felt as if I was slowly running out of the energy needed for me to have positive vibes. I found myself in a dark place without a guide or light to aid me out. I felt trapped in a battle with depression. I was defeated. Home seemed more like a vacant space that was occupied with a broken family. This began to affect my relationships with others and it also had a big impact on my work ethic in school. I went from a Honor Roll student who was very involved in track and community service to a D and F student who went straight home every day. I began to recognize that in this lifetime everything that you do and every move that you make will impact your future. Continuing to think negatively will only lead you into a negative path. I first realized that I needed to help myself when I was helping others in counseling. I was a part of an in-patient care program for a few days. There, we had group discussions on issues that were ongoing in our lives, how they affected us, and ways we can resolve them. I realized that if I am able to help others then I also need to be able to help myself. I took the first steps by comprehending what was going on with my emotions and the steps I can take to validate them. Engaging with others who may have experienced similar predicaments as the one I experienced helped me build the anticipation I needed to fight off my depressed state of mind. Self-care is not only essential, but it is also crucial to your well-being.

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  23. For thirteen years I’ve gone to one school with the same people, day in day out. I never had to worry about meeting new people because new students were not common after a certain grade. Seeing the same people everyday made me very comfortable, so I was known as a very outgoing person. Even when I was not in school but hung out with friends, I was still very comfortable in public and was bold enough to talk to strangers. Looking from inside out it seems like a blessing to know all these people and it gives you a sense of reassurance. However reassurance is a blessing and a curse. I say it’s a curse because after leaving I only remained in contact with five people and they are four of my closest friends and one of them is now my roomate. Now I get really nervous thinking about new people because it’s very hard to trust people because you don’t know their true intentions. Even scrolling through the Facebook page or the app group chat I see people who I think I can possibly be friends with but then I get anxious about adding them on instagram or snapchat because I don’t want anyone to think badly of me or think I am a creep of some kind.
    I’m just hoping that i find really good friends who i can talk about personal things with and that i can meet people who will try to help me become the best me possible.

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    • This post is so relatable. I lived in Korea for 16 years and created bonds with the people, the place, and the culture. I’m so nervous to start meeting new people when school starts because I’m so afraid people will reject me because I’m not from around the U.S. in general. Know that you aren’t alone!

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  24. Within this past year, I worked the weekend and closing shifts at a local TJMaxx. At first everything was alright, I didn’t mind my job as a cashier and my school workload was manageable for me to balance between the two. But slowly all the days became identical, I’d get out of school, do my homework and get ready for work. I became lost in the dull cycle and could literally predict which song came next in the five-song playlist that constantly played. One day I finally snapped, I couldn’t take it anymore between stress of college applications and the customers nagging how I didn’t know how to work the register or how I was overcharging a set-priced item. With all the negativity building up over the past couple of months, I sank down to my lowest point. I started showing up late to school almost every day just because I couldn’t find a reason to get out into the world because I knew what lied in store for me. Nevertheless, I’d eventually pry myself out of bed and throw on a fake smile to get through the school day. This went on for quite some time until one day my facade cracked and one of my close friends found out. I was reluctant to open up at first because I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, after all, I’ve never really shown any major negative emotions, no breakdowns or anything. But at the end, my reluctant attitude gave away to his stubbornness. He helped walk me through some parts of my depression. And for the gray clouds that he couldn’t shoo away, he introduced me to a therapist to help me walk through the dark times. If it wasn’t for him supporting me, I’d most likely still be stuck at rock bottom.

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  25. Few things intrigue me more than the analysis of everything.
    I’ve always had a certain hunger for knowledge, a craving to take in as much information as possible. Even as a child, this need was reinforced. I have spent countless hours scouring the web-far too many to keep track of-researching various interests and formulating theories. This search for knowledge spans from Wikipedia pages, to breaking down the different tropes that make up a variety of media, to watching countless instructional videos on YouTube.
    But my need for knowledge can be obsessive. Staying up until 4:00 am researching the most random statistics, pulling apart media trope for trope, analyzing near meaningless information. As an example of this, I randomly calculated the 2014 population of all counties on the Gulf of Mexico, for the sole purpose of using it as a bonus fact in a school project.
    Why? Why do this?
    Because cramming my brain with trivia keeps me distracted. Keeps me sane. I don’t like to be alone with my thoughts. It never ends well. So even when my search for knowledge leads me into darker, more unsettling places, when going down the rabbit hole leads to facts I really, really didn’t need to know, I still find satisfaction in my research. It keeps my thoughts moving, so that I feel less lost in my own mind. The pursuit of knowledge gives my life substance, makes me a bit less numb.
    Because I’d rather think of anything but myself.

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    • Hey Emily. I can totally relate to how you feel though I haven’t distracted myself with gaining knowledge. I tend to distract myself with the people around me whether it be a friend or boyfriend I kind of focus on someone else and helping them rather than helping myself. Sometimes its good but too much can be bad for you. You need to focus on yourself too! whether it be eating healthier or getting some exercise. Take some time away from the internet maybe and do a “me time” kind of day . Go out with some friends and enjoy good company rather than a computer screen.

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  26. As a child, some of us had a common fear. A monster. Whether it hid under the bed, in the closet, in the dark, or behind something, it still caused some type of fear. But as we grow up, the fear begins to dissolve and sometimes, we can forget, and maybe even move on. But for some, depression becomes our new monster under the bed. It’s many different faces can creep and slither into our mind and consume us.When your mind is idle, it seems like a playground or amusement park that’ll slowly draw depression in. In the night, just before falling asleep, it seems to run wild. Lying awake as a bombardment of scenarios and questions creep into your mind can create a sleepless night for anyone. Depression can be the monster that can leave anyone awake and crippled with anxiety. Most days are better than most. But sometimes, life is like candy. Each dealing with a piece of bitterness. It can have sweet and bitter happiness that feels oh so sensational. But, then there can also be the side to life where it’s possible to get the bitter and sour unsatisfactory piece.

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    • The connection between depression and the monster in our closets is very well done. I personally deal with mental illness but not everyone does, this is a great way to visualize it.

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    • I agree with you. Life has its ups and downs. Depression is scary by how much it can change your life. You never know what can happen but you can always try and make the best of what life throws at you.

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  27. I believe that there is a positive side to everything, and it’s allowed me to cope with my pestilence known as anxiety. A couple years ago, that thought manifested in my mind. It was like I had a breakthrough in my studies and found a cure for all cancers. It seemed silly as if it were something I’d read in a kid’s book, yet enlightening as if I knew the answers of the universe. Just this one simple thought taught me how to get through my life plagued with anxiety and depression. When I first sat down and contemplated it, I thought it was just a simple idealistic idea that meant nothing. But after a bit more thinking, I just realized I just had the wrong perspective, and this realization would change me for the rest of my days.
    I had a pretty realist outlook on everything mostly due to my depression, and I still do. I took life how it came, accepted it, and moved on. Even when losing both of my older brothers before I turned 12, I was able to accept it as a part of life and a learning experience. Despite being fine after such tragic events, my mental disorders still found time to run rampant on the smaller things. Simple things like middle school and high school destroyed my mind. If a major tragic event were to happen, I would always be able to cope with it and be fine, but when it came to simple things like homework, sleep, and even raising my hand in class for an answer I was positive I knew, I lost my cool. I was able to persevere and stay vigilant despite the negatives all the way up until junior year when one night I finally crumbled under the boundless ocean of anxiety that is my mind.
    Curled up into a ball late at night under my sheets, I was finally fed up with my illogical thoughts. I didn’t want to worry about these things when I could just get them done, but I almost never could. My worries finally crippled me to the point that I couldn’t get anything done. When I did do them, I always found the majority surprisingly easy and wondered what I was stressed over. Even knowing this, some simple tasks were nigh impossible. Many contradictions arose in my mind between my realism and anxiety. As another student on here wrote, “The hardest step of any journey is always the first.” and it couldn’t be truer. All of these thoughts raced through my head throughout the night, and suddenly like an epiphany happened before me, I realized one simple thing that was the answer to everything.
    If I just forced myself to look at the positive side of things, no matter what those things were, and no matter what I was worried about, I could do them. If I just looked at my school work and decided that no matter what, as long as I do it, and the benefits outweighed the negatives, then I could do it. There’s a good side to everything, and as long as I focused my mind on it, nothing could stand in my way. As long as I carried this maxim around with me, my anxiety couldn’t revolt. The dense fog in my muddled mind finally cleared, and while minor events still occur, they no longer control my life.

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  28. Friendship. The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends. A relationship between friends. A state of mutual trust and support between allied nations. Think of your group of friends. Are they a secure support system? Do you keep in contact everyday? Are they up-to-date on your personal life? Think of the last time that you’ve had dark thoughts that you couldn’t share with anyone. Did you feel alone? If not, then consider the last time you’ve checked on one of your friends. Are they okay? Are they happy? These are the questions that we need to start thinking about when we think of our friends. I’ll admit I wasn’t always up to date on my friends lives. It’s very easy to become distracted with things like college, work, family, etc.. It wasn’t until I had a very close friend of mine show me cuts running deep into her arm that underneath a big smile and a laugh that could fill a room, there was a girl who was hurting and needed help. Knowing that someone so close to me kept this from me for so long not only hurt me but It made me feel like a bad friend. Maybe If I checked in a couple more times, paid attention to her more often, or looked for signs, I could’ve prevented it. I believe that It’s time that we start spreading awareness of Mental Health. Not only will it make us more prepared for dark moments but It could strengthen our relationships with loved ones.

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    • Reading the questions in the beginning made me remember how often I tend to forget my friends needs. If they didn’t try to get my attention, I wouldn’t try to get theirs. I still struggle with keeping in touch with them, now that we’re going our separate ways for college, but this post helped motivate me to check in on a couple friends in particular. I’ve known them since middle school, and sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d recognized their struggles earlier, if maybe I could have done something to really help them out. Moving forward, I will try to be more perceptive of my friends’ mental health.

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  29. Trivial tasks such as meeting new people, ordering off a menu, asking for help in a store, or even writing this essay may seem easy to most people, but for me it’s like the end of the world. Every decision I make is like a bomb defusal, and I feel like all the weight is on me to defuse the bomb, but I don’t know which wire to cut, and I don’t want to cut the wrong one because then the bomb will blow up. I used to keep my feelings of anxiety all bottled up inside me, but I came to realize that’s not healthy, because it’s like when you put too many clothes into a suitcase, eventually it’s going to burst open, and it’s not going to be pretty. I didn’t really fully understand my anxiety until my senior year of high school, where I went through a state of depression for about a month or two that really gave me a clearer outlook on my anxiety and how to deal with it and make it manageable, which I am extremely grateful for. But, to get onto my belief statement, I believe that my anxiety doesn’t not disable me, it makes me greater, and gives me power that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have anxiety. In the words of Kanye West, “That’s my superpower, ain’t no disability”. Now while Kanye didn’t make me feel this way, I think his words encapsulate what I feel and how I feel, I feel like my anxiety is my superpower, something that makes me a greater person and human being, and it’s brought me to where I am today, being able to be the first in my immediate family to attend college, among the other successes I have faced in my life. To finish off, I’d like to say mental illness is not the same for everyone who faces it. But if you feel somewhat how I do, and aren’t fully there yet, I believe that it will make you feel a lot better to treat your anxiety, depression, or whatever ever other mental illness you are going through as a superpower, something that lifts you up and makes you greater rather then something that pushes you down and fails you.

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  30. Most people believe in materialistic things but I would say that I Believe in Hope. I feel as if hope can take you far life and make life so much simpler. Hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Amazing stories happen everyday from people that just have hope. I’ve attended church my whole life and the only thing that I was ever told was that with God Anything is Possible and when you keep hope your goals will be achieved. As a young kid growing up in foster care, hope was definitely not something I thought about much. Looking back at your life in the past and not knowing where you will end up in the future was hard. I continued to put my trust in God and hoped that something will change in the future. Everyone has a story whether it’s been told already or has yet to be heard of.
    I went online to search up stories about hope, I came across a lot of stories of peoples drug addictions, abusive relationships and traumatizing situations. I read two stories that were about hope. One of the stories was about a middle-aged man who suffered from depression in his teens, each time that he was depressed it lasted for about 6 months. While life moved on his depression continued to come around every one to three years. He tried every medication and went to clinics and also did therapy and nothing worked. He thought he would have to deal with this for the rest of his life until one day he tried something different and it worked. The Second Story I read had to deal with a storm that took a young ladies family away. She was left with nothing, no family, no home, no money. Life became harder but she had hope so things ended up being okay for her. The point is as long as you keep Hope and Faith in God anything can happen.

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  31. Sadly we live in a world where if you do not have broken bones or are staggering with a limp, people assume you must not have a care in the world. Simply because my cheeks are intentionally flushed and my eyelashes are curled, people assume i’m fine. Despite the fact that some of the worse demons, are the ones you can’t see. I remember when I was a child, never understanding why I felt so different from everyone else. Why it felt as if I was listening to a broken white noise machine playing every sound at once, and my breath felt like it was on fire. Yet, it felt as if I was drowning while I chewed the inside of my cheek, or played with the rubber band on my wrist, or cracked my fingers, all while avoiding eye contact. I never understood why having to speak in public felt like the end of the Earth, or why I could never speak with anything behind my words except insecurities and fear, while my voice always seemed to climb two octaves higher, and my heart would beat like a ticking time bomb. Though I believe that anxiety, and my internal demons have made me stronger, and shaped me into the person I am today. I bieleve that for those fighting the same battle, that there is hope, and together we are stronger than our demons, because they do not define who we are.

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  32. Some people view the start of college as a blessing or much needed restart, while others focus on the dread of their friends leaving and having to adjust to the new surrounding that is the college campus. Everyone who is entering their first year of college is feeling a combination of excitement and worry or they’re just not being honest. I believe that the beginning of college is potentially one of the hardest things a teenager has to face to this point in their lives. They will be going from a place where they have spent a very large amount of time and where they made many friends to an entirely new, foreign place where everything and everyone is new. The adjustments that have to be made vary from simple things like not seeing your friends every day to larger things like living away from your parents for the first time. This newness has the potential to add a lot of stress to a student who is already worrying about their classes, getting books and trying to figure out the layout of the campus. For me, one of the hardest things is seeing my good friends leave for school. Having to see your friends, that you have known for years travel across the country and saying I’ll see you at Thanksgiving or Christmas is a hard and potentially tear jerking experience. I believe I will try to take that energy and focus it on my own new start so that hopefully, college will be some of the best years of my life. Time to make see some new things, learn alot and share it all with my friends, old and new.

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  33. Growing up as a child I’ve always had a smile on my face, I talked with everyone, and poured my all into whoever asked, whether they deserved it or not. I was always happy even when I was bullied and abused, when I was used and casted aside, I had convinced myself that I had helped my mistreaters in some way or the other and that made me feel like I had accomplished something no matter how trivial. I was naive to think that I could continue that along this path without any repercussions, after a few years I began to break, I started having mental breakdowns constantly along with anxiety attacks and feelings of uselessness. I came to the realization that I can’t be giving my all people and things with nothing in return, if I can give my to someone or something, I should be able to receive mutual benefits. I decided that I would only partake in relationships that would help build up who I am, not tear down what I’ve worked so hard to build. It was an eye opener to see all that I could achieve without all the negativity in my life, and I admit it was a long and painful process to remove what was unnecessary in my life. These days even though I’m still willing to pour my all into something no problem, I’m more careful with my choices and I’ve began to cope much better with my anxiety and depression.

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  34. Why don’t you smile? People ask this question a lot to me and I ask myself that question everyday too. I was the kid that was made fun for how much he weighed, I was the kid that was called names, and I was the kid that got jumped because the the other kids thought it would be funny to mess around with him. And on top of all that I grew up with a father who had a drinking problem, who would come home drunk and get into a argument with my mother that wasn’t a big deal. Eventually I stop talking and just kept to myself, I would say things here and there but I was mostly mute. Wanting to disappear from the world, going through the day feeling numb, and there are days when I just sit in the corner in my room and just think why me, what did I do wrong. The day that I got jumped has never left my mind. Going home was the best part of my day and having even that peace of mind taken away from me broke me inside. The past is the past and no matter how much you want to forget those bad memories those are the ones that live with you forever. Being reminded of those times is the worst feeling in the world but at the same time it defines who you are now, it’s there to tell you that you’ve been through worse, it’s there to tell you that you will prevail no matter how hard the thing you’re going through right now may be.

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  35. Ever since I was kid, I have constantly moved to a different places. The biggest change was when I moved from Puerto Rico to the United States. Every time I moved I lost good friends. I believed it did not affect me and I could just start over and it would be like before. However that wasn’t true. Once change happened it became harder and harder to socialize and to have friends. This affected me so much to the point that seeing others happy made me angry at myself for not being able to have what they had. Every time I felt cold and empty failure. I forgot how to socialize normally. I still had friends here and there, but none felt like an actual friendship. Loneliness became my best friend. I thought that I was too different from most people around me, so I kept everything to myself. Nobody knew me and I didn’t know anybody. Deep inside, I did want to have what they had. The more I wanted, the more angrier and isolated I became. Soon I realized that it did not have to be that way. Yes I felt terrible and it affected almost everything in my life including family. I knew that it was within me to change that. I became tired of feeling miserable. I realized that instead of letting these feelings take a toll on me, I needed to embrace them. Yes, I accepted all of those bad feelings and thoughts, but they made me stronger. I became aware of what was wrong and I used the bad to push myself into being better. I started to socialize more, and got closer to the people that were already there for me. I just had to open my eyes and my doors to other people. It is still hard, but it will get better as long as I prevail.

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    • Hi Jonathan. I can kind of relate to your situation. Although I haven’t moved as much as you I still found it difficult to develop friendships. It has never been easy to socialize with new people and I think it’s because I was so used to being surrounded by family. I didn’t bother making friends because I knew I had my sisters to depend on and to be honest I thought people would think I’m weird. I was so afraid of being judged so I just hung out with the people who knew me most, my family. I soon began to realize that there were just some things I couldn’t share with my family so I had to make friends. I learned to become more open and tried to make myself seem more approachable. Some people think I’m a strange girl now that I’m more open and some seem to admire the person I am. Either way I’m a lot more open to new friendships than I was before.

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  36. Squished between four girls in the back seat of the Honda Pilot, we spent our last minutes together singing along with the old Taylor, “Asking God if He could play it again”. The fifteen minute car ride was just as sweet as the syrup soaked pancakes we had devoured a few short minutes ago. Although, three terms and a whole summer separated us from college, each of us knew we would never be as close as we were in this moment.
    The bruises were fresh on our knees from the Friday night match we had just lost. It was not the defeat we were not used to, but the new reality that we would only enter the blue and white gym as individuals from now on. As the thirteen of us filed out of two jampacked cars and took our places in our own lone driver seats, the end came to the closest team of girls to ever exist in Wamps history.
    As my twenty-seven year old coworker would say, “there are much sadder things in life than the end of volleyball”, but to me there is nothing worse than saying goodbye to the girls who made up my family. When you live in a house where there is no company besides three dogs, it is easy to find a home in a blue and white gym filled with thirteen girls who have been together for four years. For the girls on the team, there are older sisters who they steal clothes from or annoying younger brothers who take forever to get to the car when they are urgently waiting to escape the traffic that packs the school parking lot at the 2:05 bell. There are moms and dads who sit together in the stands on game days. For me, there are two separate houses in two different towns, two different days for one holiday, and two sides of the blue and white bleachers where my mom and dad sat by themselves to watch me play. In the space between the two ends of the bleachers, on the court, I had a family.
    Come June of 2018, my temporary family will only exist in stories and the history written within the four concrete walls of the blue and white gym. There still will not be an older sister’s wedding, or a younger brother to pick up from school. There will be two different towns that I will make two separate visits to each school break. What will remain is a girl who remembers how it feels to fear being alone. A best friend who will be there through every breakup and family fight, and who will assure everyone that they have someone on their side. A volunteer who comforts and acts as ears to the dementia patients who receive no family visitors. A future physician with the ability to provide a sense of companionship to the patients whose families are to busy with their own lives to pay a visit. I will soon find my home between the hospital rooms and the drawn curtains of the ER. As a care provider I will never forget how it feels to find a family in a world where only loneliness persists. I will fill the space between the bleachers for all who feel alone.

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  37. Throughout life each and every day it constantly felt like a battle just to be able to smile all the time. All the time I felt like I needed to be or act a certain way to please other people but the only person I was letting down was myself. I still have a hard time always being “happy” but I’m starting to realize who I am and who I want to be as person. I have the only few actual friends and family to thank for basically saving me and helping me too when I felt like I had no one. Two years ago I went through a very traumatic experience that I never want to happen to myself again. Someone who I thought was gonna be there for me forever turned against me and things turned out so much worse than they needed to be both physically and mentally. I also hope I never have to see someone go through that again either because I have witnessed someone else being hurt as well. It pushed me way over to point where I had no inner strength left and was just completely bent out of shape. It made school, the athletics I loved to compete in, and even talking to my friends and family very difficult. Luckily as I explained I was pulled out but unfortunately I was also diagnosed with a few health related issues such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I used to think that being diagnosed with them described the type of person I would become forever. I realize that now I was wrong. A personal statement that I feel that helps myself and hopefully would help others is “Other people can bring you down but the most powerful person that can bring you down is yourself. Do not let yourself become what other people want you to think you are because they do not actually know you. Only you know your true self and worth.” Living by that statement has helped me overcome a lot of inner fears and thoughts. I have a lot more confidence within myself now. I love everything again like school, athletics, and spending time with friends and family. I still have my episodes though where I feel down but I have learned to pick up the pieces and just keep going every day. I have also learned that there will always be someone who will try and bring down your self worth but just remember to keep your head held high, tell yourself that are you are good enough, and you will become the person you always dream of being.

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  38. Growing up I never could quite wrap me head around what depression really was. I had heard the word used in conversation and seen people jokingly use it, but never had the true understanding of what it could be until I had to experience it firsthand. I had thought I was over stressing about stuff or something else entirely. I had a very happy child hood, so I imagined that I could never be depressed because of that and that depression wasn’t even a real illness which people had. It wasn’t until I was a junior in Highschool when I had truly felt alone and afraid of myself and what I could do. I had begun to have dark thoughts of myself and wanted all the pain and sadness to go away. So, I told someone about this and they shared my own concern. I was sent to the hospital to be treated and observed for the day by a team of doctors and nurses who I owe my life too. They had told me this stuff was normal for someone my age and I shouldn’t be scared and through them I was able to finally get better. I was put on medicine to lower my blood pressure and lower my anxiety. With this I was able to finally feel like I had as a child and become a “normal person” again through this medicine. Of course, this was only the beginning, Is till struggle to this day about my own anxiety and depression throughout my life. However, it will never get a hold of me again to that dark place where I felt so powerless and alone.

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  39. Ever since I was young I was always compared to my sister. She was the captain of her sports team, popular, had good grades and what my friends called “dream child.” However that’s not what I was but what I wanted to be. I killed for the attention that she had and at this time I didn’t quite know who I was or what I stood for. I didn’t know how to be myself like my parents told me to be. By 8th grade I had a state of mind that I didn’t know what to call. I felt like no one liked me and that I was a mess up at everything and would never be like my sister the “dream child.” Starting High School, I feared public speaking and my peers opinion of me and thought that I would never be good enough like her who had everything. By junior year of High School, I was cut from the soccer team. This was what I call an all time low in my life. I had been playing soccer ever since I was 4 years old and I didn’t know who I was anymore. The fact that I wasn’t even good enough at the one thing that was mine haunted me. I would think, “if I was my sister, I would have already been the captain of the team.” I knew that I needed to find myself and stop comparing my strengths and weaknesses to someone who wasn’t me. After going to therapy sessions I slowly started to change my mindset into one that would say: we are not the same person and will never be and that is okay. By my senior year of High School I started to find who I was. I went to the gym often and was a part of the fencing club which I loved and got excited for every practice and competition. Working out had become my outlet and made my body and mind feel better. I still seem to get sad occasionally just like everyone else is entitled to those days where they feel lesser than usual and I think that is okay. I am continuing to work on myself everyday. I have a group of friends that are supportive and know my past struggles and push me to be the best version of myself. I am forever thankful for that.

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  40. I believe that our society has always made it harder for the younger generation to express their feelings and emotions, especially depression. The phrases “it’s just a phase” and “their just your hormones because you’re a teenager” undermine the possible severity of actual mental illnesses that reside inside our generation. With social media and current films romanticizing depression, many people view those who may actually have depression as part of a bandwagon or “trying to be trendy”. This only makes it harder for people to speak up about their emotions and reach out for help when it is needed. I battled depression for four years and to this day, my parent refuse to act like it existed. I had friends who belittled me for contemplating suicide and I went through the majority of my journey alone. A friend of mine who is two years younger than me just recently opened up to me about how she feels as if she is depressed but refuses to seek help because she thinks she isn’t “as bad as others”. Why does the severity of depression determine the legitimacy of it? This mindset should be changed. I told her that just because she may think she isn’t “as bad as others” does not mean that her feelings should be brushed off. She matters as much as anyone else who may feel this way more or less. Depression and other mental illnesses are not just a phase. They should be treated as equally as physical illnesses.

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    • It is pretty sad that we live in a world where actual mental illnesses are treated as such. There shouldn’t be any reason that someone feels that aren’t as bad as other, if you have a problem that makes you feel depressed you should try to work through it.

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    • I think that your opinion is is very insightful on the topic and express the true beliefs of some groups of society.

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    • This is so spot on. It’s hard to admit to others your’e feeling down because of how society portrays people with mental illness. A lot of people don’t take the time to analyze those around them and see that they’re going through things, and that they might need help or just someone to listen to them. People are so quick to tell someone with depression to get over it but would never in their right mind say that to a cancer patient. We need more advocates for mental illness so people know it’s okay to not be okay. But we need to put an end to people not recognizing mental illness as a real problem and not just a cry for attention.

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  41. Growing up I knew that something bad would soon happen if too many good days occurred one after another. My parents, for as long as I can remember, have disputed over the silliest of things. At a very young age I was forced to deal with the fear of their loud voices. Everyday they found a new topic to argue about. A lot of responsibilities fell on me. I would often feel guilty for not helping them because in my mind if I was a good daughter and did everything right, they wouldn’t be as annoyed with each other. My sisters never really helped. So my parents became very dependent on me for everything. I remember being eight years old, crying in the bathroom, praying they’d get a divorce, because I’d rather have two happy separated parents then two miserable parents being together. As time passed on, they’d argue less but that anxiety and fear still stuck with me.
    As I got older I learned to keep a brave face on for everyone, my parents, sisters, and friends. I pretend to be happy because it’s easier. If my parents believe I’m happy then it’s easier for them to sleep at night. It’s just easier for everyone. I try my best to be the one friend or daughter to not let my depression or anxiety be present. I want everyone around me to happy even if that means I’m left in the dark. I believe in the happiness of others. That maybe if everyone around me is content then I will be too.

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  42. “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.”, said by John Maxwell. Change cannot be prevented but can be avoided to some extent. As someone who strongly dislikes change I know I have to be more open to change and be willing to adapt. My life has been relatively uneventful except for two main events in my life. Many people don’t like change because it means having to adapt to the unknown. Everyone has encountered change in their life whether they expect it or not. Often times we assume change is a negative thing. I personally see change usually as a bad thing because it means going out of my comfort zone. The most pivotal change in my life was when I was adopted at four years old. I did not have the words nor the ability to communicate my feelings to my family during the move. I was a young girl with little knowledge of what was going on. Little did I know my life would change forever. I would be given a new family with a sister who looked like me. In addition, I had caring and compassionate parents that gave up their time, energy, and money to give us new opportunities and experiences. It was hard growing up in a transracial family because it meant losing apart of who I was: my native language, culture, traditions, and native food. I have always craved food from my home country. I realize that I did lose important things that were apart of my identity but I gained something more valuable which is hope. Another big change in my life was homeschooling. It was very different from what I was expecting. Adapting from a structured classroom setting with teachers and classmates to only teaching and motivating myself at home was a challenging transition. I grew from those two main events in my life; I learned what things worked for me and what did not. I am now in a new chapter of my life by going to college. Living away from home, going to a new school, and meeting new people is a lot of change at once. Like a previous person said, the only person that prevents you from doing something is truly you. Belief in oneself is an important mindset which has the power to let us try new things and go out of our comfort zone.

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  43. Self care is something that I value, though I don’t always act on it. At the age of 12, I came to terms with how cruel this world can be. It became one thing after another; my grandmother passing away, the bullying, the restless nights, the self harm, etc. Along with all of these things came the lack of self care. I chose to leave scars across my body in order to feel a sense of relief. This was my way out from the ongoing battles within myself. I didn’t see self harm as another one of these battles because it made me things easier. It was something I knew I could depend on for “happiness”. Now being 18 I realize it was only a mask to cover up my internal pain. I started to care how i was treating myself last summer. I chose to stop self harming in May. I did things that made me happy. I took care of me before caring for anyone else. I knew I couldn’t fix all my battles alone so I starting taking medication to help. Slowly but shortly I was feeling like myself again. I still have my dark days but I always make sure to pick myself up. Self care is very important to possess, so you can have a good relationship with yourself. You can’t depend on others to always be there and make you happy. You have to make yourself happy and always know you are worth it.

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    • Good to know you are out of that agonizing phase. You can’t possibly care for others before you care for yourself. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety and security come before love and friends. I’m glad to see you climbing up. I truly hope you only feel better from now on, nobody should ever have to go through times like you did.

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  44. I am no stranger to feeling my heart beating a hundred miles an hour in my chest while my brain crafts millions of “what ifs”, fears, and doubts. My leg constantly bounces and I cannot sit still. How could I be still while waves of anxiety crash over me and drown every other thought and emotion? I believe I speak for many when I say there is no long term relief from these feelings; just brief moments of silence. But even in these quiet moments I long for a change, for someone or something to flip the switch in my head that will turn off this panic and worry for just one day. Over the course of the last three years I have struggled more than ever with anxiety and an almost nonexistent level of self confidence which inevitably dragged me into a depressive state. In order to cope with my own issues I focused my attention, love and healing towards others. I thought that if I put the time in and helped someone else I would in turn reap the benefits of finally feeling happy about healing them. However, as one can imagine, I became the most depressed I had ever been. By neglecting my own mental wellbeing and taking on much more than I was ready to handle I burnt myself out. After taking time for me and finally cutting the unnecessary toxicity from my life I can proudly state that I have made great progress. I believe that caring for yourself first does not make you selfish. I believe that being open and raw and honest with yourself and others can do wonders. Take time for you and watch your world blossom.

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    • I feel the same way. I thought caring for others would make me feel less sad but in reality, you should take care of yourself first then others.

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    • I can relate to the doubts and worry that results from a lack of self esteem. I agree with how these thoughts are toxic to a normal-functioning daily life. I am glad to hear that you are making progress. It certainly is important to make sure you are stable enough before putting others before yourself. After all, you will always have you in the end!

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    • This was expressed beautifully and I could not agree with you more. Self-care and self-love is so important but in todays society you would be considered selfish if you put yourself before others, but you have to. Like they say, put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. You can’t help other unless you help yourself. I understand exactly how you feel and have been struggling myself lately. Ive been trying to help others, when I can’t help myself. Anxiety and depression are hard things to deal with, but those moments of peace are what I look forward to.

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    • This essay is literally the story of my life and it was written very detailed and accurately. I tried going through the same route in trying to heal however like alot of people say you have to listen to your an advice. but its easier to fix others problems than face yours. however through the years ive learned that my self worth is a prominent part to my healing mostly because nothing can break you down if you build up your own strength

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  45. I didn’t know what it was until high school. I always stutter when talking to people. I always tremble when requesting food. I grew up ‘caged’. Both my parents never let me out of the house because they’re afraid that I will someday vanish. The only people I interacted with, was my family. When I talked to strangers, I would forget everything I was going to say. I always imagine everyone judging me of how I look and talk. Having social anxiety is something I developed. I’m not proud of it back then but today, I learned to overcome my social anxiety. The first step of how I overcome social anxiety is to learn how to love myself, because if I love myself for who I am I should not be afraid of being judged, and be confident of who I am. The second step is to not worry. I learned to stop worrying what people might think of me, and just say what I want to say. Third step is to always stay positive. I’m not always happy, some days I’m sad, and it’s okay to be sad, I know that, this feeling will pass. It’s always good to look on the bright side of things, social anxiety is a good thing. If you see someone that show signs of social anxiety, you can go and help them. Anxiety played a main role in my life. I learned many things from my social anxiety. I learned to don’t think and worry about what others would think of me. I learned to stay positive and look on the bright side of things, and most importantly to love myself for who and am I what I have become.

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    • Having social anxiety has to be hard to deal with. I’ve always had a hard time talking to people also, the stuttering, words you want to say but get lost when you try to say them, feeling like you’re being judged by others, it’s always a challenge. This is honestly inspiring to read, overcoming these challenges isn’t easy and the fact that you are learning to overcome these problems, it’s great to hear. Hopefully other will take your example.

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    • I too have to endure the hardships anxiety bestows, although like you, I am learning how to cope with it as well. It took me quite some time to accept this portion of myself, but I’m growing more and more comfortable in my own skin!

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    • I can totally understand what you went through, I had to deal with it ever since I moved the U.S. It has been 6 years from when I moved here with no English spoken , I was always afraid people would make fun of me because of my accent or just the way I would say a word. It was very difficult and sometimes its still kinda difficult for me , I can speak fully English but if I’m nervous or its someone that I don’t know I start to forget how to say what I needed to say. I had people make fun of me in middle school which put me down and made me feel like I wasn’t going anywhere with the English I have learned. Anxiety can really mess up someone mentally but now I’m better I try not to think too much before I talk, I kinda just let it out and it feels much better when you don’t think too much about something that you need to come out. thank you for putting yourself out there and its good to know that you got through it.

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    • Hey Alisa,
      I’m really proud of you because social anxiety is honestly a terrible thing to experience and overcome. I’m glad you have learned to become more positive and tried to make things better for you! Loving yourself is also a very difficult thing to do as well, I hope things will continue to go well for you!

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    • This made my day to read. I’ve had social anxiety for years and have always struggled with trying to overcome it. I’ve always had trouble making friends because I’ve always been to scared to go up to people. Your inspiring words have taught me new things and have given me confidence to try and over come this anxiety. For this I thank you.

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    • Learning to love yourself is a big key component to your happiness. Once you have that down I feel like many things fall into place. I know once I finally sat down and realized I am who I am and I cant change I started to become happy and comfortable in my skin. I started to see the good in me and I stopped looking at my flaws as if they were something terrible.

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  46. Growing up, my constant worries and doubts became a part of my daily life. My thoughts influenced how I treated and reacted to common situations in a negative way. As my life progressed, my anxiety slowly and progressivley affected my daily actions that plagued my mental health. However, through playing the sport of golf, I began to see an improvement in myself as a whole. The mental aspect of the game of golf challenged myself to another level and pushed me out of my comfort zone. The more I perfected my skill, the more my mental health improved. I began to control the wild nature of my mental state. My worried and doubtful thoughts began to diminish, resulting from the growth of my confidence. I improved the most through high school golf. The new competitive aspect of the game challenged me even more than before. Throughout those four seasons, I experienced a mental rollercoaster, packed with highs and lows. How I got through those low parts of the mental journey was how I treated my anxiety. Once I progressed through those low parts, good fortune was destined to come. This type of hope was what enabled me to feel better with not only my golf game, but also with who I am. Through the passion for golf that I possess, I was able to cope with my anxiety that troubled a majority of my life. Without this game I truly love, I would not be the same man I am today.

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    • I can relate to your essay, People might not believe me now that I used to be shy. I was so scared to talk to people but joining a dance team helped me change. It made me more comfortable around people and more confident .

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    • I love how you used golf to escape your anxiety. Changing your thought patterns is the only way to get healthy. We all escape our negative thoughts in our own ways. May we run away from our anxiety, confront the source, or find something like golf to distract us from life’s bad side. The important thing is that we can carry on happy.

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    • This really reminds of how I cope with my anxiety. When I was younger i had an older cousin who saw that I was struggling and he introduced me to video games and how great they could be to calm oneself. I also play the piano to reduce my anxiety, I feel as though those thing are as important to me as golf is to you.

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    • It’s wild how much a hobby can have an impact on your every day life and mental state. I’m glad you found something the ease your anxiety and I hope others do the same.

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  47. I have always suffered with anxiety and depression since I was young. Recently my anxiety has been worse because of a lot of changes in my life. My best friends moving away for college and starting college myself have made the past few weeks very worrisome. Will I be ok at college? Will I pass my classes? How hard will it be to make new friends? How will my friends be at their college? Music has always been a way i can tune out my thoughts and clear my mind. I know I will be ok once I settle in to a schedule and routine. The hard part is having to get to that point. Depression and anxiety work in a sort of ying and yang in my mind. One day I am not caring about living and the next I am suddenly worrying about a minuscule part of my life trying to fix it. I do not know if these will ever go away. I will probably have to fight them for the rest of my life. All I can do is keep fighting and live to see another day. Its not always bad though. I do have good days and usually my troubles come back after the good days are over, almost immediately. I worry about things that do not even matter. I try to be a role model for my friends but it almost seems fake that I hide my true feelings but console them when they are feeling down.

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  48. I’ve been trying to write this essay for a while now, but no matter what I try to write… it just doesn’t sound like me, so instead of trying to be motivational or engaging, i’ll be honest.
    I am not an optimist, and I don’t think I ever will be. I try to think of how things might work out, or how things might go my way, but in reality I know that at any moment things can go wrong, no matter how much you prepare for something, it can all fall apart at a moments notice, so while i make sure to never expect it, I like to believe in whatever light may lie in the dark. I suppose in a way that makes me sound like an optimist… making the best of the worst and all that, but I would prefer to see it as more of a realistic view, you can’t expect the best to come out of everything, but you can always take the best out of a bad situation. So while I don’t believe in a perfect world where everything is great, I do believe that we can make the best of what we have.

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  49. There are many things in life that’ll try to hold you back, two of those very things for me are depression, and anxiety. From my personal experience I’ve let anxiety, and depression hold me back in my life a lot or at least slow me down. Since 1st grade I’ve always had a lot of anxiety, and it played a really negative role in my life because it would really discourage me from trying new things, there were many times I was so unsure of myself that I wanted to ask for help but my anxiety would stop me from doing so. There were also many times in school where I would be afraid to speak up and ask questions when I didn’t understand something and as a result I would commonly fall behind quite a bit. It’s a really hard struggle for me to face but over the years of my life I’ve been trying to work on it. My anxiety would also cause me to become depressed, the depression would come and go, occasionally it would last months at a time. This would make me feel like I no longer have any motivation to do anything at all, leading me to neglect a lot of my responsibilities and that would harm my life making me miss out on things. In the end I’m still here getting ready to start college because through all that I knew that if I wanted to be successful in my life that I’d have to keep trying and to just hold out, I’m planning to continue doing that during my stay here in Dartmouth as well as when I eventually leave the college.

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  50. Anxiety and depression in today’s society is extremely ignored and mocked. I have suffered with severe anxiety my whole life. It was to the point where I was afraid to get my hair cut because the barber was going to talk to me. I have only recently just started taking medication to help combat this anxiety. I believe that anxiety and depression needs to be more widely accepted in todays world. People who do not suffer from anxiety do not understand what it feels like to constantly be burdened with this feeling. People can easily cope with their anxiety by finding the person or group of people who make them feel comfortable, and if that does not work then they should feel more then welcomed to seek professional help. Doctors and therapists are well equipped to deal with this and can help majorly with this issue.

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  51. I, like many other people, often wander deep into my own thoughts. I have inattentive tendencies, losing focus, but not losing concentration. When I get distracted from what is in front of me, it is usually because I am thinking of what is far ahead of me. This made math class and designated class reading time more fun because I could think about having fun doing other things, not algebra or DBQ’s. Usually, I would daydream about the continuing the stories I had written for myself or kissing girls. In my argument, a more resourceful use of time. Despite eventually being behind on classwork, the salvation of my own imagination was enough to get me through the very mechanical school day. I was never unhappy, because I never set myself up to be protected by make believe. Albeit, I could get emotional in my early youth and confused in my middle school years, I was never sad for the sake of being so. Little did I know, I wrapping myself into a bit of a false reality. I was too driven towards living a fantasy that I couldn’t see my life heading any other way. I was setting my expectations for events that would never happen, and with friends that I did have in my life. I struggled, because I had no idea who I wanted to be.
    Sophomore year, I almost lost a dear friend to depression. This was a major catalyst of change in my life. I had no explanation of her well being and very little people I could talk with, since her situation was confidential. I began to lose weight and face other stress induced health complications. I had no vision of a future where everything worked out the way I wanted it to. I crumpled into myself, shuttering out friends and keeping myself in a protected state of solitude. I eventually learned more about what was really going in my life and began to accept what was happening. I had lost a full school year to sadness, and lost another when my parents split up. My own home, split in two, a surprise no one saw coming. Every child believes their family is special but I was told by many people that what I had was something more. This was another major transition of lifestyle, which involved me leaving my old home and not living with my father anymore. I found myself in another state of solitude, wondering why I stayed this long in the ride just to face more torment.
    Despite thinking that my world was ending, I found a new solace. If I was to be alone, I considered, I might as well be comfortable. I thought long and hard, and met a new side of myself that helped me through everything. I learned to let go of what was wrong with my life and reflect on what was right with me. I could walk, speak, breath, run, and had relatively good health. I had a home, and despite not living all in the same house, I had a family too. I could make music, draw comics and received countless praises for my doings. I had many people who supported me and were worth being thankful for. I decided to make a change for the better. Despite not being entirely happy, I wanted to be, and I let myself be present in life, reminding people that I was there. I became a leader in my scout troop and a leader in my extracurricular activities. I found a voice in me that could rally people, inspire people, help people, and hopefully, even pick up people who could have been in my place before. I began to love myself, and started Senior year swinging hard. I made the rank of Eagle, passed all my AP classes, crowd surfed (briefly) at prom, graduated high school and got accepted to my aunt and mother’s alma mater, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. I believe, and will always believe that struggle should be considered a challenge to be contested. Give yourself the pat on the back to finish the day. Being your biggest supporter and friend is the best lifestyle. Love yourself first, and people will learn to love you to. Your background does not limit your success, talent, nor stature. It is harder to stand upright in a coursing river, but everyone else will see you brave the current.

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  52. I grew up decently good with friends but terrible with relating or talking to them in anyway and that made keeping friends really hard. I would overthink everything I did over and over again before I would even do anything, missing so many opportunities in my life sometimes leaves me up at night thinking about what my life would have been if I had done something instead. For me I was always all over the place and could never stay with one interest for a long enough time to get really into it and have something for me to do to entertain myself alone. Eventually when I started driving it really became the first passion that I’ve had that stays with me and keeps increasing everyday and gives me something to keep my mind busy. The people who are helping me deal with my anxiety and not constant fear of people judging me are mostly car people who don’t judge me for who I am but by what I could become with effort and hardwork. Car culture is in a way the biggest thing that helps me deal with my anxiety and depression because I feel in control and safe when I can drive my car wherever I want and see whatever I want. It also is a skill that I can always improve on so I can always feel challenged in my life. I get that most people may not have problems the same way I do but with cars I truly can feel at home and in control of where my live or “my car” goes.

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  53. I was sad during freshmen year of high school because I simply didn’t know how to be happy. I remember feeling lonely that year, now I realize I was making myself lonely by thinking lonesome thoughts. I did get out of the slump by taking a lot of nature walks. Nature cured me of my lonesome thoughts. I can’t help but feel loved by nature. Surrounding me with its distinct smell and luscious beauty. Since then I found out how to take that feeling with me. Now I dictate my emotion by controlling my thoughts. I see some people struggle with happiness and even depression. I Truly believe we control our own emotion 100%. He who controls his brain controls his heart. Emotion is dictated by thoughts, by restricting thoughts one can manage emotion. We can all be happy.
    I believe emotion is just a mental game. Here is how I play, if something is upsetting me. I don’t think about it. If I need cheering up, I can go to a happy place and before I know, serotonin fills my synapses and I’m happy. If I’m ever having trouble getting good thoughts into my head put on music or move around. Ideally, I’d go outside. Nature has never failed to make me feel better. Say I can’t get out of a situation I need to deal with. To prevent anxiety heading to unhappiness I can pretend for a while. I just smile and think that I’m happy and somehow I become happy. That’s the Facial-Feedback Theory of Emotion. Using these strategies I stay happy and humble.

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  54. In our society, there are multiple factors which separate generations from one another. One of the largest differences between generations is the dramatically different perspectives when it comes to the acceptance and understanding of mental illness. Younger generations including Gen Z and Millenials have drastically different statistics when it comes to diagnosed mental disabilities with a much higher frequency of depression and anxiety in the newer generations than older generations. But it is my belief that the change in frequency was not as dramatic as it seems but rather it was the change in the generational mindset which caused this dramatic transformation. When reflecting upon the conversations I have had with older colleagues, friends, and other members of generations outdating the millennial group I have found that when dealing with mental illness the most common response was “don’t ask, don’t tell” . This response is the complete opposite to millenial and gen z responses as people are often encouraged to express and speak about issues in order to get the necessary guidance to help cope with the disability. These mindsets alone show the dramatic generational differences on the topic of mental illness alone but these differences are not respected but are rather used to degrade the younger generations. Generations that pre- date millennials will often use the GenZ/ Millennial mindset to prey upon the vulnerable youth of the Gen Z community by using demeaning words and tactics which include but are not limited to telling these kids to “man/grow up” when they seek help. These attacks often weaken the current mindset on mental illness as they are intended and are successful in undermining the values of open conversation and expression that the members of the younger communities have strived so long to uphold.. These attacks only continue feed the generational divide which could have been avoided if only the generations were to tolerate and respect each community’s values when dealing with issues as sensitive as mental illness.

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  55. All throughout high school, I always felt empty to some degree. It was difficult to find joy in life regardless of what I did. It didn’t help that my parents seemed to only care about the grades I got rather than my ability to grow as a person. While I wanted to attend social gatherings, I was forced to stay home and focus on schoolwork. To spite them for pressuring me into becoming a perfectionist, I became more outgoing by becoming heavily involved in extracurriculars and making new friends. All seemed well after finding a group of people who truly supported me and shared similar interests. However, all good things come to an end.
    Towards the end of high school, I became bored with the activities that captivated me the most. The loss of interest resulted in friends becoming acquaintances and an accumulation of social anxiety. Once high school ended I only had a few friends and became more socially awkward. As a result, I felt depressed to the point where I couldn’t feel anything. To this day I don’t understand how I can even feel hollow despite having a decent life. It’s difficult for me to discuss this since most people will tell me to get over it. Now, I begin each day hoping to find a resolution for my depression. I believe that I will find a cure for my depression through my college experience. I also believe that with enough support, anyone can defeat depression.

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