63 thoughts on “Anxiety and Depression

  1. Going through high school is tough, but what makes it even worse is the fact that you also have these thoughts about hurting yourself and being in an endless perpetual state of anxiety for no specific reason whatsoever. Growing up I’ve always kept to myself most of the time and had only 1 real close friend. I also did karate in high school, but had to get surgery on my foot because of massive foot pain. After I had to quit doing karate in order to go along with the procedure, I noticed something different about myself, Everything just seemed dull to me and I started to have a few suicidal thoughts here and there but didn’t think much of it. But after I had gotten the procedure and 2 months after that I wanted to start cutting myself, I knew I needed to go and seek professional help. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get help right away because of the diagnosis of my mom’s acute myeloid leukemia, then she got into a car accident (a head on collision) and landed her in the hospital for a week. Then it took 2 therapists to go through to find the perfect fit for me, it wasn’t perfect at the time, but it was better than the other ones and I started taking medication for my depression. Trial and error through 5 different antidepressants was a roller-coaster of emotions for me, especially in December of 2018 when I was hospitalized for suicidal tendencies, the same tendencies that I’ve been having for over a year and only brought to true light because I went to a place that specializes in eating disorders because I didn’t know what was wrong with me and thought my weight was getting out of control. Fortunately, I am now on a medication that is helping me and that through perseverance, I was able to get through the not so great therapists and the trial and error of the medications I took and I believe that through my experience with depression, I understand so much more about perseverance than I did before I was self-diagnosed with depression.

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    • Daniel, I feel your pain that you describe in your post. I am glad you are successfully recovering because in college, hopefully it will be much different than it was in college! New people to meet, a road being paved to your success later on in life, etc. But, surround yourself with the right people for love and support and college will be the best four years of your life!!

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    • I admire the courage that you have not only to seek help and help better yourself, but also to post about it so that everyone else can see the benefit that comes from being open about your feelings. I can relate to and understand a lot of the things you wrote in your post and wish you all the best in your recovery. I hope that college becomes a safe and loving place for you. A whole new world is open for you to make the best of it!

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  2. Anxiety and I

    “Don’t write this essay” “Don’t write it.” “Are you listening to me? It’s a bad idea.” I hear this daily. I’ve been putting off this essay for that very reason. The words swirl in my mind like a storm cloud and there is no eye of this hurricane where I can feel safe. Instead, hands crawl up my body and sink into my neck like the talons of a vulture and drag me away to be picked apart. I’ve been living with Anxiety since I was a little girl, 8 or 9. She moved in when my parents divorced and she told me it was my fault. I believed her.
    She continued to torture me for years. Sometimes she’d tell me everyone I knew hated me. Sometimes, she told me I was a burden. She’d make me so angry that I’d push everyone away, or she’d make me sob for hours on end. Some nights, she’d make me forget how to breathe. She abused me from elementary school, all the way up to now, weeks away from moving into college. When I was little, I thought she’d devour me, like a monster that kids believe are under their beds. She would take me by the throat, her hands hot and sharp like thorns, and she’d choke me. I couldn’t talk about her, I couldn’t tell anyone the truth. I was her stepping stool and she would climb up into my brain everyday and see if she could take the reigns. But there’s a difference between then and now, I know she isn’t real anymore.
    I talked to a doctor about Anxiety. And I got medicine to deal with her. I also have my friends, my family, and the most amazing boyfriend. I have really good days, and really bad days, but that’s okay. Because now, I’m the one in control. Someday, I’ll be able to kick Anxiety out. Someday she won’t tell me lies anymore. Someday, I’ll always be the one with the reigns. And today, is just one step towards that glorious someday.

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    • Shelby, I couldn’t agree more with how you speak about this. Like you, anxiety has followed me ever since I was a child but I never thought to personify my anxiety before. But you’re right. It’s like having a stalker that follows your everywhere every single day. Except that you can’t see them in front of you- only in you. But I’m with you. Each day presents its own challenges and battles. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But we learn a great deal from those losses. And just as you said, someday we’ll kick her out for good. Just like some very annoying neighbor that keeps you up at night by blasting loud music at 4 a.m. haha. ^~^

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    • Shelby, thank you for sharing your story with us. I am glad that you are feeling better. I just wanted to say that I love how you wrote this. Your diction and the flow of the work makes it so interesting. The fact that you portrayed Anxiety as another person is really creative. As your classmates, we are always here for you.

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    • Shelby, thank you for this post. It brought me to tears. I have a similar story and relationship with anxiety. Developing it at such a young age is so very difficult as you spend much of your life not knowing why you feel the way you do. You really put some unexplainable emotions into words. I wish you many more good days!

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    • Shelby, I love how you wrote this it was very creative. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that pain from anxiety. I’m glad to here you are doing better, you are so strong!

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    • Shelby, my parents divorced when I was 9 and I have anxiety too. I think you’re a very brave person and I can relate to your story. I’m glad you ended up writing this essay because I could relate to it. I also liked how you worded the paper and gave the “anxiety” a personality and you called it her. It’s a really good paper

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    • Shelby, your story really hit home with me. I have been dealing with really bad anxiety since middle school and I can also relate to the fact that it has made me push people away. Anxiety’s the reason I waited so long to post my essay as well! One day I hope to kick all those bad thoughts out of my head too. Thank you for posting this essay it was very well written and it makes me feel like I’m not the only one that has a constant voice tearing me down.

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    • Shelby, Thank you for sharing this about yourself. I know that when Anxiety starts to kick in there is not much that I could do to stop it but with your words, there is hope for all of us to get better. One day at a time, if that is hard one hour at a time. Small things add up in the end.

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  3. It’s okay to want help but not know how to get it. That’s what therapy is for. However, I find that the general public gets the wrong idea about going. My past self included. A year ago now, when I was struggling with anxiety and depression in the toughest year of my life and going through crying spells and self doubt every night, I believed the same stereotypes that most others do. I was originally under the impression that therapy was laying down on a cold leather couch while someone in a stiff suit sits down across from you with a pad and pen in their lap, peering sternly over their glasses and asking you vague but somehow still invasive questions about the problems in your life as a result of your childhood. It’s not. It’s not that at all. It’s a conversation, not an interrogation. Being on both sides- the one sitting on the couch and hopefully one day, the one sitting in the chair across from it- I understand. All people want, especially those who are apprehensive about therapy to begin with, is a platform. We don’t want advice. Or tips. Or a to-do list that promises to make it all better. And we especially don’t want homework to add to the list of things already giving us the same anxiety they came in to talk about. All we want, is someone who will take the time to just listen and be silent. I believe that the purpose of therapy isn’t to “fix” anyone. But rather, to give them the strength, courage, and support to fix themselves.

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    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts in regards to therapy. I believe this was an important topic to address. Hopefully with time, people will become more open to receiving the help they need with a reduced amount of self judgement.

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    • Cassie, your story reminds me so much of how I rejected therapy and help at first. My anxiety did not want to make me speak about emotions, especially to someone who I just met. Giving us facts about anxiety and depression and making us do a mental checklist isn’t going to help us. However, its better to talk to someone than bottling it up inside. Help truly does exist. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  4. When I tell others that I’m bipolar, I always worry that they will classify me with that Jekyll and Hyde mentality; all my good traits are mashed into what is considered my better temperament, and my bad traits are all shoved hastily into a half-hearted excuse of “oh, is the bipolar acting up?” It is beyond exhausting to see others try and puzzle piece my personality into their own ideas of what is, and is not, my illness.
    The periods of mania are ridiculous. I don’t know that person who spends five hundred dollars on a whim, who goes out all night with half-baked ideas for the future, who is the life of the party and needs everyone’s validation to live. But, on the other side of that coin, I don’t know who I am when I’m depressed either. I don’t know the person who balls themselves up on the bed, who gets so paranoid that they just start to sob, who doesn’t shower because they can’t take care of themselves without help. I don’t know either of these people and yet I live with them both each day. How can another person see me for a month and tell me what is and isn’t me?
    I believe that I will get better, but that is a given. More importantly, I believe that no one will speak for me. I will define my condition by my own terms, and I will grow by my own hands.

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    • Genevieve, this was very brave of you to post. I agree entirely, although I am not bipolar myself, people grossly exaggerate it. You are you, not what anyone else says, and you are brave and you are strong. Mental illness is no joke, it’s scary and difficult to deal with. I’m proud of you, and I believe in you. If you ever need a friend to talk to, you can count on me!

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    • Thank you for making this post for everyone to see. People have all sorts of preconceived ideas about not only bipolar but also all different manifestations of mental illness. It’s important for people to feel comfortable enough to speak out and break the stigma behind it all so that it becomes more normalized to seek help. You’re very brave and your outlook is inspiring.

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  5. My coming out, for lack of a better word, was bad. Sure I could get into detail about my coming out but it would just be redundant on my end, at least. Even years after everything that happened, I still struggle with the after effects.
    At the point I am at in my life right now, I should be healed. Things should all be forgiven. They’re not. In reality, its left up to me wither I want to forgive them to heal or just be stuck. I suppose my thought process is that the quicker I forgive them, the quicker I can get on with my life. This is far from the truth. I have underlying issues that became my new identity. How could I forgive someone who caused me so much pain nor have put in the effort to earn my forgiveness?
    They love me, though in their own way. I know they love me, too. They would do anything for me and I, them. Things have been better. I’m just so stuck inside my head. I want to forgive them. It’s been years since my coming out but I’m just stuck, stuck in my old defensive habits that doesn’t allow anyone close. I mean, even right now whilst writing this blog, I made everything that happened to me sound so nonchalant to try and hide how truly hurt I am.
    That being said, I am very aware of the situation that I am in. I’m not as angry anymore. I understand why my family reacted the way they did. I also understand why I am still hurt. It’s now just a matter of how I can forgive them.

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  6. I’m not exactly sure how specific and personal I am supposed to get in this essay so I’m just going to go at it, not going to stress it or try to make it poetic or fantasy like. I know I am not going to win any essay contest with this thing as I’ve been convincing myself to shoot for, so here we go.
    I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for basically my whole life. I remember my first anxiety attack vividly, my best friend Kal invited me to sleep over her house and we went to lazergate. As we were playing the games it was fun but I got really nervous and I felt sick. I felt so bad that it got to the point where I asked Kal’s mom to bring me home in the middle of the night, she was not happy. When I arrived home I cried and was sick to my stomach as my mom and step father tried to calm me down. I did not realize at the time that I had just had my first anxiety attack; hooray! Depression did not come the same way, it just has kind of been there the whole time. The feeling of intense sadness was something that I thought was normal until my dad and sister started telling me that I was boring and lazy and needed to get over myself and ‘have some fun for once.’ Along with these two mental issues came something that I didn’t realize would be so hard to stop: non suicidal self injury. Although I’d love to pour out my guts for a bunch of teenagers I’ve never met, I don’t want to make this thing too long. I’ll just end this nonsensical essay by saying that I have been getting help and am medicated for my anxiety and am doing alright. I am okay. If someone sends me the link to the UMass D therapy center I am going to cry. Thanks 🙂

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  7. The first two months into 2015 in the new year was filled with nothing but hardship. My great grandmother had passed away, my mom and dad were in court fighting one another, and I was dealing with my own inner demons. All of this happening while facing one of the hardest challenges I had faced – entering high school. From the very beginning of freshman year, I felt like everyone was throwing things at me about always being at my “A game”, and reminding me that there was no time for mistakes. “Whatever you do, colleges will be looking at you”. I felt like everyone was so concerned with grades but not about actual people. I was in what now I recognize as a deep depression.
    Thankfully, when I was at my lowest point, I had people in my life who supported me. My mother was my biggest supporter. She helped me find a therapist who I could talk to about what I was feeling, and she provided me with support in every way she could. She helped me believe it myself again and helped me work through the challenges I was facing. Her support, along with my friends and my therapist, helped me get past the hardest period of my life.
    At every point of our lives, we deal with hardships and feel like the world is going to crumble away, but during those times we must take initiative to change and to seek help to support us to move on and keep pushing forward in our lives.

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  8. I believe that mental illness does not make one weak. For many years I have not outwardly shown many signs of depression or anxiety. Anxiety seemed more normal, I could pass it off as worries of a good student, caring friend, and loving daughter. Depression was much harder to hide. I would laugh off suspicions, find normal excuses to spend time alone, and cry silently and when everyone thought I was asleep. Four years ago, when my depression was at its absolute worst point and I had suicidal thoughts, thoughts of hurting my closest friends stopped me from acting on them. I could not hurt my friends, and once I began to open up to them both my depression and anxiety got a better.
    It was only better until this past year. My mom is an ovarian cancer survivor; and she was ten years in remission. Until November, when one night in a silent house I heard the doctor call and say that was no longer true. I comforted my mom as she cried on my shoulder that night, and now felt I had to be strong for her. The first time through cancer, my teacher made me feel supported in school, which was instrumental for the chaos of my household in 2006 and 2007. This time I had a group of friends that I thought would support me as I dealt with the uncertainties the news brought, stayed strong for my mom, and still worked through the same senior year things. I was incredibly incorrect. Instead of supporting me, my two closest friends went from listening to me to avoiding me. I felt unwelcome in the group I had. I felt lost and alone. For the first time in years, I could not keep my appearance of being a normally functioning human up, and my mom took notice. She urged me to tell my doctor, so now I know if things get unmanageable, I can truly get help.
    I believe that mental strength is not only for those who do not have mental illnesses. I believe I am mentally strong and emotionally perseverant, because I live my life despite having anxiety and depression. I am so happy to have made some friends during orientation that even though I’m anxious that I might lose them too, they are wonderful and give me hope that college will be a great experience. I am also so grateful for the few friends from the group I had that stuck with me because without them this past few months would have been so much worse. In a twisted way, I thank the ones who left when everything was at its worst, because without that I would have never realized support was so instrumental. So, I have finally come to believe that seeking help and support does not make anyone weak. With support I find a way to smile even when either my depression or anxiety is acting up, and once I can smile, I can get through it and keep living.

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  9. I live in constant movement. Earth orbits the sun, and the moon orbits the earth. I sit at home and I hear the refrigerator open, a chair move back, my dog barking and running around in circles. It’s never calm around here, it’s never quiet, it’s never peaceful. I’m never still.

    When you go to a restaurant and they give you a buzzer, there’s a possibility you set it down on a hard surface and when your table is ready it buzzes, and vibrates. You could stand there and look at it, it moves all on it’s own, across the table if you let it. Those are my hands in constant motion. Why? You ask.

    Because my head is never still…

    My brain is in a constant state of paranoia, what happens if I take a nap? Will I ever wake up? Unknown places I tend to stay away from because what are the people like? Risky texts are not my thing because what u it messes everything up. Doing things on my own without reassurance is hard, I feel like I need someone’s approval. Speaking in front of audiences is a no I can not have all those eyes on me.

    Why can’t I just stay still!

    This constant beating in my head has cost me better grades, friends, and outings. I just want to be still, I want my hands to float along with my brain and try to not have a worry in the world, still.

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    • Valeria, I identify very strongly with your post, especially with the metaphor about the restaurant buzzer. I love the way you began by globalizing movement, then localizing it. The feeling that you’re unable to stay still is extremely disruptive and you put it into words very well. Just know that you’re never alone!

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  10. High School isn’t easy for anyone, the last four years of being a kid, getting ready for college, sports and a social life, and the rigorous academics. Adding depression and anxiety into the mix with little support from friends doesn’t make it any easier. I was suffering all my life but hadn’t been diagnosed until 8th grade. School was hard, but having friends who didn’t understand was harder. For most of high school I relied on my mom and the guidance department for support, but it was difficult knowing I didn’t have friends I could talk to. Come junior year I had reached the worst I had ever been. I stopped going to class and was battling suicidal thoughts nearly everyday. I was calling out of work and staying in my room, failing tests and not doing homework. I remember crying to my guidance counselors that I wasn’t going to make it to college because I was too depressed and anxious about everything to get my school work together. With support from my family and my school we decided that therapy and medication just wasn’t enough for me to cope. I needed to get out of the traditional high school setting for senior year and try something else. I went to Bridgewater State for senior year and cut my course load in half. I was able to learn coping mechanisms and have more time to figure myself out. Two years later and I’ve found some of the best friends, a way for me to cope, and I’m on my journey to becoming a nurse. I wished for so long that my “friends” in high school had been there for me, but it made me realize that these illnesses don’t define me and that I can cope with them so I am able to live my life fully and do what I love to do.

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  11. “It’s just a phase.”, “It’s all in your head.”, and “Stop seeking attention.” are the phrases I was met with the day I finally found the strength in me to reach out for help. I was 13 years old at the time but I remember it like yesterday. Since, I have yet to reach out for help again, even as an adult because I’m terrified of being interrogated or having my mental health invalidated again. I had already been struggling with self-harm prior to this and at one point I had gotten caught. I was threatened with hospitalization if I didn’t stop, so of course I just got better at hiding it. My mom asked me if I was going to kill myself and I said no (for fear of being hospitalized), and then she told me “well I guess you’re fine then”. So unless I was actively suicidal in that moment I was undeserving of help? What about all the pain that had built up to get anywhere near that point? All I was asking for was to see a therapist or counselor of some sort, not a diagnosis, not some medication, just someone to listen to me and acknowledge the pain that I was going through. Now that I’m 18 and have the freedom to do so, I can’t bring myself to go see someone or get help. Up until now I always told myself I can’t get help because my mom won’t let me, and without her as an obstacle I’ve become my own obstacle. I’m terrified of what a shrink might say, I don’t even want to know exactly what’s wrong with me anymore I’d rather live in ignorance. However, another small part of me is scared of being told that I’m completely fine, that everything is all in my head and that she was right. I think that when you live like this for so long, your identity, or at least parts of it, becomes tied to your sadness, and healing is so scary because all you’ve known so far is darkness, how do you completely reinvent yourself without your sadness, without your trauma, without the unhealthy coping mechanisms you lightly refer to as “just bad habits”. I’m just as scared of getting better as I’m scared of getting worse and I know that that isn’t okay. This stigma our society, and parents especially, place around mental health is toxic, dangerous, and prevents individuals from healing.

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    • I totally agree Maddison. My freshman year of high school was the worst year of my life. I have PTSD from it. And I was always told “you’re fine,” “you’ll get over it,” and my favorite “how can not be fine, you can’t even remember most of it.” Those quotes from my parents and “friends.” I had gone to the school counselor to seek help. My mom told them that “I no longer wanted help.” (That was a total lie.) But, I now have a wonderful therapist who really listens and helps. I recommend trying again. Therapy has helped me tremendously and I hope it will for you too. Just remember, you are not alone.

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  12. It clinged its claws to me since birth. He always stood on my back but like me, no one really saw him. Every insecurity, as little as it was, helped him grow. My pessimistic thoughts strengthened his grip to control me easier. Feeding off my loneliness for years, his claws had reached so deep under my skin that I had become numb. I was so used to it that I never told anyone about the suicidal thoughts that crossed my mind — plus I was never the type to complain or talk about what’s bothering me. I had no purpose in life and no hope. I’d start cleaning as a form of distraction or would sleep just to avoid dealing with my problems. However, I thought everyone lost the desire to live, or didn’t see a purpose in living sometimes. These things were just normal to me and I didn’t see anything wrong so I’d just brush it off as being very sad. When it was unbearable, I’d say something like “I’m sad”, however this started happening so often that I had to find someone to talk to. My psychologist, didn’t take long to identify my “friend”— Depression. On the second appointment, in which I remember being very quiet, she contacted other professionals to evaluate my situation. Once I told them what I had previously told my psychologist, I was told I was a danger to myself, thus I had to be hospitalized immediately. I was discharged after 10 days and was given some antidepressants which I still take. I feel better and everything seems good but to be honest even now, it’s hard for me to tell whether I am just sad or if depression is popping his head out to ruin my day.

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    • Thank you for sharing your story on here Visara. I think it’s really strong of you to recognize that your feelings of sadness were something more than just that and that you decided to get help because most people ignore it or are afraid to seek it. I think it is amazing that you did that and you’re getting better. It may be hard some days but just know there are so many people here to support and help you so that even on those days you can go to someone and know that you’re not alone in this.

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  13. I am a strong believer in individuality. Anxiety and depression makes you become someone who you can’t even seem to recognize. It’s scary how one thing can have so much control over your life and how you live. I had never experienced anxiety before until my Junior year of highschool. At the time I was being torn between friends and before long I was talking to a therapist. It’s true that no one really understands anxiety unless you have it yourself. My feelings overwhelmed me and I soon became diagnosed with not only anxiety but also depression. I began thinking I wasn’t good enough to achieve the goals I had set for myself, wanting me to end my life. One day I found myself being rushed to the emergency room when I took actions that would result in ending my life. I lost friends, significant others and even family saw me differently. All because I had allowed anxiety and depression to take over who I was. This was when I knew I had to step up and take control. I had let this dominant who I was becoming and before I knew it, I was someone I had never wanted to be. I developed self esteem issues where I began to starve myself in hoping to lose weight, feel better about myself and match up to societies expectations. This was one of the most difficult times for me, I completely lost myself and how I was dealing to cope with it was downright unhealthy. I had begun to realize that for me to gain control over my emotions I had to face the pain and anxiousness that had built up inside me. I slowly began to sit and deal with my anxiety rather than run from it and let it consume me. I understood anxiety would not just go away, it was now something I would have to cope with. Ever since I began to face my emotions, I have figured out how to manage my anxiety and come to realization with myself. Anxiety was going to be apart of me and I am learning to live with it but I will not let it control how Iive.

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  14. I believe that I am more than my anxiety. Anxiety and I go back. I’ve always been a shy kid; always too afraid to talk to new people or speak up in class because I was worried people would judge me. And nothings really changed now. Except now I have these things called panic attacks. They are so scary, let me tell you, but now I take medication and am planning on going to therapy. And I honestly have never been so happy. But, still to this day when I tell people that I am medicated for my anxiety I get the same responses. The “well everyone has anxiety; you don’t have to be medicated”. The “wait you take meds?….. Like in order to feel okay you have to take pills?” Or “I’m proud of you for opening up to me.” I like the last one the most obviously. This is because it’s still kinda hard to openly talk about mental health even in this very progressive decade. But, I openly talk about it because it’s just something I live with and deal with– it’s not a part of my identity. But, some people tell me I shouldn’t talk about how I take medication so openly with people— like it’s some kinda burden I carry.That it’s something so bad it shall not be spoken about. But, I will talk about it anyways because not only does it make me feel empowered; like I’m stronger than my anxiety, but I hope that it gives someone who I’m talking to who’s struggling with a similar problem, who might be too afraid to talk about it openly some hope or inspiration. I think that’s why I’m majoring in Psychology because the human mind and the way it works interest me. I also just want to help those who are struggling with mental health and just need a little push to get back on their feet; I just want everyone to find happiness. So if I learned anything on this journey with healing my mind it is that everyone just needs to know that the disorder that someone could have is not who people should see them as. These strong and beautiful people will not let their disorder define them. And I am one of them. I am Olivia and I am more than my anxiety.

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  15. I was in 7th grade when everything went down hill. I guess you could say it was the increasing hormones through adolescence or that I had just experienced my first loss in my family. Whatever it was it struck a cord and things changed. I don’t exactly remember the first symptoms of knowing I was depressed but I just knew I wasn’t happy and that crying all the time wasn’t good, with that it got worse. At this age self harm became cool, it is not, but as 13/14 year old girls somehow, someone made it the thing to do and so I decided to join in. Sooner rather than later it stopped being cool and became an addiction, an outlet for all the pent up anger and sadness and confusion I am constantly feeling. I struggled so hard and after a year someone saw the cuts and told the school. I went to a therapist but things got worse, and I mean rock bottom. It never seemed to end until it did. A therapist wasn’t the solution for me even though I had found a good one the second time, I just didn’t think it was enough. I stopped seeing him and decided to try my own ways on helping myself. I dove into music. Let me just say it saved me. It helped me express my feelings when I didn’t know how to myself and when my anxiety came along it was the only thing that I could engulf myself in to calm myself down. Through that I was able to realize that depression isn’t who I am and I shouldn’t let it control me. I’m no longer self harming or anything like that and I’m in the healthiest mindset I’ve been in since I wasn’t probably a child. It may be something I live with constantly that I know won’t go away but I believe it made me so much stronger and to be able to be there and help those with anxiety and depression in a way I never could if not for having it myself. I think of it as more of a slight inconvenience than anything else because I know how to control it when it gets bad so it won’t consume me but that’s not to say it doesn’t still get bad. It’s allowed me to also recognize that you really can’t judge a book by its cover because the happiest person can be the saddest and loneliest. They also need someone by their side to help them out. That everyone has their own issues and no matter the size none are less significant then the other. That the scars that I and others hold tell a story of pain that we got through whether with some form of therapy or their own ways of coping, we got through it. That everyone has their own demons so we should approach kindly. Even though not everyday is a good day I always try to have this positive mindset so that I can try to be there for those that are going through worse.

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    • Samantha, I think it’s so amazing that you were able to cope with your mental illness. I have gone through a similar situation myself and I know how you must have felt. I find your story to be very inspiring, and the fact that you have a positive outlook and are willing to help others in your shoes is very moving. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  16. I am a strong believer in the ability to persevere. When I was a junior in high school, my mental health was at an all time low. It was the absolute worst I’ve ever felt mentally, emotionally, and physically. It started to show through my grades which started to suffer, my weight which was on a constant decline, and my social life which was basically nonexistent. I started to mistreat my body in a variety of ways which, now I regret, but some of the damages I’ve inflicted on myself are permanent. I remember not being able to sleep nights on end because of all the terrible thoughts and ideas that would run through my head. I was aware of the fact that I needed to get professional help, but was a bit embarrassed about the idea of going to therapy. I remember feeling so alone and feeling as if there was no one in my life who I could truly confide in and talk to. One day, a friend of mine, who I hadn’t spoken to in months, contacted my mother, and claimed that she was worried about me, and that she thinks I may benefit from seeing a therapist. Soon after, my mother sat me down and I told her everything. For the first time in my life I opened up and shared some of my deepest emotions and thoughts. Although it wasn’t easy, my mom convinced me to go to a therapist, which was one of the best decisions we had ever made. Going to therapy ended up changing my life for the better and it was nice to have someone who could give me great advice on healthy ways to cope with my feelings. Healing is not a linear process and I still have bad days on occasion, but the good days definitely outweigh the bad ones, and I can finally say that I feel content with the person I am today.

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  17. All my life I would worry about everything like something bad would happen or if I ask a friend to hangout with me I would be scared to get regretted. I am an only child so I push others away so I don’t get hurt or get scared of something that could happen. But as I got older my anxiety and worries increased to which I would either have panic attacks or faint then I eventually saw the doctor and they said that you will be on medicine to help you with your fainting and your anxiety. It works but I still get worried from time to time and my anxiety is taken care of so no need to worry about that. Like this year it was bad for my family. First, my dog Buddy the sweetest black lab ever was so sick that on the 27th of January in the morning I thought it was my Uncle that had passed away first but he wasn’t. It was my dog, he had a tumor in his stomach so Buddy was suffering. That morning when my mom told me that it was Buddy I knew it from the night before because I got this gut feeling that something was wrong. So, we put him down so he would not suffer anymore. Then, in April of this year as well my Uncle passed away and I had the same gut feeling like I did with my dog I knew something happened. So, I ran to my mother hugged her and just cried. The next day I went to see my grandmother since it was first her first born so I ran inside her house and hugged her and cried. Then we both stopped. Ever since those deaths have happened I still push people away and I just hide inside my house like no one else exists so no else who I love can die. To be honest I wish dying never existed. But it does and it stinks!.

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    • Hi Lauren, Thank you for sharing. I’ve learned, too, that death is disruptive. I’ve come to believe that it’s also a reminder for us to pause and reflect on the value of our lives. I hope you can do that as well.

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  18. As I grew up alongside four supposedly perfect older brothers, I’ve always had to fight for a spot in the light. I was definitely the problem child. My family didn’t like that, and to be completely honest neither did I. I struggled to achieve the same grades and have the same effect on others that my brothers somehow managed so easily to just acquire.
    I was the first in the family to have to go to summer school, not to mention the first one to get involved with the police and DCF. Things didn’t look good for 14 year old me. Even though it’s been years and the sources of my problems have since passed, I still have a clear image of everything I’d gone through and what made me into the polished woman I am today.
    I have had to personally fight since my childhood, not just for my own confessions to be heard, but to be believed, and to finally make things stop. Sometimes it feels as though I am in a constant battle with myself and the world. No matter how hard I try, even my greatest victories have their downfalls too, however I won’t let that be what stops me from trying.
    I believe in standing up for yourself even if no one listens to you at first. If you want to be heard in this world you have to make a voice for yourself; no matter how stressful, or terrifying it may be.
    I have been exhausted from trying to keep up with what life throws at me before, but that’s not to say I haven’t survived it, attempting to better myself along the way.
    Growth takes time and energy; even if things seem impossible right now there is always something. You will inevitably find outlets, people that will help along the way, not everything has to be done on your own. Especially as someone who is just entering college, it’s okay to not be ready for full independence. We aren’t expected to be, even if it feels that way as the start of the year gets closer. I truly believe that I am not my past and that I am capable of achieving my goals, and that my college education should be just as attainable as the next person’s.

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  19. Having struggled with anxiety and depression myself, I can certainly say it’s a lot more than just feeling sad and nervous. You’re not always sad, sometimes you’re just numb and you feel nothing. For example, you just want to stay in your bed, and on the rare occasion that you do make a plan, you don’t go because you feel like you’re not wanted there and feel like everyone is going to judge you. It really isn’t easy to do and you constantly avoid normal everyday things like; asking for a dressing room, meeting new people, asking for help with something, or calling a store and/or restaurant on the phone. You don’t care enough about yourself to even shower, so you won’t until someone forces you too. Always shutting up during a conversation because you somehow convinced yourself they don’t care what you’re saying and you’re being annoying. When people ask what’s wrong, you just say you’re tired, but that’s on the rare occasion you even look upset because usually you just put on a happy face and pretend that everything is fine. Constantly being torn between do i ask for help or no one even cares what happens to me.
    One day I decided to ask for help and thank god I did because I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t. There have been some ups and downs on my journey for getting better and I still have some struggles, but I now know how to handle things better and ask for help when I need it. I also find it very beneficial to reach out to my therapist Jessica who has helped my mom and I manage some struggles. Having anxiety and depression doesn’t just affect you, it affects everyone around you. However, people do care about you and want to help you get better and support you, because you matter!

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  20. Its 4 am, you got cuts down your arm, crying. You want to scream, but instead you punch a wall until your hand swells because you can’t scream, because, that would wake everyone else up. They would ask if your okay, and of course you are okay, right? That was me my freshman year of highschool. Why was I like this? For 2 reasons, Because at the time I hated myself because I had been bullied in middle school. I was convinced I was gross, ugly, a loser, no one cared about me and no one cared about what I had to say. I felt like I was an inconvenience to everyone. The second reason, ironically enough my girlfriend. This girl was my first love and I would do anything for her. However, she was also battling mental illness. She threatened to hurt herself or to go as far as kill herself daily. It got to the point where I went somewhat insane and would do anything to make her happy even if that meant I would suffer. I just wanted to help. But at the time we both refused to believe we needed help.We both eventually spiraled out of control me first and a few months later she followed. I got help and she was hospitalized. Looking back I realize how emotionally unstable both of us were. I ask myself, Why didn’t we get help sooner? I can’t answer for her but for me I know I was embarrassed.. I didn’t want to be called “emo” or make people think I was this freak or monster that I already believed I was. Also being a male in some way I felt even more alone. None of my male friends ever got depressed but I had known some of my female friends had some sort of depression or anxiety going on and I felt as if I was the odd one out. It wasn’t until I got help did I meet other guys who had been through similar situations or feeling as I did.That whole freshman year I was anxious and depressed. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had to get help, or that this happened to me. This is a story I share often because to me I believe that it can help start a conversation. The reality is that even with the amount of people that admit to feeling depressed, it is still not everyone. I believe that if people feel this way they should seek help and to not be ashamed. We need to stop the stigma. Help others, accept. Because I know when I went through my hardship I felt alone and I believe no one should be alone.

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  21. We all go through depressive phases in our lives, especially today where people suffering from depression is far too common. Nobody should feel like an outcast just for being depressed because it is a completely normal thing. People, including me when depressed will isolate themselves because it seems that nothing in the outside world excites them anymore, but isolation is the worst way to deal with depression. It is hard to push yourself to get help. It may seem that your friends and family would get fed up with you, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your friends and family are the ones who will sympathize with you the most and if they don’t, well you can’t get a new family, but you can find better friends or even get help from a therapist.

    In the beginning of 2016 is when I got really depressed. My grandma fell down the stairs and got brain damage. I had to watch as her mental state slowly deteriorate to the point where she had forgotten my name. It was truly heartbreaking to see the grandma I used to know throughout my childhood was completely gone. Not only that, one of my family members starting to forge my grandma’s signature to get my father evicted from my grandma’s old house and to sell it. Then my father struggled with near homelessness. He had to go to the food pantry and worked odd jobs just to get by. At that point my family was extremely divided and I had to realize that things won’t ever be the same again. Over time things have gotten better and after everything was said and done I realized there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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  22. I believe in breaking cycles. Toward the end of my junior year of high school I began feeling an overwhelming anxiety and sadness, mostly due to stress from a loaded schedule of school work, two jobs, extracurriculars, social life and my life at home. I had a tumultuous relationship with my parents, particularly my dad, and the pressure that added was directly affecting my mental health. All of the things I once cared about started to become too much.
    To unplug from the emotions I was feeling, I plugged into social media. This ultimately made me feel even worse. I was comparing my reality to the perfect lives people were portraying and eventually I began distancing myself from people I once held close. Essentially, I found myself stuck in a cycle of inaction: I was very unhappy, but I wasn’t doing anything to change it.
    The first step I took in breaking that cycle and healing myself was moving out of my parent’s house. I knew that I could not make any positive and lasting change if I was constantly subjected to that negative energy. I began embracing gratitude for all of the wonderful things in my life, as opposed to dwelling on the picture perfect life I did not possess.
    Although my senior year was everything but easy, making such a huge change to my life allowed me the opportunity to set out on the right path again and get my priorities in place; something that is next to impossible to do while trying to manage heavy emotional baggage. If you’re feeling stuck, there’s always a way out. Just know that no one but you can break the cycle.

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  23. I lived in South Florida all my life so, you can imagine the agony I felt when my family decided to pack up our stuff to move to Massachusetts in the middle of my freshman year of high school. I knew nothing about the state! I’ve never seen snow and, I did not know how to survive in a state that has all four seasons. I was crushed to leave all my friends and family but I had no other alternative. When I subsequently started school, I realized everything was different, the people, the slang, the accents, everything ! It was things I thought I would never adjust too. My first few months were extremely difficult, I cried everyday I came home from school because I felt like a complete misfit. Going into high school in the middle of the year was extremely difficult for me. My parents would work everyday, with crazy hours and, I stayed home alone. I was in a complete depressed state. I stopped talking to my friends in Florida because I felt like there was no use in keeping a long distance friendship. I felt alone. I had nobody to talk to too, nobody to express myself too, nobody to vent too, I was alone. At school the girls hated me, they thought I thought I was too good for them, How do I know this you may ask? They would always talk about me while I was in the room, they didn’t care to keep it a secret. What they didn’t know is that I didn’t talk, because of my anxiety. What was I going to say? How do I say it? What will they think of me? How do I walk in? Do I smile? All these thoughts would always rush through my mind, as I would walk through the school and into my classes. I hated that I felt this way, I hated that I was the way I am. As I sat in my new empty home alone, I would constantly think and overthink, I thought about everything, I thought about my past, I thought about things no freshman should be thinking about. I was a prisoner of my thoughts. These thoughts and, this way of living was so abnormal to me. I hated the new person I was becoming. I felt like nobody cared, I didn’t have anyone calling me to make sure I was okay or just to check on me, but then I realized I was the one pushing everyone away. My anxiety and depression kept me away from my friends in Florida. With time I got better. I am very happy with the person I’ve become. Sometimes my anxiety tries to pay me a visit but, I always let it know it’s not welcomed. Always be sure to check on your friends to make sure their okay because you never know what anyone is going through.

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  24. Do things really happen for a reason? I ask myself this everyday. When I wake up and get ready for work I think, did I start working here for a reason? When I’m ready to go to bed and I take my nightly medication I think, do I keep taking these pills everyday for a reason? I do believe everything in my life has happened for a reason. I wouldn’t be Haley without my story. I know people say “don’t dwell on the past” or “focus on the future” but having control of your past can help you better understand your future. I am where I am for a reason. You are where you are for a reason. So, when you think your life is going down the drain because of a breakup, or you’ve gone broke paying for college, having the positive mindset that “everything happens for a reason” can save you from a boatload of stress and negative thinking.

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  25. Living with anxiety is the equivalent to a monster living in your closet. When you ask for help and the door opens, it disappears; you’re told to stop worrying and go to sleep. I’ve been told I’m faking it, that I’m childish, overly sensitive, and a crybaby. This never stops the dull headaches, dizziness, and shaking.

    My anxiety first manifested itself during my sophomore year in high school. I would skip lunch in fear that my peers would judge my food, the way I eat, or talk about my weight behind my back. Skipped lunches turned into skipped breakfasts and dinners.

    During junior year, I got my first job at a grocery store. I became paranoid toward my coworkers, insisting that they hated me and saw me as a burden. Every shift I was scheduled launched me into a full-blown panic attack, leaving me unable to move or speak for hours on end.

    As a senior in high school, I finally got my license, yet I was still terrified of driving on the highway. I avoided this in any situation, bailing on any and all plans that required it, no matter who they were with or what they entailed. Cancelling plans became more difficult than the thought of going.

    The monster in my closet has in no way been evicted. It still lurks and pushes its way into my life every single day, but I am a firm believer in growth and perseverance. To my anxiety:

    The calories don’t matter that much.
    I am not a burden.
    I have plans tonight, and I plan on keeping them.

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  26. I walk into my kitchen and sit at the table across from my mom. Trying to find the words becomes almost impossible. Talking about my anxiety gives me anxiety.
    “I’ve been feeling anxious lately, so I’m going to go the walk-in at the doctor’s office.”
    There’s a long pause and I become afraid that she’s not going to respond at all.
    “Really? I’m not sure what they can do for you there.” She replies. “What have you been anxious about? You can always talk to me.”
    I try and think of a response. How can I explain that my anxiety shows up no matter what I am thinking or doing. No matter how hard I try to stop it. No matter how many nights I’ve lost to begging for the cycle of thoughts to end.
    “I know, but I still want to go to the doctors. The walk-in closes at ten.” My mom looks confused, but also, to my disappointment, scared.
    “Do you want me to go with you. You can talk to me, is that not enough?” The words punch me in the stomach.
    Is. That. Not. Enough.
    I feel horrible. I look at my mom and try to say something, but am lost. The last thing I wanted to do was to cause her pain. I knew telling her about my anxiety was going to be tough. Emotions and mental health are never spoken about in my family.
    “I want to go alone. I think I’m going to go now.” I say as I stand up from the table and get my keys and wallet. The last thing I wanted while waiting to see a doctor was the judgment from my mom. I could barely live with my thoughts I didn’t need to know that my mom was now afraid of mine as well.
    “Okay,” she says in a tone that usually means she’s disapproving of what you’re doing, but knows there’s no way to stop you.
    As I get in my car, I begin to think if I had handled that in the best way. The more I repeat the conversation in my head I begin to think that I hadn’t. The fault must be put onto me because I had made my mom feel like she has a messed up daughter, that she has failed at raising me somehow because I have mental health issues.

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    • Dear Erin ,

      You are not alone. Many of us have had a similiar experience. In fact , all of us have anxiety. Regardless of what it’s about or how it is. Find your peace… at your own pace.

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  27. I have the darkest skin tone in my household and I was the darkest in my grade. Growing up I’ve always had the mindset that I wasn’t pretty because everyone around me would have a lighter complexion than me. I would be questioned by my classmates about my skin color. Although I’m sure they did not mean to intentionally offend me by asking those questions, I still always felt a little bothered by it .
    When I was in second grade, a girl asked me if I was black when I was born. I remember feeling angry at her absurd question because I could not believe someone had the audacity to ask me something like that. At that time not knowing my own worth I said no, and I hated myself for responding in such a way. I guess during that time, I wanted her to know that at some point in my life I was just like her.
    Many years had passed, and I still didn’t know my self worth until I met someone who told me I was beautiful everyday. Hearing someone else call me beautiful part from my mother really made me feel it. I will always be thankful to that person for helping me see and feel the true beauty within myself. One question from a second grader, took many compliments to build me up.
    Due to my experience and all that I had to overcome, I now speak to young ladies, like myself, at a community center. Through my story I educate and try to build their self esteem. If I am able to reach one girl and change her vision of herself by making her feel beautiful, then all that I went through was worth it.

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  28. I Am Not My Diagnosis
    I believe my mental illness is a part of me and that it doesn’t define me. I won’t ever let it define me. One of the worst moments of my life occurred in January 2017. That moment will probably never leave me. I can still feel how raw my throat was raw from sobbing and how my eyes stung from both the cold and my seemingly endless tears. The ambulance ride is what I remember the most. The straps were constricting preventing almost all movement I was trying to make. My body swayed back and forth like I was on a boat, but instead of fluid and smooth rocking, it was more jagged and swift. Normally this would have sent my motion sickness over the edge, but the adrenaline filling my body had suppressed the bile in my throat. Tears that were once rushing down my face as I choked out sobs started to slip down my face gently as I distanced myself and became numb. There was no siren. I didn’t deserve it, I wasn’t dying, I wasn’t bleeding out, though at the time I wish I was. The cars in the background became white noise, the EMTs voices drifted away. After what felt like an eternity, but was probably 10 minutes I arrived for the third time at the ER. I was at that moment completely unstable and deffessles. My emotions had consumed me and I couldn’t claw my way out then.
    What came after this was honestly just as bad. To add some context I had already been diagnosed with depression anxiety and a mood disorder so my diagnosis wasn’t new. But for others, it became new when they heard about what had happened. When you have mental illness everyone puts a label on your emotions. You become one dimensional, you’re no longer a person you’re now your diagnosis. You cant even have regular emotions When you’re happy you’re manic when you’re sad your depressed and so on for every emotion. It’s lonely and painful when that happens.
    To correct myself from earlier I believe mental illness doesn’t define anyone and that we can change the thought that it does. I believe that we decide what defines us. And we create our own definitions of who we are. I define myself as a caring bold helpful blue-haired girl who has mental illnesses. I don’t let others define me. I’ve lost friends because I was defined by a diagnosis. Others have lost more. It’s unfair and unjust that anyone is treated this way. We are not worth less than a “normal” person. Treat us how we were treated before. With kindness and some support. Overall we are people, not a diagnosis.

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  29. The Good in Anxiety
    After dealing with anxiety for many years I can finally see the positive of having it.
    Although anxiety has held me back and continues to do so, it has also been a necessity. Anyone who has dealt with anxiety wouldn’t be the same without it. This is not just a mental disorder. This a piece that was essential to create you. I do not think I would have as much perseverance or be as understanding and caring without it.

    I went a couple years not knowing what was happening to me. I would be nauseous before presenting or during a test. When my emotions were too much I would end up crying. This made everyone think I was a crybaby or overemotional but it was just my anxiety.

    As I came into high school it got worse. New people, teachers and expectations. Everything was so overwhelming I would start having panic attacks. I worried so much about what people thought of me or having the perfect grades that I missed out on some of my teenage years.

    If I didn’t have anxiety I don’t know the person I would be. Would I have terrible grades? Would I have more friends? How different will I be? The questions are endless but I wouldn’t change a thing. Each crying fit or panic attack has made me into a stronger person.

    Without my anxiety I do not think I would have been able to obtain a 4.0 GPA or become my schools salutatorian. With moments like these I am thankful for the anxiety I have and what it has helped give me.

    I encourage you to try to take the positives out of your darkest moments. Whether It’s caused by a medical condition or insecurity. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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    • Thank you Adrianna. As someone who deals with—No rather has Anxiety I relate to your story. I agree that Anxiety has shaped who I am and as you stated it has shaped who you are as well. Without anxiety I always told myself that life would be better but after reading your piece I’m thankful for my anxiety, even if it has it’s downfalls. Anxiety has helped me become who I am as a person and for that I’m glad. So thank you for this piece!

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  30. Thinking about the future can be stressful, especially for someone like me who has been diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety along with both of these things being amplified due to me having Asperger’s syndrome. Choosing a college to go to was fun and exciting because back then, I didn’t need to worry about things like what classes I’m taking, friends, being away from home, away from my family. And then the big one, I didn’t have any thoughts about how I was going to pay for college. Now that I have less than three weeks until move in all of this stuff has me stressed. Now I’m anxious that I won’t be able to pay for everything or that something even one thing will go wrong. “What if I forget? What if it doesn’t work out?” What if this and what if that all these thoughts in my head ramp up my anxiety so much that I had trouble trying to call the loan officer. I’m genuinely scared that I won’t be able to do this. But the other part of me knows that, everything will work out and I will be ok. It can be hard dealing with everything all at once and that’s why it’s ok to take a break. If I ever feel myself getting overwhelmed and on the verge of a panic or anxiety attack I step away from whatever is causing this and take a break. I try and not think about the things that worry and calm myself down and then I get back to it, refreshed and ready to tackle my worries and stresses one at a time. I know I can get all of this done, all I need to do is take my time. Everyone should take their time with whatever they are dealing with. My mom recommended that I make a list, organize. I know organizing your thoughts may be difficult but everything in this world is a process and we all need to work towards our goals and ambitions carefully and slowly reminding ourselves and those around that we can all do it, it just takes time.

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  31. Throughout my whole life I have and still do struggle with anxiety. I was diagnosed with Separation Anxiety and General Anxiety Disorder at 11 years old after visiting “The Anxiety Clinic” at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. After going through therapy and trying different medications I struggled to find coping skills that would help me dismiss my worries from day to day. I had never really found a hobby that could take my mind off of my anxiety and that I absolutely loved and that made me feel entirely happy, that is until I tried horseback riding. After one lesson at my local stable I was completely hooked. I began taking lessons multiple times a week along with volunteering to help take care of the horses. About 6 months into it I began leasing a horse named Mojo who would become my very own horse about 1 year later. My relationship with Mojo is and always will be very important to me. I found my own form of therapy while riding and was able to rid myself of all my fears and anxieties and finally be at peace. To this day, a trip to the barn to visit and ride Mojo clears my mind and makes me feel grounded again. I can often become so consumed in my worries and feel like I am not in control of my life which is why horseback riding has become so important to me.

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  32. Whether it be with a pen flowing against the paper or my fingers flying across the keyboard, I’ve always adored writing. I find it extremely therapeutic to place my thoughts and opinions, and my worst fears and greatest dreams into words, and it’s something that has consistently come naturally to me. As someone who struggles with speaking about how I feel, writing has been a constant companion for me because it enables me to explain things I never would be able to out loud. So, for me, I don’t struggle with the writing process. Instead, I’m absolutely terrified to share my work with an audience. I’m a rather dramatic person, but I promise that I’m not overexaggerating when I say that I’d much prefer walking barefoot across hot coals for a mile than allow anyone else to read something I put my soul into. For most of my life, I have been fairly reserved and shy away from revealing private details about myself to other people, due to a deep fear of judgment, which is extremely evident in my distaste for letting my essays and stories be viewed.
    When I attended public school, I absolutely dreaded starting an essay assignment, and typically put off finishing it until the day before it was due. “Well if I don’t finish the essay, I can’t hand it in, so no one will ever be able to read it,” I thought to myself. Well, yes, my thought process was technically true, but if I didn’t hand the essay in, I would get a zero, and I have never been one to appreciate zeros. Junior year, I transferred from public school to homeschooling, and because I was basically the only student in my “school,” I forgot about how much anxiety it caused me. Whenever I wrote something, I never really had to worry about sharing it with anyone other than my computer teachers, who I never had to speak with face to face. But, boy, did I get a rude awakening when I had to write my college essay.
    I guess this was a long-winded way of saying that the prompt for this blog post terrified me because it asked me to be vulnerable in front of my peers and share something personal about myself through writing. But, I guess I managed to get through it.

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  33. I wish I could take the easy route and just say I don’t believe in anything. More than that, I wish I could say I believe in something concrete and truly mean it. I have enough trouble getting out of bed in the morning and just living my life, how can I be expected to put my morals and beliefs into a blog post for everyone to see? Especially when those beliefs are constantly changing as I grow and develop as a person. But while I can’t always pin down what I believe about myself, I can say that I’ll always believe in others and their ability to do good. I believe that there will always be people dedicated to making the world a better place, and rather than dwelling on the negatives in life, we should try to focus on the positives whenever possible. There will always be someone there to help you through tough times, even when you feel like you can’t help yourself.

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  34. Anxiety and Depression are both highly stigmatized in our society. Though times are changing and we as a community are much more accepting and aware of mental health, many still find it taboo, and don’t want to talk about it. However, being aware of both of these things and talking about it can make a huge difference for those who may struggle with anxiety and/or depression, as well as other mental illnesses.
    I grew up with both, the environment I grew up in wasn’t the safest, and mental illness in my household was often grouped with being “crazy” or “weak”, despite family member also suffering from mental ailments. On top of that, no one at school ever talked about it. The lack of knowledge prevented me from receiving the help I needed, and kept me in a bad situation for much longer than I should have been. If mentally illness was not taboo, and was talked about in places like health class, then people like me would be able to recieve better support, as well as avoid longer lasting problems.
    I believe that we should recieve education on anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses, because the effects are damaging. There are 450 million+ people in the world who have or still are struggling with mental illness. It should be talked about and treated like our physical health, because our mentality and perceptions of the world make up our entire life. By educating more people, we are creating more opportunities for people to get the help that they need, improving the lives of millions.

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  35. I wrote, revised, and rewrote this essay multiple times. I just didn’t have any idea about how I was supposed to start. I didn’t think it was right of me to write about anxiety or depression because I have not been diagnosed with either. Then I realized it was the perfect subject for me to write about because it is something I believed is looked over time and time again until it is too late. I believe young adults suffer anxiety and depression far more than others realize. Depression and anxiety is not something that just hits you and goes away overnight. It is not something where someone tells you to “chill” and it is over all of a sudden. Anxiety and depression should be something that people are educated on.
    Growing up I have seen anxiety and depression as something that was despicable. It is not something that people should speak upon because “it’s not cute” or “it’s not cool”.
    I believe Anxiety and depression is something that should be taught amongst children. In early stages people do not think it is anything to worry about. However when it starts impacting people to a certain point they don’t know how to help themselves. Both anxiety and depression are seen numerous times in TV shows but they are more generalized without showing others how to receive help.
    I want to be someone who is educated on the topics so I can determine for myself when someone is in need of help, or needs someone to talk to. There is also hotline people can call if they are in need of reassurance. https://www.pleaselive.org/hotlines/ is a website where you can find numerous numbers to receive help which are open and free to call 24 hours.

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  36. Anxiety and Depression are a hard topic to talk about but there is a sense of familiarity. It’s like when old friends meet and seem to pick up right where they left off two years ago. When I was growing up I was told that there should be no reason for me to be Anxious or sad. I should be happy all the time because I got Adopted by a family that cared and loved me. I know that I should be grateful. I am totally grateful for the parents that went all the way around the world for me and my siblings. I am grateful that I could have opportunities to go to college to get a good education because sometimes people are not as lucky as me. But sometimes it is hard to smile, it’s hard to remember that you have a good life. when all you can think about is what if I was better, what if I was a little prettier, what if they don’t want me anymore because I was mean to them. I was told by my sister that when she would start going downhill she would do art as a way of helping herself build a latter. I would try this latter in life when she wasn’t home and it would work some times. This is how I started to build a latter to get better. it started with art then I learned that I really liked dancing. I would put on a choreography that someone posted on youtube and start dancing along to it until I felt better. This is my story of how Anxiety and Depression does not define me and how I am constantly overcoming it.

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  37. My UMass Dartmouth “We Believe” statement is this: mental illness is never an excuse for being hurtful towards others. It may be a reason, but not validation for poor behavior. Not only does it give the potential for the hurt person to feel guilty for being upset, it can also make it harder for other mentally ill people who don’t act out then blame it on their illness. I’ve experienced this scenario first hand, and I see it all the time. For example, I’ll use my cousin. She wrote a bomb threat on the walls at our high school. She also tried to out me to my very conservative, somewhat homophobic family on my birthday. Other situations come to mind, but these stand out the most to me. I’ve seen so many family members excuse her behavior because of mental illness, and say brush her behavior under the rug. This personally makes me very frustrated since I had to try for years to get the help I needed for my own mental illness, but since I didn’t lash out to others, it felt like I wasn’t believed, or that it just wasn’t as bad. Now, I am in no way saying that you have to be perfect when you have a mental illness and have one hundred percent good days. I just think that instead of just using mental illness as an excuse, take the criticism given to you and make yourself a better person! Don’t just brush it off, get help! Even though I still can’t really trust her, I do wish the best with her life and that everything works out, especially since now she has a baby on the way.

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  38. I was young and my mom was everything. It was just me and her, it was perfect. Then a guy came along and stole her from me. He didn’t physically take her but he did in every other sense. It all happened so quick. He came along and my mother cared about him more than anything, even me. They got into drugs and went down a rabbit hole of hell. I was put in a lot of scary situations. A lot of questionable people with dangerous backgrounds surrounded my life. Everything was my fault, I was bad, and I made them unhappy. Neglect, mental abuse, threats, and manipulation were never something I thought would be apart of my life. He told me because of who my parents were I was meant to be a shit person and I would always be a shit person no matter what I did. He had wonderful manipulation game he was playing with everyone whether they wanted to or not. As my teens years came I was riddled with anxiety and depression. I self harmed daily and had suicidal thoughts. I didn’t think I could make it any longer. I thought about how I should just do them a favor and end it. When I was 16 I did the unthinkable. I didn’t back down, I stood my ground and revealed that I was not apart of his game. I have to admit it was scary, he lost his mind, he through a fit. I was physically and mentally free. It was still rough for a while, I had a lot of things to come to terms with. I had to accept myself and what I stand for. I had to painfully accept that my mother was guilty in it all because she stood by and watched. She chose him over me either by pure choice or manipulation but I had to accept that and move on with life. I had to make sacrifices but I finally had a chance at life. I’m no longer scared, my mental state has improved significantly, and I’m a lot stronger. Through all the bullshit I finally had something to believe in. I believed in myself, and that was enough.

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  39. Getting through school is difficult. You have the stress of homework, tests, sports, and many more. For me this was all true. But going through school with one parent just adds another layer of things to worry about. For me my first couple years of school were me spending school time with my mother and the summer time with my father. I was happy. But things changed. My mom stopped wanting to take me up for school, I started my third grade in Massachusetts and have been living here ever since. I didn’t know how to deal with not having a mother around. So I just went around for a couple years not being myself, not eating, socializing, I was doing worse in my classes. My dad and step-mother put me through counselling which i didn’t mind but there was still that dark memory in the back of my head that I didn’t know what or how to deal with. But the worst part of this is when u have that dark memory and then she shows up, out of nowhere. I was back to being in the happy state that I don’t know how to control my actions hypothetically. I get into my last year of middle school and she vanishes again. No explanation, no reasoning, just disappears. So I was just letting myself go I didn’t know what to do. But my parents gave me the idea of sports to let out all of my emotions, I tried field hockey but realized I really only felt a weight lifted off my shoulder when I was running, not the hitting or the physical contact but just running. So I joined track and I felt so relieved and when I was running i would just forget all the pain and hurt I was feeling. But most importantly, use that hurt to an advantage because when anything that reminds me of her came up I would run faster, and better. So from then till now I use that memory as my motivation and what’s makes me the runner I am today. So I believe that some of the things that people go through can help them with things in their lives.

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  40. What is Depression?

    Depression is a mental health disorder that should be taken more seriously by our society. There are a lot of people who suffer from depression due to many different causes. One of the biggest causes of depression is society. I took an English course on the topic of gender where we discussed what gender means and how it can lead to depression. Society sets these norms when it comes to gender which forces people to be someone they aren’t. I read a powerful and heart-warming book, Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt, that I will never forget it it allows people to know they are not alone in society while also motivating people to live the life they want to live and not live the life society sets for them. The book discusses the hardships and sacrifices Nicole had to make during her transition from a male to a female. There are many people in society who are born a certain gender which they do not feel comfortable in but force themselves to stay that gender due to society which leads to an enormous amount of depression. When you live your life based on other peoples opinion you will not be happy in life thus increasing your likelihood of being depressed. This is idea is the same when we talk about masculinity and femininity. When you ask random members of society what it means to be masculine or feminine they will all pretty much have the same answers. A lot of people would say that in order to be masculine you cannot cry, you have to be tough which is why there is a lot of violence in the world that are typically caused by men. When it comes to femininity people would say that females more emotional, females are supposed to be the ones to stay home, clean, take care of the kids, and cook food, these are just a few examples. But society does not realize that these norms are causing people to become depressed and want to self-harm or take their lives away because they are not happy. This needs to be the topic of conversation. Depression is no joke and we as a society need to find away to help decrease the amount of depression in the world by showing more love and acceptance.

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  41. So I’m not sure whether this belongs in this category or under “Self-Confidence” but I feel it is more this than that. So around 2nd grade it became very apparent that i was struggling with basically any work they game me in class. Whatever subject it was I was always behind the other students academically. I was put into special classes and given extra work to do at home. Eventually I caught up and was maintaining pace with the other kids in my grade. And as much as I would like to say I kept up with other students, it really didn’t end up like that. I just felt stupid. Dumber than all the other kids. And it’s not like I am trying to blame anyone in particular for this mentality but it definitely didn’t help that things were taken from me or thrown away if I wasn’t doing my best in school or even during sports. And I get that this probably happens to every kid and this isn’t even that bad, but I wasn’t rewarded for doing good, just punished for doing bad. And when I did try, it hardly showed. I just felt like an idiot, and all it just got into my head. When I got into sophomore year in high school though I turned things around. I did what I wanted to do, I quit playing sports, I focused more on art, and I felt as if I was actually accomplishing something. And because of this change I kind of branched out and made friends and memories. I started an art club, painted for the school talent show for two years and made so many good memories. Everything I did finally meant something, maybe not always for me, but for other people too. Now, people care about what I do, I’ve got a brother who admires my art, and another who praises it, a mother who loves it, and so many friends who encourage me to do my best, and I believe there is no better motivation than that.

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