55 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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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