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I always told myself that it was a phase. I always told myself that it would pass if I just ignored it. I always told myself that staying up all night with fears of hurting myself was something that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life because I was alone. When I finally came forward to my parents about my struggles, I realized I wasn’t alone. I finally began to start my journey in realizing and coping with the fact that I was one of the 18% of the population who struggles with some form of anxiety and/or depressive disorders.

I knew that I was struggling with some mental health issues when I was in middle school, but I was never able to put a name to what I was feeling. At the time, I was attending therapy once a week until I thought I was “cured.” This cycle of getting “sick” and becoming “cured” continued until I finally realized that I was never going to be completely “fixed.” When I was a junior in college I went to the emergency room because of a panic attack that made me feel a loss of control. Since then, I’ve been on medication and working with a therapist 1-2 times a week.

I definitely feel better, but I have a hard time shaking the anxiety and depressive spells altogether. This is normal. I realize now that my mental health issues are something that I should embrace, rather than hide, which is why I wrote this post. I’ve always talked about ending the stigma surrounding mental health disorders and suicidal thoughts, but until now, I’ve always kept my hardships a secret.

My name is Amanda and I struggle with anxiety and depression, which, at times, have made me fear for my own life.

I am a 22-year-old college graduate with an amazing family, a fantastic group of friends, and a comfortable life. I always feel guilty for admitting that I have my own mental health issues because I don’t have a“hard” life. I want to tell everyone that your feelings are valid, just be sure you get help. Don’t hold your troubles in for so long that you end up going to a psychiatric emergency room like I did. People want to help, and I am one of those people. Tell your story and accept the help that you need and deserve. Eliminate the stereotypes of mental illness by sharing your hardships if you feel comfortable enough doing so. You are loved and people want to help. Learn from my experiences.


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