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I’ve been struggling with depression for as long as I can remember. I think the hardest part about all of this is realizing how much time I’ve wasted battling this disease without getting the proper help, and how much of my potential is going to waste because of my depression. I feel like for my entire life, I’ve just been going through the motions. I’ve become a pro at distracting myself and convincing myself and my family that I’m okay when I’m not. “I’m fine,” I would tell them. “Really. Once I get back to school and get back on a schedule, I’ll feel better.” Now that I’ve graduated college, I can no longer use this excuse.

I’ve always felt guilty for being depressed because there’s really no logical reason I should feel this way. You start to question yourself and make yourself believe it’s all in your head. You start to believe those bad thoughts, like maybe you’re not depressed, you’re just lazy, unmotivated, and incompetent. Maybe you just need to try a little harder.  
"You start to believe those bad thoughts, like maybe you’re not depressed, you’re just lazy, unmotivated, and incompetent."
On days when I have very low energy and can barely get myself out of bed, these thoughts tend to overwhelm me and make me feel even worse about myself. I’m sure for people who know me or know of me, it would be shocking to realize that I’ve been struggling with depression all this time. I’ve always been a people-pleaser, and I think that stems from my anxiety of always caring about what other people think of me. Throughout all my years of schooling, I’ve always put 110% into my schoolwork. Being a good student gave me purpose and was a guaranteed way for me to make my parents, teachers, and authority figures proud. I realize now that I put all this extra effort into pleasing everyone else while I suffered in silence and neglected my own mental well-being.

Now that I’m older, I’m starting to realize that I’ve felt like an imposter my entire life. I’m constantly invalidating myself, and my anxiety and depression have prevented me from living my life to the fullest. If I could go back in time and make different choices about my life instead of letting the fear of what others thought of me control my decisions, I would do it in a heartbeat.