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The most embarrassing thing happened to me today. I was in my room just crying my eyeballs out and my neighbor walked in on me. I didn’t know at the time what she came in for so I just covered my eyes with the sleeves of my hoodie and told her to wait outside and I’ll come to her. I quickly wiped my face and dried my eyes and went to her. Thats when she handed me a piece of fried chicken wrapped in tissue paper which her mom wanted me to have. But, I don’t think I was able to fool her because my nose was still all red from the sobbing. Its just the mental toll, acne can take on you. It is too much for me. Just when I thought my acne was clearing up, I got a swarm of pimples on the right side of my face. Times like this makes me wish I was in quarantine so I don’t have to face anybody or anything. I can just be by myself. I am at a point in my life where I can’t even tell my parents about how upset I feel about my face and what it has become now. Because all I hear from them are how I should change my diet (btw i am super skinny) and lack of exercise. And they tell me not to feel bad and to get over it. Its all easier said than done. Nobody has the rights to tell another person how to feel about a situation they are in. Nobody knows the feeling better than the one suffering. And they ask me why I suffer in silence. Because what else can I do for myself. What else can they do for me. I could tell them right now that I cried because I hate the way my acne looked, and they'd laugh about it saying its a funny thing to cry for. They don’t know how it feels to not be able to face anyone at your workplace or being to talk to other people with the feeling that they are secretly judging you or not actually looking at you but your acne while speaking to you or not being able to take a picture of yourself without any filter. You don’t know how it feels to wake up everyday and look at yourself in the mirror and be disappointment. They won’t know unless they've been where I am. And they haven’t. So don’t tell me, its okay. Because its not. So I can cry about it if I want to. And don’t even attempt to comfort me. Read more
Tyler Michael
Hi. I'm not really sure where to begin.. Most of my life I've felt lost. I felt I needed to be heard because of the things I've been through and the experiences that brought me. I've struggled with depression and anxiety since around the age of 13. Felt detachment from both parents who are not around to this day for their own individual reasons. About a year and a half ago one quarantined afternoon I decided to start a podcast, having never listened to more than two episodes of one in my life. I named it The Real Talk Podcast. In my podcast I treat is as sort of a time capsule.. I talk about real past and current situations and feelings in a broad enough manner to allow my listeners to make their own connections. I feel most people who struggle with Mental Health feel they are one in a million.. when in reality most of us are fighting the same fights only with different details as to why. My goal has always been to help people, as well as teaching myself a healthy way to express myself having been so emotionally unavailable most of my life. I've since taught myself healthy expression and have made huge strides as a person.. have my struggles disappeared? No. However this journey has taken me miles closer to the destination I one day hope to reach compared to where I once was. If you happen to find this post and make it this far.. I'm sorry for the difficulties you've faced that you didn't deserve. Life is very complex and often doesn't make sense until later down the road. The timing of most things don't make sense until our eyes are opened much later in life as to why that happened the way it did. I'm still figuring out myself and my path in this world as you probably are too. I want to help people, but I understand I need to give an equal amount of effort in helping myself to do so. I'm here to let you know that the things you feel and experience.. you aren't alone. There are people who feel just as misunderstood, not as if it's a competition.. but to assure you there are people able and willing to help you move forward. I've spent multiple years stuck because I didn't know how to find my way back from things that left me so hurt and confused. Why me.. Why now. This is only the beginning, and I wish you nothing but the best. Thank you for reading. Read more
A couple of years ago I shared anonymously my story here and said that I’m now working as a youth professional to help kids who face mental problems. I would like to add a few advices that I tell these kids: First of, there is no such thing as a perfect life. Just because you see on social media happy moments, does not mean that no person faces difficulty. Everyone will feel down, lonely and happy sometimes. No one can feel happy all the time. It’s important to normalize mental health and that feeling sad, anxious, angry, happiness and a lot of other emotions, is just a part of living. Secondly, mental health problems is something everyone has or will experience sooner or later. In one way or another. Not only once. It’s just as common as stomach pain. You are not crazy nor weird, you are just human. And being a human and having a brain is our gift and sometimes also a curse. It makes us dream, imagine and create. It makes us grow, love and learn. But it can make us scared, upset, angry and overthink too. Love and go easy on yourself. Be proud of yourself. Because loving and forgiving yourself and others, is the most important lesson of all. We all have a path we walk on during our time on this earth. No need to compare it with others. Appreciate the people who walk the path with you, whether it is for a long or short time. Everything happens for a reason. Whenever there is a low, an up will always follow. There is no such thing as perfection. It is all an illusion. Sadly, our society loves the perfect life stories. My tip is not to strive for that. Imagine that we all would be perfect. That everyone looks perfect. That no one would ever make mistakes. How boring would that be? We learn from our mistakes. Without the mistakes and difficulties, no one would be where they are now. Trauma can make or break you. Choose to let it make you. Read more
Don't know if I have to tell an inspiring story or I can be frank. Cause I'm really uncertain about how my life is gonna be. In brief, I've experienced 2 severe depressive episodes. The first one occured when I was 15. Back then I was closer to suicide than ever after in my life. I was already holding a razor on my vein with the intention to cut it and kill myself. That was happening over and over again for 4-5 months several times per week. I realised after that my survival instinct is stronger, and that was the only reason I haven't killed myself - I was too afraid. Now I'm treating my second depressive episode, which is also severe and this time I experienced suicidal activity again. The problem is that I've been treating this depressive episode over a year now,and I'm really afraid that this will never end. What if I won't be able to overcome it... It interferes strongly with my career and personal life. Sometimes I just feel like I'm stuck in this forever. On another day, I start doubting my psychiatrist's competition or think I'll never find a qualified psychiatrist in Russia. Or there are days when I blame myself for being lazy, coz I think that my depression has already gone away, and now i can't work properly or live a fascinating social life because i'm lazy or loser or a failure, not because of my mental disease. Sometimes I think that it's only the habit that has remained after 8 years of depression. Sometimes it seems that I need to work on my depression a little more, though i don't know how much longer i have to wait. It seems sometimes that what i'm experiencing is absolutely normal for my age and there are many people in their early 20s, who are frustrated and not motivated enough to do something in life. But then i start thinking that i've already missed all my opportunities because of the disease. Anyway, i'm frustrated on a daily basis. I'm trying to pursue my career as a journalist, but it seems to me that i'm not trying my best. And i'm not sure if it's my disease that might prevent me from achieving anything in this life, or it's all about my bad personality. I'm kinda stuck. Read more
I've been struggling with bipolar disorder for years and I haven't found much that relieves the sadness or the extreme mania. It's really hard to deal with most days. Some days I feel like no one gets what it's like to be chronically sick in a way no one can see. I've spent weeks in psych rehabilitation and other care centers, but they didn't do much. The lows are so low I feel like I cant breathe and everything just isn't worth this constant pain. The highs everyone assumes are pleasant, but not for everyone. I have about two weeks of little to no sleep, paranoia, and the feeling of being electrocuted by the amount of energy in myself. I'm not sure how everyone else feels, but on the daily I struggle really hard to connect with other because horrible thoughts pop in my head and make it impossible to concentrate. I've been trying all sorts of treatments from medicine, ketamine, TMS, and all the typical "Well have you tried..?" Being scared of myself is something I hope will fade with time and hard work, but I'm not me when I'm depressed or manic. I don't know those people. My last attempt was over Christmas and I just couldn't take it anymore. My mom would be so so sad and that's my entire reason I can't go. She's gone through hell and back trying to help me and does it with a smile. I don't deserve her but I'm so grateful for her. I'm growing and learning so much to better myself but nothing takes the sadness away. Do to the severity of my symptoms my ability to work isn't great which causes a lot of financial and family struggles. I want to be better and be able to wake up and work a normal full time job and go to school and all of the things I wanted to do, but it doesn't come so easy and the work I'm doing takes more than one meeting to fix. Good luck out there my dudes. Thanks for coming to my ted talk. Read more
You often wish fear were this big mass you could manipulate, shape, smash, incorporate with other things until it would be a weaker version of what is today. You wish fear could transform into something childish, and familiar, and naive like plasticine. But now, instead, you feel it like a rock, settling in your stomach. You probably feel like this because you have no idea what the future will be, and it terrifies you not to know. So, you are scared because the cat is under the sofa and you are not sure if she can get out. You are scared of that mosquito bite that it looks different somehow, of the table of the library that is not completely clean. It was long before you felt like this. But there is no point in talking about it. that you already learned. After all, is just a feeling and no one knows how to express them efficiently. Anyway, you are sure that even if you talk about it, you could not shake it. You cannot stop being afraid of others, they seem so unreliable. You cannot stop being afraid of opportunities, who knows what dark prisons they may bring. And most of all you cannot stop being afraid of moving, because maybe if you don’t move if you don’t do anything at all if you stay so, so still, time may stop too. Maybe you can trick the clock. Maybe you can stop and think, but only, if everyone else is freezing too. Because if time goes on, the phone may ring, and the future may start without asking for your permission. And you know that your guts always reject change, adventures, challenges. And so, you lie. No one would possibly understand that although you keep changing you are terrified by it. You are like a small terrorist. But only for yourself. In the end, you know that you do it because the one thing that terrifies you most is not to change at all. Because this same you are getting old, and the house is getting smaller, and you need to keep going in front. No time to stop. But if you move right now from this position under the protection of your sheets be sure that time will immediately start ticking again. After all, there is no escape. No monster stays under the bed forever. And maybe is time to move. Read more
Nur Aisyah
I have been struggling with my mental health ever since I was 13. I am still fighting through them even today. I used to went through the hardest drought when I was 13-14. I have went through thoughts of wanting to not exist and feeling like the world would be better off without me from what was happening at the time. I did not understood what I was going through before but I know I was still really little. I was bullied emotionally a lot, but things actually got better along the way. I actually found real friends. My family and I got better. So was my outlook in life. I’m still here at 22. The transition from 18-22 was the most painful as I entered the real world. It was confusing and conflicting at the same time. Today, I am not in a good mental health state but I am just very grateful I am not alone. I now understand a little better what I was going through than I ever did before but I also know that I have more to learn. I started to do journaling and taking time to be much much kinder to myself at home, work and school. Finding a peaceful space even at work and have tea breaks. I am slowly being alright with the things that used to leave me so sad and questions like why? like my height as I am really tiny in height, 141cm. I think that is a start. I get to come home and laugh with my entire family even when at work it feels hard. I am not at all in good mental state now but at least, there is still a lighthouse. I still have my god, Allah, who has never taken leave off me. All I want to say is that things can actually get better and feel better. I know that it will take really slow but I know that I am so loved. Taking a break off my phone really helps. Your real life needs you. Your mind, body and soul needs you. Be with them, with gentleness. Read more
My name is Wendy Castro Jimenez and this is my story.. As female athletes we are what most consider type A personality, which means that we tend to be over achievers and have perfectionistic tendencies. When I verbally committed to playing D1 softball in high school I was told since the school is paying for me to attend the university the least I could do was take care of my body, and from there on out I did. I cut out gluten and exercised more, because in my mind I equated “strong” with “skinny”. When I got a concussion my freshman year of college I was told that I couldn’t workout with my team and something switched in my head. When I didn’t exercise I felt like I didn’t “deserve” to eat, because I didn’t earn it. As an athlete you’re taught that you have to “earn” your way to the top, you have to earn your jersey. This mindset ultimately led me down to having an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa. Once I was too sick to play, I felt like my identity was taken away, because like many of you, all my life I was known as a student athlete. Afterwards I felt lost and confused, I didn’t know who I was anymore. This in a sense exasperated my eating disorder because I felt like that was the only thing l had left, the only thing that I was good at. I felt like the years I had dedicated to softball meant nothing. I was no longer an athlete but anorexia. At the beginning of my eating disorder I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose weight but I was trying to get “healthy”. Once I realized that I had lost weight I felt a sense of achievement. Losing weight because my new sport and going longer without eating became my new game. At the time nothing mattered more than losing weight and I did. But most importantly I lost myself. I was a completely different person not only physically but mentally. I didn’t care about the people that I hurt along the way, I was constantly fighting with my family, and I was blinded by a false reality. But now in recovery from anorexia I’ve learned that no sport will ever define you, mental health is crucial, strong is not skinny, a number does not define you, reaching out does not make you weak, most importantly you are enough as you are. Life wasn’t meant to become the smallest version of yourself but to become the biggest badass version of you. So enjoy life and savor every moment. . XO Wendy 💕 Read more
I had the worst year of my life this year. I have dealt with anxiety and depression for the majority of my life. Unfortunately, my mental illness has created a multitude of issues,not only for me but for those I care about.I started off my school year fresh off of a traumatic break up. Weeks later, my parents announced to me that they were getting a divorce. Shortly after, my grandmother passed away. I started to have panic attacks and began using xanax, maybe a little bit more than I should have. The worst part was the fact that I was away at school, living with some people I thought were my friends. They ended up being unsupportive and judgmental, acting as though I was a paria or some sort of social outcast, a way I have never been treated before in my life. School is a place I once loved and is now tainted with the horrible moments I dealt with this past year. One night, one of the girls I was living with sat down and spoke to me on behalf of the other 6 girls I was living with. It was a long, painful conversation, but the gist of it was this: she asked my why I was so upset (keep in mind she knew about the things I was dealing with and my mental state), and then proceeded to tell me that everyone is annoyed by me and that I can’t act upset because everyone is dealing with their own issues, hers being her friends’ cousin who committed suicide 6 years ago. Not that I would every downplay the severity of another’s issue, she clearly was not genuine and should not have been having this conversation with me for a number of reasons. That’s when I realized that many people aren’t exposed to mental health issues, and maybe my reactions were foreign to these girls. This disturbed me, being that I come from a place where mental health does not have much of a stigma, thankfully. I just came across this website and wanted to share my experience just in case anybody else has had the same issue. If you’re reading this and you can relate, screw the people that look down upon you for something that makes you the beautiful person that you are. They are not your friends, they are the people that are grappling with their own insecurities, which will only prevent you from overcoming yours. Lastly, this pandemic was probably the best thing for my mental health. Many have had the opposite experience, but I really believe that everybody can find a silver lining or a light in the darkness. This period allowed me to reflect on myself, others, and the world. During these last few months, I have watched myself evolve into the individual I have always wanted to be. If you’re reading this, it’s a sign. You have the power to turn things around. Read more
Amelia Lefevre
Hi, My names Amelia Lefevre. I have struggled with mental health my whole life, it got worst during my high school years. Now I deal with it by creating art and expressing my feelings through it. I always had a hard time connecting with people, even from very young, I never really thought much of it, it was just the way I was. It got more noticeable and difficult as life went on, though. In year eight, I got taken out of school because of how hard I found it, I would cry everyday before school and every night after it. I would stay up all night so that it felt like I had more time before the next day. I would pretend I was ill, sometimes I would actually become ill because of all the stress I was under. When I was homeschooled I found my life much easier, because I was always at home and never out of my comfort zone. It sounds great but it really set me up for disaster. I had to go back to school for year nine. It was hard, really really hard. I found it so difficult to be in constantly crowded, noisy classrooms and corridors. There was so much to deal with, along with being a teenager. I found it really difficult to connect with my friends and always felt odd and not quite accepted into their group. Whether I was or not I don’t truly know. Year nine and ten I missed a lot of school, and it just got worse to the point I was at home most days. When year eleven came round it was just awful. I couldn’t do it. I refused to go to school at all. This ended in me being driven to school every day by one of the support workers (thank you for everything you did for me). I also didn’t go to lessons, I stayed in the support centre all day, everyday. I also stopped talking to anyone except my best friend at the time, she lived an hour away and I didn’t get to see her often. I taught myself all the work for my GCSEs. Life was just so difficult for me, even just the mundane things. I once had the deputy head sit on my bed one morning trying to convince me to get up and go to school. There was only one person who worked at the school that really helped me and put time and effort into me. I don’t know what I would have done without them, I really don’t. The fact they took time out of their day to take me to school, make me cups of tea in the morning, talk to me and help me when I really needed it, I believe every school should have someone like this, as there will always be someone who needs them. I finished school, and tried to go to college. Twice. It didn’t work. I managed to get a job, but I can’t work for too much of the week otherwise I can have a complete mental shutdown. I went to a therapist at one of the colleges and they were really good, they told me I could have Autism, and helped me get onto the waiting list to receive an assessment. I still haven’t received this assessment... it’s been about a year and a half now. I have learnt how to deal with a lot of things, and I know my limitations better and how far I can push myself. I still need this assessment though, it’s hard not knowing what is actually wrong, because you don’t know how to help yourself. I truly believe more money needs to be put into the schooling system for mental health because if I had that help earlier, then I could have had more of a normal life. I wouldn’t be stuck in this rut now of wanted to know solutions or at least the cause of the problem. This is why I took up art, because it’s one way I know can help relieve my stress and express my true feelings. I think everyone needs a coping mechanism and this is mine. In the future I’m going to release prints to raise money for mental health awareness and support in schools. I know this story is long and boring, and it might be a bit unorganised and chaotic, but this is my story, and I hope maybe it can help someone out there who may be going through the same thing. You can get through this, if no one else believes in you, I do. (If you would like someone to talk to, my account is @amelia._.lefevre my dms are always open) Read more
I had been questioning my capability of wanting to be a psychologist for months, I constantly wondered to myself “Can someone like me who has faced emotionally draining and negative situations in life help other individuals overcome every unpleasant emotion they’re feeling?” and as I pondered over this thought for those few months, I ended up eventually blurting it out in the middle of a conversation I was having with my mother (we were arguing about my future, and of course all the thoughts and feelings you repress into your unconscious come out best when you’re filled with extreme rage and frustration – it’s genuinely a fact) and her response was simple but it changed my whole perspective, she said, “Antara, who else will be better at understanding and empathizing with other individuals than someone who has already experienced it themselves?” and I finally realized that I was exactly where I was meant to be and I am moving towards the direction of where I am meant to go. I remember the first time I started studying the subject of Psychology, it was in the 11th grade and as I grew more into it, I knew I wanted to pursue it in the future. My sole reason has always been “I want to make a difference”, “I want to make other people feel happier”, “I want more positivity in a world which is always focusing on the negative”, I genuinely believe everyone deserves to be happy and this mindset drove me towards my ideal path. To be honest, I had my fair share of weaknesses and failures along the path of discovering myself – there were times I almost gave up, the universe was bombarding me with repeated failures and rejections which put me at an edge and it drove me back to the self-perpetuating cycle of questioning myself. Since I can remember, I was always repeatedly reminded of how “I was good for nothing and how I couldn’t do something” and it’s not easy to bounce back from the constant negative energy you’re surrounded with. I had a tough time dealing with this but after contemplating over the situation I was in, I decided to break the cycle – I decided to not give up and keep working hard because the opportunity to learn was still right in front of me, I just had to choose to see it, and so I did. I bounced back from every rejection, every negative comment towards how I was not capable and instead devoted all my time to learning more, volunteering, offering a helping hand to anyone who needed it and most importantly, I learned how to eventually look at my obstacles as challenges instead of “threats”, I refused to fall into self-pity but instead I used all the negativity in my stride leading me to become stronger than I would have ever imagined being three years ago. I’d want to end this with a learning, an idea, a concept which I believe everyone can apply to situations where they feel defeated: “accept oneself and accept the problems or situations you’re in and once you do, you will see a change in the way you are in the world and eventually you will seek out positive outcomes and learn to tolerate the negative ones”. For everyone struggling with self-doubt, you can do this. Read more
Marcie L.
After years of being in and out of hospitals for both mental and physical diagnoses and listening to many other’s mental health journeys, I have been on the road to speak up for those who can’t. From offering proposals to schools districts to starting a nonprofit for raising awareness towards mental health. With every step I take, I am doing it for the ones who are suffering in silence who are not finding any support or love. At an early age, it was difficult to find someone that I could talk to about my overwhelming thoughts and hopeless feelings. I was so young, confused, and lost. I grew up in a family who had an old-fashioned mindset about mental illnesses. They would dismiss my feelings and thoughts with the usual “You know, I had it worse when I was your age”. It took reading my final goodbye letters for them to realize I needed help. My family is nothing but the most supportive and loving people in my life. My school at the time did not how to approach me because they never had “someone so young doing terrible things to themselves”. Everyday during school, I would walk into a full classroom of students and still feel like I was alone in an empty room. The feeling of not being loved both at home and at school is something no 9 year old (or anyone) should experience. I am grateful to have visited mental health specialists and doctors to better understand what I have been dealing with. Figuring out why you think the way you think while drowning in the stigma is a superhero power. On my road to recovery, I have been shamed for my story and was told terrible things. I have never been more proud of myself and I will continue to fight until the silenced know they are just as worthy as anyone else. I speak for them. You can’t change the past but you can choose who you become. To anyone dealing with similar problems, you are worth more than your darkness. You deserve the support, love, and respect you give everyone else. I am proud of you waking up everyday even though I know it’s hard to. You have to go through the bad to reach the good. It’s going to get good so soon, just hang in there. Read more
For years now I have been battling with anxiety. I thought I was getting stronger. Turns out I’m still the same. A couple of years back I had really bad anxiety during a stressful time. I became obsessed with my bodies health and what was happening to it (take it in mind I was going through puberty so weird bodily changes are bound to happen). I convinced myself that I was going insane and that the physical symptoms I was having meant that I was dying of a disease. They physical symptoms and my fear of Contamination were driving me insane which drives the physical the physical symptoms more. I became terrified of sleep as I was convinced I was going to die although I was healthy. I would force myself to stay awake and wake up in a cold sweat and panic attack throughout the night if I ever fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning my first thought was “I survived” then I remembered that I would have to face the day again. I was once cut myself because I convinced myself I was poisoned from a pen. During a panic attack the only logical thing that came to mind was that I needed to cut myself to check that my blood was okay. I recovered from that extreme anxiety once the stressful time was over and was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD. However, recently I have been experiencing many symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, nausea, twitches, buzzing and more. Logically I know these are due to anxiety but my mind is taken over by the fear that I am dying. The people around me try to convince me that I am not and I am perfectly healthy, that I need to stop panicking. But I can never seem to shut my overthinking brain up and working myself into a panic. I’m fed up of being hypersensitive to my body and waking up everyday anxious. I’ve been promised that I’ll be able to go to the doctor once this is all over to put my mind at ease. For the meantime I’m not sure how to cope. Any advice? Read more
Noname Diddy Bop
I have a continuous flow of bad luck which seems to always come my way. People say I should change my thinking but my thinking isn't the problem, negative things just seem to happen. I'm 24 and have no real reason to believe that I have a nice future ahead of me. My mum's death from ovarian cancer when I was 14 has just made me a shy mess with a severe lack of confidence. Any accomplishment I receive or have achieved in the past; I can't seem to properly enjoy because the only person I want to share my success with is her. I feel awful if I haven’t impressed people. I know this is why I am more self-destructive at times which is silly and counterproductive but the overbearing pain inside my head pushes people and new opportunities away. My relationships with people especially women seem to disintegrate very quickly as I feel I become too much to handle emotionally. I like people don’t get me wrong I just feel they could do better. I think this is because I am absolutely terrified of losing somebody close to me again, so I push them away. I don’t mean to do it and it’s killing my current and potential friendships/relationships off one at a time. My sense of self-worth has been destroyed and I really don’t see a way out. I tend to lose jobs a lot, maybe because of my lack of engagement. I panic due to the high pressure of any working environment regardless of the job, even if it’s easy. I get severe anxiety attacks weekly and feel so low. I know she wouldn’t want me to be this way but I think I’m mentally debilitated. I don’t fit in anywhere. I’m not always depressed but I think this intense emotional pain overrides the truth and I tend to always listen. I find it really hard to prove my worth to employers as my anxiety limits all my creative functionality in an office space. I tend to work better on a freelance design basis because I feel studios just don’t accommodate for having a bad day or it’s that I don’t fully know how to express my feelings without seeming incredibly agitated. My grief consumes me and I don’t think my emotional qualities will allow me to last in the fast-paced environments of the design industry. Confidence in design is key and its something I just don’t possess. I also feel the transition from education to the work environment can be a rocky road and things might get better. The thing that gets me down the most is that there is no one time financial or otherwise where I can get a break, take a breather and just think. I’ve been on the go non-stop and I truly think I’m burning out at the ripe age of 24. My friends seem happy but I’m just miserable. I feel like I’m a burden on my family and they’d be better off without me. I'm also a type one Diabetic so FML. My family doesn’t really make me feel good either; they push me in directions I don’t want to go because of their own experiences. My inner voice tells me that If I don’t do what they want me to do I will lose them, this frightens the life out of me and I constantly feel like I disappoint them. I’m an only child and my parents never married so I feel my family can be too pre-concerned with how I live my life that I can’t seem to actually dictate it myself without being a constant disappointment. I’m 24 I should be happy and living and doing all the things 24-year olds are doing but I’m so sad and scared that living has been truly miserable. Read more
So here I am, just sitting in my room, drinking coffee, feeling perfectly fine & writhing this. My name’s Emma, I’m on my second year of studying graphic design, I paint a lot in my free time, and I’m insanely in love with poetry and writing. Seem’s cool, right? I don’t have like a lot of friends, but I’m really friendly, like to meet new people, (I’m kind of having troubles right now with this ‘cause I’m not sure even what I wanted to write at first & my thoughts are kind of messy & my English’s not very well), I’m also like some animator (is that a word?) in every group of people I find myself in. That all seems awesome, doesn’t it? You see, the problem is, lately I found myself literally loosing senses of place, time, people.. when I’m hyped. It’s like this stage of unawareness of anything but the beat, the laughter, just all that vibes, and I would think to myself “Ih ma gosh, my body’s so strong, jet so water like, I’m moving so easily, my mind is pure, I’m a freaking god”. (Important note: I don’t use drugs 😅) And that’s all cool and everything, I do enjoy it, who wouldn’t. But it’s not always like that. Nothing really doesn’t have to happen, I just find myself in one moment feeling lonely, left out, sad, scared, anxious, even paranoid. One day I walked into the fashion store with a friend and suddenly everything faded, it was gross, I was looking at that fancy people everywhere, buying stuff they don’t really need (like, they buy it ‘cause it’s pretty, that’s all, and I’m not saying it isn’t pretty, but it’s just material stuff, it shouldn’t be such a big deal, right?) and all I could think about in that moment was “my dad had to borrow money to pay the bills for this month”. So I ran out of the store, texted my friend that I’ll be outside the enterence. I wanted to cry. Then I heard someone singing. There was a girl, with a paper box in front of her, singing some pretty old songs. I was lonely and bored waiting for my friend, so I just kind of asked that girl if a could join her. And we singed. She was kind. (We didn’t earned much tho.) And then again, in a bus, so full of people that you can’t move, you literally can’t, I started to cry, I couldn’t breathe right, everything was so gross and scary, people were strange. (The Doors - People are strange.mp3) Then I had to get in another bus in order to get home, I did, and it was even more peoply, so I found my way out again, touching all those random people I really didn’t want to be even close to, and especially not freaking touch them. I found air. At bus station. I started to breathe again somehow. And I cried. So helpless and powerless. I can’t even remember clearly how my dad came and drove me home. That’s one case. Not counting “cases”, I am so well that it’s not well how well am I 😅. That’s all I wanted to say I guess. So, should I be kind of worried? Anyone with similar story or something? 😅🙊💘 Read more
Mental issues know no boundary. Whether you're living in the best country in the world or the worst, it's always there; lurking somewhere deep in your mind. I'm Aslan, a 24-year-old graphic design student living in Iran, and I want to tell the story of how it's like living in Iran as a young adult, and how it affected me mentally. Political turmoil, economic collapse, and tensions within and without the country has made the future dark and uncertain for my generation. You don't even know if you can get a job to earn enough money to sustain a simple life, let alone thinking of becoming successful. For me, these uncertainties led to chronic stress and overthinking which in turn caused procrastination. "Will I ever achieve something in the future when I don't even know what's gonna happen tomorrow? Is it even worth trying?" Such thoughts went through my head every single day. Procrastination led to more stress, anxiety and even guilt. I was trapped in a vicious cycle. The cycle continued, until at the age of 23, one night, I experienced my first panic attack. Truly a horrifying experience. But it didn't just end there. Soon after the first attack, I developed panic disorder. In order to continue living my everyday life, doing everyday things, I started taking medications. "I'm 24, I should be having the time of my life right now, but here I am, mentally ruined, and my future pitch black." But, despite all these hardships and negative thoughts, I still haven't given up on my dream of becoming a great graphic designer in the future. But first, I have to defeat procrastination, and the thoughts lingering in my mind. We only have one life, and we have to fight for it. Unfortunately, in life, struggle is inevitable, and for people suffering from mental issues, it's even more challenging. I guess, we're playing the game of life on hard difficulty. But always remember, the harder it is, the greater are the rewards in the end. I'm going to end my brief story with one of my favorite quotes, but before that I want to thank Jessica and everyone else who provide us with a space to share our feelings, our stories with the world, and connect with the ones going through the same hardship. “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” — Sigmund Freud Read more
i was beaten up as a child when mu father was angry - for no reason. i cried for help for my mother who looked away. my mom needed me to care for her emotionally. all that mattered was that i seemed to be normal. when i came to kindergarden i was sexually abused once. from 2nd grade things improved and i got more stable. when i turned into teenager my father got more angry and beaten me up worse - threatening to kill me and destroying my stuff. at school i was raped again. after that everything seemed unreal for years. i changed school and improved. my parents sent me to a therapist, but i did not trust him, which was good, since he started meeting me after i turned 18. after a while i had my first boyfriend who was sexist and at first emotionally, later on physically violent and i developed severe depression. for years i feld insecure and as if everything was lost, only living on to struggle. some therapists were ok, others not. often they were superficial, thought my dad had wanted me to excel at school whereas i was set under pressure from my mom to achieve less ,to diminish my abilities. she wanted me to be less active always and drink more alcohol because she thought, that's how students have to be. no one believed me this story. another therapist wanted to date me again but nothing happened because i really did not like him. i had a female therapist who denied that my ex boyfriend had hit me or treated badly. she thought it was funny when being urged to have sex, being belittled, and thought it was unappropiate for women to be able to handle a drilling machine. she denied that i was having concentration difficultied and shouted at me when i said so. she always claimed it was my wrond perceiving of everything, but later on i had myself tested - and had prove that i had concentration problems (she turned around 180 degrees of course). i tried to address anxiety when meeting guys and she said it would all disappear once depression was over and she promised i would never be treated baldy again because i was suffering but denied me talking about the abuse from my ex. no one ever set me under su much pressure as she did. she claimed to know my feelings better than me and belittled me and it was as if i was not there, she was talking all the time. i think, she was unable to cope with her own struggles. when i quit she got mad, telling me it was not right, that therapy was not for free everywhere and that i should behave like that. whenever i recieved a good mark she reacted shocked and claimed i was faulty having too high standards which i should lower and whenever i was dating she disliked it - only not when he was an alcoholic, that seemed to be ok for her. so she was really destructive. i turned suicidal during that therapy and have relationship problems with almost all people since then - before i got along with friend and acquaintances, now i am unable to keep anxiety and feeling helpless away. i got better therapists later on but i am having enourmous problems with trusting them. i cannot have a partner - i cannot even sleep when another male is in the same room as me and i cannot study because i don't feel allowed to excel, to be intelligent or to be successful anywhere. i don't feel allowed to be creative because my therapist had critizised me for every wish to create and any fun i experienced there. i was never being supported. talking about bad therapists is hardest, many other therapists are certain from the beginning that it is my fault and that a colleage never does any harm. (it really was worded like that once). i cannot cope with their lies anymore. i was better after like five years of struggle but then, at a clinic (i was in wards like 12 times after that therapist), had someone who wanted to set me under pressure, shouting at me like she did, wanted to force me to talk with her and did not care for me at all but behaved extremely narcistic. again, i lost my feeling for myself and any security and felt overwhelmed. i won't recover anymore now and i feel completely unable to trust again. i don't think there is a point in caring for other people anymore. all i should do is turn into some asshole like those physicians and exploit others, because this is how people are supposed to be. Read more
A girl
I'm a 19 y.o girl, I have a broken family. My dad left me when I was 11 because my mom couldn't love him anymore. They were fighting every day, sometimes my dad thrown things so I could be silent and I couldn't protect my mom. But I still love my dad, and when they were divorce, no one told me until I found out by myself. I knew it after one year later, and I never stop crying because of that. Months later, my mom married a guy and never talked about it until I realized the day of their marriage. I felt so broken inside, I really don't know what should I do. I got bullied at elementary school for 5 years and after that my mom divorced and married a guy that I never know he's gonna be my step father. And after they married, my step father did sexual harassment to me. It happened when I was on junior high school until I graduated from senior high school (12-18 y.o I think). And after that I decided to moved out to Yogyakarta to continue my education to the university, so no one will know if I did some bad things to my body because I don't know how to escape from those pain and sadness. I cut myself three times with a cutter, I did over-sleep and sometimes I got insomnia so I had to drink an allergic medicine so I could sleep, because it has some sleepiness effect. And I always feeling empty, lost, and lonely- no matter how crowd the situation, no matter how much I tried to make friends. And I still feel these negative emotions for 8 years. I'm so grateful to find this website, I could talk what I'm feeling because I feel ashamed to talk with someone directly. Read more
My name is Selena Smith. I was diagnosed with multiple BPD, anxiety disorders, depression (BP manic depression) a few months back. I always felt off and I knew I wasn't "feeling" ok ever. However, I feel like I'm deteriorating. Slowly. My mind. Physically andemotionally. I also feel like I'm getting stronger,too. It's a constant battle and a constant fear, struggle, hurt, worry, and crisis. I never know if I'm going to be ok. But I will be ok. It's just hard to know what's going to happen next. I have frequent suicide thoughts. I feel everything you can name. But I'm also determined. I dont know which one is NOT ok to feel. I feel guilty if I can't or I don't. My journey right now is homelessness. I am currently homeless, I lost my home 2 months after my 17th birthday. I had to learn to survive outside my home. I had to learn to use my basic skills outside and move around with them. I am currently staying in a hotel with my father, he is in the hospital right now, he should be home in the next few days.. I watched my mother die and now I feel like I'm watching my father die. In this, we lived out of our vehicle. I had to bathe behind a grocery store. Right now in California, the temperature is dropping. I usually bathed at night so nobody would see me, as it is freezing. We ate out of cans with our hands. We went to the bathroom behind dumpsters if a fast food place wasn't open during the night mostly. We changed wherever we could, car, behind a building, etc. When we would run out of what money we had, we had to dig through trash cans or ask for money and food from strangers in a parking lot. The list can go on, it kind of hurts and triggers a spark. However, I am still alive, I am breathing, I am here today. I am still enduring this, but I'm in a bed right now telling you this. I'm laying down with my dog next to me- I'm okay. I did it. I am doing it. I just have to see what happens from here on out. But I have hope. And you are also my hope. I'm focusing a lot more on my mentality right now and myself. I am growing and learning through it all, through all the hardships. Through the pain. I am strong. And I am here, I am anywhere, I can share a couple of stories and my journey. I would cry every night wondering "what's going to happen to me, where am I going to go after this, I'm never going to see my future or my kids. I want to be dead. Everything would be better off if I weren't here because I wouldn't even know. I can't take this anymore, I can't do it. This is too much. When is this going to stop. I'm not okay. I dont feel okay. Please, help me. I don't want to be here" I want to be here and i am. I want to share myself with everyone, I want to get places, I want to start now. Here is my voice. I created an instagram account that focuses on mental health, we can talk one on one, I am always open as so are my direct messages. To share your voice. To give to you. To be an advocate to hundreds of others who endure different things, while working on myself and Knowing "you are giving, you are doing for someone else and it makes you THAT much stronger". I also piece together the small moments I've had (not only with the situation) but show you the raw reality of what had and what Is going on. Not just with my mind, but with me as well. Thank you for sitting here with me, thank you for sharing your voice. I hope to meet you. I love you. Instagram : @mentaliena Read more
My name is Selena Smith. I was diagnosed with multiple BPD, anxiety disorders, depression (BP manic depression) a few months back. I always felt off and I knew I wasn't "feeling" ok ever. However, I feel like I'm deteriorating. Slowly. My mind. Physically andemotionally. I also feel like I'm getting stronger,too. It's a constant battle and a constant fear, struggle, hurt, worry, and crisis. I never know if I'm going to be ok. But I will be ok. It's just hard to know what's going to happen next. I have frequent suicide thoughts. I feel everything you can name. But I'm also determined. I dont know which one is NOT ok to feel. I feel guilty if I can't or I don't. My journey right now is homelessness. I am currently homeless, I lost my home 2 months after my 17th birthday. I had to learn to survive outside my home. I had to learn to use my basic skills outside and move around with them. I am currently staying in a hotel with my father, he is in the hospital right now, he should be home in the next few days.. I watched my mother die and now I feel like I'm watching my father die. In this, we lived out of our vehicle. I had to bathe behind a grocery store. Right now in California, the temperature is dropping. I usually bathed at night so nobody would see me, as it is freezing. We ate out of cans with our hands. We went to the bathroom behind dumpsters if a fast food place wasn't open during the night mostly. We changed wherever we could, car, behind a building, etc. When we would run out of what money we had, we had to dig through trash cans or ask for money and food from strangers in a parking lot. The list can go on, it kind of hurts and triggers a spark. However, I am still alive, I am breathing, I am here today. I am still enduring this, but I'm in a bed right now telling you this. I'm laying down with my dog next to me- I'm okay. I did it. I am doing it. I just have to see what happens from here on out. But I have hope. And you are also my hope. I'm focusing a lot more on my mentality right now and myself. I am growing and learning through it all, through all the hardships. Through the pain. I am strong. And I am here, I am anywhere, I can share a couple of stories and my journey. I would cry every night wondering "what's going to happen to me, where am I going to go after this, I'm never going to see my future or my kids. I want to be dead. Everything would be better off if I weren't here because I wouldn't even know. I can't take this anymore, I can't do it. This is too much. When is this going to stop. I'm not okay. I dont feel okay. Please, help me. I don't want to be here" I want to be here and i am. I want to share myself with everyone, I want to get places, I want to start now. Here is my voice. I created an instagram account that focuses on mental health, we can talk one on one, I am always open as so are my direct messages. To share your voice. To give to you. To be an advocate to hundreds of others who endure different things, while working on myself and Knowing "you are giving, you are doing for someone else and it makes you THAT much stronger". I also piece together the small moments I've had (not only with the situation) but show you the raw reality of what had and what Is going on. Not just with my mind, but with me as well. Thank you for sitting here with me, thank you for sharing your voice. I hope to meet you. I love you. Instagram : @mentaliena Read more
It all started around 7 to 8 years ago ,when due to some family problems my parents used to fight and my dad started drinking alcohol just to avoid issues . At first we thought it's just a phase and my parents will get over it as I've never seen such issues between them before and I was concerned about them and what it will do to my little brother .But those issues grew up and father who was once an occasional drinker became a regular one .things got worse ,my parents used to fight all the time ,verbally and physically too . My father started to lose consciousness and he used to do destroy everything in kitchen , our food , our stuff at home due to his anger .I used to save my brother from all these but somehow I used to get affected as being the elder one I always knew what was going on . I used to watch my mom cry and my father's condition getting worse . This was continuous for 4 years and after that ,consumption of so much of alcohol started affecting my father and he started having strokes and for 3 years he was admitted around 15 to 16 times in the hospital. Everything that took place at my home somehow broke me and I felt anxious all the time and I felt like its eating up my head.my own thoughts used to scare me ,I somehow managed to go through that and tried to work on myself but things didn't stop . Doctor told my dad that he needs a liver transplant as his liver is completely damaged and my mom was the donor .for 2 months they were admitted and I had my college holidays and I was at home ,taking care of things ,my brother and my family but the surgery failed and my dad passed away . I feel like I'm still in the trauma of the events that had happened with me . I try really hard to move on but that pain ,that sadness is still in me .It becomes really hard to move forward . Read more
Courtney Heiser
The last 7 months have been the hardest of my life. Harder than caring for a baby who screamed nonstop; harder than divorce; harder than anything. I’ve been very open about the fact that I am diagnosed with and suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. I’ve navigated this most of my adult life, but it’s also been pretty manageable with therapy, distraction, and sometimes meds. In early March I had a panic attack of epic proportion and it sent my brain to a very dark place. Three days later, my dear friend Melissa took me to an inpatient behavioral health facility so I could admit myself. The team there encouraged me not to do so, and to this day, I’m not sure if I made the right choice. I went home that day, but the struggle has continued. (P.S. I met a really sweet boy around this time, and had to cancel one of our first dates because I was checking myself into a mental health facility. He was incredibly gracious and gentle with me — just a note to surround yourself with good people). For months now, I’ve been dealing with near constant anxiety. I’ve been at war with my brain daily, and it’s absolutely exhausting. I’ve pulled out all the stops — tried two new meds, changed therapists, attended a support group, hired a yoga instructor to give me private classes in my home specific to managing anxiety, spent $300 to have my genetics tested to determine what meds would work best for me; downloaded and used a unwinding anxiety app, meditation, books about mindfulness, etc., etc. I’m so tired. On top of the anxiety, depression has set it big time. And honestly, depression almost feels worse. Let me be clear, I am not suicidal. I think that’s one of the reasons they wouldn’t admit me at the facility. But I will say this, these last three months have really helped me to understand why people take their lives. I was talking with a friend recently who did struggle with suicidal thoughts last year before receiving treatment, and he said, “honestly, I just wanted to destroy my brain.” That made perfect sense to me. The brain is powerful, and when it’s misfiring, it’s scary. I guess I’m sharing this for a few reasons. 1. If you’re struggling, I’m sorry. I understand. I know how hard this is. Please hold on, and please seek help. And maybe I’m not in the best position to help someone else, but maybe I am. Call me. 2. If you have friends or family who suffer mental health issues, please be gentle with them -- even if you don’t understand it. 3. Life seems like business as usual for me on social media. That’s the danger of living so much of our lives online. What people are suffering on the other side of the screen may not be apparent. Spend time with your people — face to face. It’s so important. Read more
i started feeling hopeless in 8th grade. my dad died when i was 9, and my birth mom died when i was 3 years old. they were both addicts. but before my dad died he put me in a foster home with this woman. i was very lucky with where my life went, because i only had to go to one foster home and that was the one for me. i got abused and hurt for a very long time. everyone i was around was doing drugs or was always drunk, and we never had a steady place to live. i never got a good education until i moved in with my foster mom. i’m 17 years old now, i just found out i don’t have to go to court anymore to testify against a man who raped my bestfriend from freshman year and that was good news. i’ve been going to church, i forgave someone who has hurt me countless time and constantly belittles me and my problems and makes me feel like complete shit about myself. i’m happy with my life at the moment. i’m trying so hard to find something to make me happy, and do things to keep me motivated but i still feel sad constantly, and i’ve been feeling this way for years. i talked to my mom about it (the foster mom who adopted me) and she keeps saying it’s just a phase and it’s the “cool” thing to be depressed. as i said i’m very thankful for her and the opportunities she has given me, but when it comes to mental health she doesn’t seem to care. i had a mental breakdown in front of her by accident about a month ago and she was saying she was going to take me to the hospital but i didn’t want that. she’s been promising a therapist for months but doesn’t get me one. i had an anxiety therapist for a little bit and even she said i had depression and after me and my mom walked out the only thing she said to me was “did you do your homework?” i feel like i have nobody to talk to. and all i want to do is figure out what is making me feel so sad, helpless, and lonely. i need someone to talk to. i want to do something about this before it gets to a point where it can’t be fixed. i’ve talked to my school counselor and she talked to my mom because she was worried about me. all my mom does is say that i sit around and complain about it but i don’t do shit to fix it. which is completely false. i’m trying my hardest for her and myself. more her then myself quite honestly. i just feel so lost and tired and lonely and i want some help and someone to talk to. i’m tired of being tired. the kind of tired sleep can’t help. Read more
I'm a multi-tour veteran now in my 40's. I worked in a specialist support role in the Iraq and Afghan conflicts, holding 3 service medals and a commendation. I feel like I've seen the worst of greed and anger in people, yet also the best of bravery and sacrifice. I eventually moved to Australia to make a new life and leave that all behind. The surprising thing has been how lonely that is. My life for years revolved around that job, yet surrounded most times by mates experiencing the same stresses and fire, and we could always discuss things with each other. There was no shame in showing doubt or weakness, even needing a break. Many people quit early over the years with what would have once been called 'shell-shock', or misused alcohol to cope. I thankfully never got to those stages myself on the job. Meeting new people, making new connections in life, the most common question we get asked as, when people know our background, is "What was it like over there?" They want details. When you've been talking for all of 30 seconds you see the other person's face change. Plenty times they realise they didn't actually want to know, but look at you differently. And the loneliness continues, the sense of disconnection and disassociation in society. This year, 2019, I've been working with a veterans' test group. We were selected in for long service and a decent level of emotional articulation. Working with mental health professionals we have been discussing how to create new therapies (some of which we assesed ourselves) to help future vets reconnect to society. This work has been successful. I found it transformational, I think we all did. I'm a better person now. I still feel lonely, unsure of what to disclose to new people, but now I know there are possibly thousands of people like me out in society going through the same feelings. I think the lesson as always is talk to someone, somewhere. Find help for loneliness - and remember that the help you need might turn out to be helping others :-) . Read more
I feel like I want to run , just run away . But you can‘t run away from yourself . I have a obsessive compulsive disorder , also called OCD . There are many types of the compulsive disorder . For me it‘s about repeating and controlling everything . And with everything I mean everything . I have to do every little thing like turning the lights on or open something or take something many times until that inner voice tells me that’s right . I know that it doesn‘t make sense . But if I don‘t do it the fear that something is going to happen gets extreme , I start to panic , I feel pain , I can’t concentrate and I have to do it . Then I feel better for a few minutes until I do the next thing and it starts again . It started in school . At first it wasn‘t that extreme and I could control it better . I was bullied in school and I changed the school then , but I didn‘t really found friends . It was stressful and I just felt lonely . And I was afraid to talk to people and meet new people , because I thought and I still think that nobody likes me and that I can’t do anything right . I started to isolate myself more and more . And when school became more stressful the compulsive disorder started . At first with some rituals . And now the compulsive disorder takes hours every day . I graduated school last year . And I was happy at first . But now I feel lost . I feel lonely . I don‘t really have friends . I feel like I‘m lost in a dark forest and I try to find a way out , but I can‘t Read more
I feel like I want to run , just run away . But you can‘t run away from yourself . I have a obsessive compulsive disorder , also called OCD . There are many types of the compulsive disorder . For me it‘s about repeating and controlling everything . And with everything I mean everything . I have to do every little thing like turning the lights on or open something or take something many times until that inner voice tells me that’s right . I know that it doesn‘t make sense . But if I don‘t do it the fear that something is going to happen gets extreme , I start to panic , I feel pain , I can’t concentrate and I have to do it . Then I feel better for a few minutes until I do the next thing and it starts again . It started in school . At first it wasn‘t that extreme and I could control it better . I was bullied in school and I changed the school then , but I didn‘t really found friends . It was stressful and I just felt lonely . And I was afraid to talk to people and meet new people , because I thought and I still think that nobody likes me and that I can’t do anything right . I started to isolate myself more and more . And when school became more stressful the compulsive disorder started . At frost with some rituals . And now the compulsive disorder takes hours every day . I graduated school last year . And I was happy at first . But now I feel lost . I feel lonely . I don‘t really have friends . I feel like I‘m lost in a dark forest and I try to find a way out , but I can‘t Read more
I feel like I want to run , just run away . But you can‘t run away from yourself . I have a obsessive compulsive disorder , also called OCD . There are many types of the compulsive disorder . For me it‘s about repeating and controlling everything . And with everything I mean everything . I have to do every little thing like turning the lights on or open something or take something many times until that inner voice tells me that’s right . I know that it doesn‘t make sense . But if I don‘t do it the fear that something is going to happen gets extreme , I start to panic , I feel pain , I can’t concentrate and I have to do it . Then I feel better for a few minutes until I do the next thing and it starts again . It started in school . At first it wasn‘t that extreme and I could control it better . I was bullied in school and I changed the school then , but I didn‘t really found friends . It was stressful and I just felt lonely . And I was afraid to talk to people and meet new people , because I thought and I still think that nobody likes me and that I can’t do anything right . I started to isolate myself more and more . And when school became more stressful the compulsive disorder started . At first with some rituals . And now the compulsive disorder takes hours every day . I graduated school last year . And I was happy at first . But now I feel lost . I feel lonely . I don‘t really have friends . I feel like I‘m lost in a dark forest and I try to find a way out , but I can‘t Read more
Our story
They say you’re too young at 17 to know what you’re going through or have any experience of the world they’ll say that you need to live longer, love harder to really experience the world. They’ll say you don’t know what you’re talking about but believe you do and walk through this like a boss. I was never really open about all my issues and then that’s where it started to get to me. The thoughts of not living another night became honey sweetening my brain i didn’t want a life like this where it all eats on you, your soul, your mind. She had gone through a lot the toxic was a blind spot I wanted to help as we talk through months and months go by she slowly got better I lost myself. ‘It’ll be okay’ never knew it could be so one sided. I never knew she never cared about me just herself and her own desires, just to feed the ego that always hid with the reality back home. We would talk about her what she been through how she got through only for it to get better. How she got raped, how she’ll never find a man to marry how I’d Ofer up everything for her just to not be accepted. She said she did listen to me as much as I listened to her when I stayed all those nights when she finally slept it all crawled in me I couldn’t take it she was the only reason I lived the love in the heart was the purely the only reason just to realise she never really listened she never really cared she fed off me left me here on the ropes that hang slowly tying around my neck. Pain does exist in men it only gets worse when they just don’t talk. After the first attempt I gave up I couldn’t do it to myself I lived on as the sun set and the thoughts loomed. I lived with regret to never get so attached. Maybe one day I won’t be here to feel the pain. Or one day my soul comes back to me with the pieces it left with. Read more
Hi I am 52;I am a mental health support worker for the last 9 years,through my life I suffered with my own mental health mainly depression,this generally comes on through my illnesses,I am a renal transplant patient ,,this is my third ,but from the beginning at 18 yrs old when I first was diagnosed with kidney failure and had to spend weeks on a machine and then taught to finalise at home 4 x a day ,I think my depression started here , because of having a circle of friends of 20 people ,and when I was ill only 3 friends actually visited me ,the rest ,sorry I don't like the smell of hospitals ,no I haven't the time are these truly my friends ? Also I was 18 my friends were out enjoying thereselves I wanted to be part of this and started skipping dialysis which made me ill,and on top of this on my tummy I had a tube which needed cleaning everyday with ether and pure 100% alcohol ,the ether I started sniffing until I was unconscious this went on for months until one day I rang my dad at his office to say there were little green men running around my bedroom ,he took the bottle and flushed it ,I saw a psychiatrist who asked me why I was doing this ,I said I was depressed I'm stuck here on my own doing nothing ,all he said was you realise you will kill yourself ,now moving on it's 2019 my transplant is again failing I have now been off of work really since May ,it's now the 10th October ,my family are brilliant my girlfriend is so caring ,but again I'm ill my friends disappear ,they have their own lives I know ,but there is no texts nothing for nearly 6 months ,I have a really special mate Steve who I have known all my life ,he lives over 200 miles from me ,and visits and texts me ,but my so called friends and workmates who just disappear after a few weeks ,makes me feel am I not a friend ,when you spoke to me were you just making polite conversation ,when we had fun were you just including me ,I look at social media and think why do my so called friends keep sharing ,If you need a friend to talk to ,or others saying I am here anytime for anyone ,really and you can't even text me to say hello , Read more
I think that there is no shame into just coming out and saying that "I am suffering from mental illness". I have always been said by my close peers that, "You are completely fine, you're absolutely normal", I mean really. I have been chewing through the insides of my mouth since very long, and I know that I am suffering from this particular illness. I take no medication, I never find drinking, smoking or killing myself to be the greatest solution of them all, because that's just a sign that you just don't want to fight things around you. Several times, I have been belittled, I have been used, people don't talk to me cause they think I'm a really weird person, so for those people I keep myself away from them. Sometimes, people don't like to talk to me, nor want to understand as to what I have done, for example - I cut my hair short cause' I was seriously done with all the stress and anxiety that I've faced, so I needed a change. In fact, the long hair that I had, I donated it, but is anybody ready to even listen about it or understand the reason that why actually I did that? The answer is no. I have also been torn between the fights in my house, considering parents being like, "You're siding with your mother", "You're siding with your father", do my parents want to hear me? I really don't think so, considering when I asked my father something, he just pushed me away on the pretext of wanting to watch a news debate, which seemed much more important than his own daughter's mental illness. What I really want to convey is that, never mock anyone having this illness. Nobody fakes it, and mental illness is not something that's like a wound which is visible, its' something more large. Lend your ears to somebody who wants to talk with you, who confides in you the most. There's more to add, but for now that's all I'd say. Read more
Brooke Toffolon
One thing I wish I had as someone who is very new to the recovery process is a letter from someone else navigating the ups and downs of recovery. So this is for them. And for me. And for you. Dear brave, scared, beautiful you, The you that has just begun the recovery journey as is still nervous to even consider the word “recovery”. Welcome to this rollercoaster of a journey. First of all, what is recovery? To me recovery is not perfectly following a meal plan or showing up to every appointment with a smile and an Ensure. Recovery is not waking up and loving your body and not thinking twice before getting dressed. Recovery is honestly not even about the food at all. Sure, those are good goals and things to work towards, but let’s start small. To me recovery is about showing up. Showing up to appointments when you are tired and don’t want to feel or think or talk or listen. Showing up to the table, even if it’s to cry through a dinner or snack. Showing up for your life, because your eating disorder has taken so much life away from you, you might not even recognize what life you have left. Showing up for yourself. Because there are going to be many people along the way to cheer you on and push you in the direction of recovery. And ultimately you have to recover for you. Not your mom or your sister or your boyfriend or your therapist. You have to show up, hands open, willing for YOU. And if that isn’t one of the hardest parts, then I don’t know what is. What does recovery look like? Feeling, healing, and “meal”ing. Recovery is not a straight line (which. Is the biggest bummer for those of us who like when things are black and white). There are days when you feel on top of the world and days when you feel like you’re in an endless pit of darkness. And sometimes these aren’t even days, but moments. I’ve heard that eventually it evens out and the emotions become a little less extreme. I’ll keep you updated. What if I mess up? What if it’s not perfect? What if I disappoint everyone? Is it still okay to miss my ED? Great questions! And when I work through the answers, I will let you know. All I know for right now is that wherever you are is okay. My last (and most favorite) therapist helped me to realize that we all grow at our own pace. It’s not a race, it’s not a contest. It’s your life. And as long as you are moving, you are learning and growing. So my best recovery advice? Let’s all be a little more like snails. Growing and moving at our own pace, going inside our shells when we get scared, but always coming back out and moving forward. Snails see the beauty in every inch and always come home to themselves. Those are my recovery goals, simple as that. Read more
My childhood was not an easy one. I’ve been kidnapped by my father at the age of 4, due to that and law punishment I wasn’t allowed to have any contact with him anymore, I’ve been mentally and physically abused by my mother who was depressed. I’ve been kicked out of the house multiple times. In puberty and adolescence I’ve suffered from depression and bounding issues. There was a time during my depression that I did a lot of reflecting. I’ve taught myself a few things: 1. The only one who should and is responsible to love you more than anything else in this world is yourself, if you don’t, who else will? 2. You’re worth being loved and to love. 3. You’re different, that’s ok. That makes you interesting and inspiring. 4. You are not a victim, you are a survivor. Eventually, I’ve had enough of the depression. I couldn’t stand being sad, isolating myself, having wrong habits and bad sleeping routines. I knew I had to turn it around, or I would sink in deeper as if it was quick sand. I’ve changed my career choice and studied social work and a similar study at the university. Now I help children who are abused, depressed, have parents who are in a fighting divorce and so go on. I understand how they feel, without telling them my background story (I do have to keep professional distance). They can see my understanding through my eyes and my words. I’m now able to use what happened to me as a gift to help children. To prevent. To make them happy adults who turn to be good parents. To break the intergenerational cycle. And that, that makes me not regret anything that happened to me. In the end, what happened just had to happen for me to learn to help them. It cost me many years to overcome what happened to me (24 years to be exact), but now I’ve reached being immensely happy with my life and myself. There is light at the end of the tunnel! For everyone who gets out of a depression, abuse or anything else that negatively affected you: I salute you. You are not a victim, you are the survivor. Read more
My childhood was not an easy one. I’ve been kidnapped by my father at the age of 4, due to that and law punishment I wasn’t allowed to have any contact with him anymore, I’ve been mentally and physically abused by my mother who was depressed. I’ve been kicked out of the house multiple times. In puberty and adolescence I’ve suffered from depression and bounding issues. There was a time during my depression that I did a lot of reflecting. I’ve taught myself a few things: 1. The only one who should and is responsible to love you more than anything else in this world is yourself, if you don’t, who else will? 2. You’re worth being loved and to love. 3. You’re different, that’s ok. That makes you interesting and inspiring. 4. You are not a victim, you are a survivor. Eventually, I’ve had enough of the depression. I couldn’t stand being sad, isolating myself, having wrong habits and bad sleeping routines. I knew I had to turn it around, or I would sink in deeper as if it was quick sand. I’ve changed my career choice and studied social work and a similar study at the university. Now I help children who are abused, depressed, have parents who are in a fighting divorce and so go on. I understand how they feel, without telling them my background story (I do have to keep professional distance). They can see my understanding through my eyes and my words. I’m now able to use what happened to me as a gift to help children. To prevent. To make them happy adults who turn to be good parents. To break the intergenerational cycle. And that, that makes me not regret anything that happened to me. In the end, what happened just had to happen for me to learn to help them. It cost me many years to overcome what happened to me (24 years to be exact), but now I’ve reached being immensely happy with my life and myself. There is light at the end of the tunnel! For everyone who gets out of a depression, abuse or anything else that negatively affected you: I salute you. You are not a victim, you are the survivor. Read more
For the longest time, I did not validate the pain I felt inside me. I felt broken, but I didn't dare make a sound. Ignoring it didn't make it go away. Instead, it became bigger and bigger till it became a whole other person living inside me. Choking me from time to time. Tugging at my heart, hurting my nerves. Ever since I was a child, I was taught that whatever we go through, there are people who are going through much worse. As I grew up, it became more real as my closest of friends began to suffer from life altering grief and trauma. I have been in awe seeing them navigate their dreams amidst magnanimous heartbreak. All this while the ache I felt inside me, kept getting louder. Unable to ignore it anymore, I began getting angry at myself. Shouting at my pain, cursing it with hopes that it would crumble to my words of hate and repulsion. "There are people around you who have it much worse than you, how dare you be this pathetic and immature?" "You're being ridiculously needy, get your shit together." "There are people who are going through back breaking trauma and you're the one who wants to kill yourself?" "You have absolutely no strength to exist in this world if you can't be grateful for the life you have, you definitely deserve to kill yourself." It got louder and more cruel with every passing day till it stopped me from moving my body. Unable to contain the volume of this fight within me, I began sharing with people around me in my life that that being alone with myself has become a dark place I am scared to step into. That I feel suicidal but it only ends up making me feel repulsed with myself because people around me are struggling through much bigger emotional turmoils than I am. Some of them tried to understand what I'm feeling. Some said I should learn to be grateful, if I'm aware that my struggle is smaller. Some said I should be grateful for being privileged that my struggle is smaller. I should learn from my friends how to navigate tough emotions. And trust me, I am trying. Every day I try to contextualise how my pain is invalid or minute in comparison to my mother's pain, my sister's struggle, my father's grief, my friend's trauma, my other friend's shame, my other friend's loneliness. I tried every possible way to silence my pain. Last December, after being unable to shut this part of me for years, I went to see a therapist. Somehow, the first day I stepped into her office, I unravelled. It is very unlike me to trust someone this quick. But I did. It was almost instinctive, this faith that I'm safe here. The pain could suddenly exist, sit next to me, be as loud as it wants to be. For the first time, it didn't exist in comparison to anyone else's pain. Just mine. The way it is. After almost six months of continuously giving my pain a space to unmask itself and unmute itself, I am not as angry at myself anymore. I learnt that sharing my pain does not lessen someone else's pain. Validating my inner brokenness does not take away from the brokenness of anyone else. Feeling determined to kill myself as the best solution to this life does not in any way say that I do not care that the world around me is hurting too. We can all be crumbling together. We can all sit with our pain together. We can all be hurting together. My chaos cannot silence the world's chaos. My chaos does not want to silence your chaos. All I want is for my pain to feel free, for once, so that it can one day, heal and doesn't take up this much space inside me. Read more
There is always some ugly truth about our lives that we like to lock up in a dungeon deep down as coping mechanism. But these seemingly tiny wounds fester into ghastly voids that need to be emancipated for healing to take over. Physical abuse is that elephant in the room that still gets brushed under the carpet. Because despite the empathy it has garnered on a global level, the fear of being judged and misunderstood is rampant till date. The most heartbreaking part is that in most cases it comes from someone who we blindly trust our safety and well-being with. I was assaulted on more than one occasion in 2010 by my ex-boyfriend post a bitter breakup. After years of persistent mental and emotional abuse, I finally gathered the courage to end things and that did not go down well with his ego. I was punished for my audacity so severely that the bruises and clots took more than two weeks to fade. This was followed by an elaborate, almost diabolical smear campaign in public places as well as on social media. I was bullied/ intimidated by his family and friends followed by rape and death threats in his own words. To make matters worse I got no real support from my own family during this harrowing period. But somehow I went through with it using a temporary bandage over my impaired confidence & self esteem, assuming it was dead and buried when it was far from over. I struggled with PTSD, depression and eating disorder for years until I came to a realization that I wasn’t giving my healing the attention it required. I’ve had peers and friends tell me to my face to ‘just get over it’. One of the most absurd ‘rationalizing’ statement that came from someone close was that he probably succumbed to such actions because he loved me too much! All these ever changing yet distorted views made me question my own sanity. As a result I developed a toxic codependent attitude that I’m fiercely fighting now more than ever. Victims or Survivors, whatever you choose to call us, we aren’t telling our stories for sympathy, attention or to be a part of some bedroom gossip. We are speaking our reality out because every story deserves to be heard. Truth be told, it is nothing but utterly terrifying to stand naked in the face of a world that is constantly dismissing your spirit. This is a testament to the girl who I used to be before the October of ‘10. Having said that, the metamorphosis and unveiling of who she was always meant to become has been so splendid, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Read more
Alina Ioana Petrea
I'm writing this in the middle of one of those days where nothing makes sense anymore. Over the years I've blamed myself for this. For having these episodes that make my life harder than it actually is, for not being able to function normally, for having to put twice as much energy as my friends to even get out of the bed in the morning and keeping myself from falling apart all throughout the day. Half of my life has been like this, I've tried everything from private to group therapy, EMDR sessions and family systemic constellations and at the moment I'm so informed about the psychological implications, processes, coping mechanism of my anxiety and depression that I'm often finding myself analyzing my moods rather that experiencing them. Understanding the pain so I can have a fully informed approach in changing my perspective when I'm down. We should never underestimate the power of understanding our pain. It carries precious information and with it, a recipe for the cure. It's difficult to live like this, but at the same time, I know that I have to fully accept who I am. All parts of me, both wounded and healthy ones. One huge step into accepting this was going public about my depression. To my friends, family, colleagues. This made things so much easier for me, as it served both as a public awareness of the importance of mental health and destigmatization of mental illnesses among those who knew me. Many people believe that having depression cripples you to the point where you become useless. I'm currently working two jobs as a strategist and graphic designer, I manage a creative community, teach yoga classes and just finished my PhD. I did all of this and still doing it while having horrible breakdowns that prevent me from functioning well, but I'm still here, managing it. There's no reason to be ashamed of your depression as is there's not reason to be ashamed of your body or life choices. It's unfair to yourself. This is a part of yourself that makes you, YOU and without it maybe you wouldn't be this beautiful human being right now. And I'm quoting Elisabeth Kübler-Ross here: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern." Read more
Francisco Modesto
Sometimes we got lost on our daily priorities. We are so deceived for what we want to achieve in a short period of time just for the benefit of getting that extra financial profit. All that just to sacrifice our perspective of what is really important for our life. I'm a young guy with 24y from Portugal. Today I'm working for the creative/corporate industry for 3yrs. Entering the industry was everything that I wished to achieve since junior high school. To give you more context, it was taught to my generation that if we don't study enough we will never get a comfortable job and a "life". In other words, we would be miserable without a positive future. This was taught to kids between their 15yrs to18yrs. How insane is teaching someone with this toxic anxious overview of the world? How is this possible to mean happiness to someone? Is this truly the meaning of happiness and achievement? Ofc not. And I learn it from the worst way. After some years of intense work and studies, I started to introduce bad habits on my daily basis. I didn't sleep well; sometimes I forgot to eat; didn't practice any kind of sports; being with friends/family was an occasional situation because I wanted to work so intensively to achieve my goals asap; after that, I started to hear negative/sad music influencing my mood, suddenly all these activities together made my life a total mess! I broke my feelings, my mental health was unstable and even health was horrible. I got so lost that the only solution to find meaning for my life was visiting a psychologist and share my stories with someone close that understood my situation. After having good input from both sides I decided to change my daily basis radically. I started to visit my friends and family often; I cook balanced and healthy meals; started to visit new places in my free time; going to the gym was a need!; meditation and the psychology sessions was a good solution for taking care of my mental health, and finally, I found practical methods to manage my daily responsibilities making me feel secured, controlled and less overload with tasks. I just needed to make clear that I'm a good person but did poorly choices on my life. Just needed a bit of courage to change everything that I was taught me to believed. For me, the truly essential is everything that I mentioned. Stability, Happiness, Courage, Determination, Positivity, and Flexibility. We will have problems all our life. We all have problems. But we need to see them as challenges. Things won't get better unless you get better first like Rob Dial (@robdialjr ) said, the creator of The Mindset & Motivation Podcast. My truly essential is my welfare. Read more
I have Trichotillomania. And most of you probably have no clue what this is. It's an ICD, closely linked to OCD and the simple explanation is: Trich makes you want to pull out your own hair - any hair on your body. For me it's mainly my eyebrows and lashes but sometimes also the hair on my arms, legs, stomach and the back of my head. I honestly have no idea why I'm doing this. Apparently some people pull when they're stressed or anxious but I do it all the time. And I can't stop. Trust me, if I could I would have done that already. But it isn't that easy. It's like having an itch that you REALLY need to scratch - often the urge is so strong that I even pick at my skin until it is bleeding. Yes, I'm hurting myself with this. I know what I'm doing is wrong and I often tell myself to JUST STOP but I still keep doing it every day. I think I've been living with this disorder for at least 6 years now. Once in 7th grade I pulled out such a big amount of my lashes that there was a noticable bald spot. A girl asked me about it, so I lied and said I had no idea what that was. But it made me realize that maybe this wasn't just some habit. Though it took me five more years until I finally did some research after my Psychology teacher had talked about hair pulling counting as self-harm. I can't control my Trich but sometimes I'm able to hold back a bit. It's hard when it comes to my eyelashes - I haven't had two complete rows of lashes for a very long time now - but as I am writing this I've been pull-free for three entire days in a row which has never happened before and I'm really proud. Maybe I'm making progress after all. Nobody else has noticed anything since 7th grade or at least I think so. I do my best to avoid situations where people might see my little scars and fresh injuries like at the public swimming pool, but it still stresses me out. I think seeing a therapist would help - but the thing is, I'd have to tell my parents first because I'm still a minor. But how do you tell your parents you've been pulling out your own hair for many years? I have no idea. I don't want to disappoint them. I really want to stop and knowing that I'm not alone helps: roughly 150-300 million people all over the world have Trichotillomania - it isn't a rare disorder. But few people know about Trich as nobody really talks about it. I myself have been too ashamed to speak up but now I want to help raise awareness because Trich is a thing. If you have it you're not a freak. It's a real mental disorder with a name, just like depression or anxiety. People should know about it so that those struggling with it don't have to hide anymore. Read more
Recently, I've come to the resolution that the reason why I'm failing to recover over the years is that, I'm so scared of not being Depressed. I have always been, and it scares me that it has become a core aspect of my personality. So I wrote this letter to my beloved, my Depression: “You are my only constant. 
You never leave my side. When all else failed, you were here to stay. You’ve always been faithful to me. We grew up together, learned about the world together. You’ve been there to catch me through every heartbreak, tough lesson and experience. You know me inside out. We traveled around together, we loved, laughed and got hurt together. You know how to give me space when I ask for it, yet you’re always watching over me. A signal is all it takes to have you back by my side, you’re never too proud to let my attempts to push you away stop you, or give in to the walls I try to build. You kept me company through nights that made sleep seem like worthless time spent away from you, and waited patiently for me when I’d sleep for half a day, refusing to come back. You’ve made it hard to love others, you made trust sound like a child’s tale. You have left your mark on all parts of me, on all of the persons I once thought I were. You’ve become the lens I see the world through. I’ve known no stronger impact than that of yours. I’m grateful for it all. I mean it when I say that I love you, and that it scares me to picture a world of mine without you in it. You’re part of me, all of me. But you see, I’ve grown to learn that there is more out there, and it’s suffocating me to think of all that I’ve missed out on as I cling in fear to you. I’ve recently learned about possibilities and hope, and I have to say, I’m intrigued. This is a kind request for you to let me go. I know how hard it is, and trust me when I say that it is no easier on me. But I think it’s about time we separate. I want to grow, live and get to meet my wholest self. And I’m afraid I cannot embark on this journey with you along. I need to find out for myself how it’s like to be alone, free of the shackles of you. I know you will never stop trying to reach out, and I know that I’d be lured by the familiarity of you and everything we’ve been through. But I pray to all the Gods out there that I eventually find the strength in me to resist thinking of you, every time I fidget in my bed at 4am. I pray that the life I strive for would reveal to me your true colors. Truth is, you’ve stuck yourself to me like a leach, sucking the life out of me. Telling me that I cannot exist without you, hypnotizing me, paralyzing me. But I refuse to longer let you. You see, it is me who is in control now.” Read more
I come from a broken family. My "real" father left me and my siblings at a young age. My mother had no means to support us. She grew up thinking that getting married was the only way to be supported. She dated various men that I later came to find out had been inappropriate to my sister but she hadn't really done much to solve those situations. Later after truly not being able to support her kids she had left myself and siblings with our grandparents. Who also were not equipped to raise these lost children. In that time she had met my now step dad. We later came back to meet him and he was not a pleasant man who had no idea how to be a father or raise children and made zero effort to learn how to. He would later molest me for years. At first I had no idea what was going on but later it had spiraled into something I had no control over. Knowing if this man left our family, we would all find ourselves again in a financial and broken family. At times I felt like I had to take one for the team and for my Mom. My mom had her suspicions and confronted me but I was ashamed, afraid, alone. I set myself financially, graduated college and left the horrible home I was in where I was told what to do well into my early 20's. This man is still in my Mother's life in my life. I had put the secret away made amends with it. So I thought. I married, have a child and now so many buried feelings have resurfaced. I have never told a soul. I don't know what will happen if I do. I will feel more distraught but I cannot open this deep secret. It will destroy me I am too weak and again must keep silent. Read more
Chaotic it was. Being here and there, bouncing my mind around. Pushing my brain to work at it’s peak. Well, it’s good keeping me, my mind, and it’s shadow busy. Chaos, but somehow feels alive. We’re all good in chaos. Even i wonder, how could it flows so smoothly. But then, wondering is sometimes a bad idea. You start wondering, and it’s start to become so real. You fear of something that haven’t happened yet, something that might or might never happened. They said. Bad news for me! For when i start wondering, things will most likely to be happened. I’m afraid of what if, plenty of what if. What if something’s goes wrong, what if i gone berserk and ruined everything, what if , what if, and more what if. I should’ve take it as a warning, since my mind and all of it’s associate never fails me. Brace yourself! The hard wind is coming, everything will starts coming apart and darkness may fall upon you soon. And in the end, we’re all alone. It's not that i'm giving up now, i refuse to be dead but i'm barely living. And deep down, i'm longing for the time to come. That time when everything suddenly snap into nothing, and i have nothing to worry about. Cause for me, it's not about getting over this issues. It's how we get used to 'it' and learn how to live with 'it' until we become the darkness it self. BUT SERIOUSLY THO, WHY IT HAS TO BE THIS HARD? AND HOW COULD THIS SILENCE BE SO LOUD? REALLY? NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRIED TO FIGHT IT, IT ALWAYS FOUND A WAY BACK TO ME. CAN WE JUST BE DONE ALREADY? Read more
Almost two years later I learned that it was my body fat percentage that lead me to anxiety and depression. Yes, and little did I knew about it, physical health not always looks the same in everybody. I have always struggled with body image issues (I still do), but ever since middle school I discovered that my body could do so much more than looking good, so I escaped that fear with sports, they gave me confidence and self love. Being a runner means making "sacrifices" to achieve goals, so two years ago I started going to a nutritionist to "perform better", the problem was, he was not professional and lead my body to consume it self and me to a crisis that almost ended in a terrible suicide. Did you know that having so little fat percentage leads to anxiety and depression? I didn't. I got really sick, sad, I had no energy, and I wanted just to stop breathing. I have had panic attacks, a lot of them, but that day was different, the fear disappeared, and the sadness was much deeper, I called my dad and told him I wanted just to stop living, but that I also needed help. So I drove myself to him, crying and hoping for a crash, but kept going. He took me to the psychiatrist who gave me Clonazepam, and we started my recovery. My family wouldn't understand, cause "I had everything", so why was I so sad? Latter on I took on AD, took me a year, and a stupidly shit load of money (mental health should be accesible to all), a lot of therapy and family discussions, but I am finally out, and determined to stay far away from there. So probably the lesson I learned, is that my body does much more than looking good and running, it holds me. Read more
 Alternative grief noun: grief intense sorrow, especially caused by someone's death. "she was overcome with grief" My name is Liz. I am a 27 year old mental health nurse and in my personal and professional experience, I feel that we do not have to be exposed to a death to feel all the emotions associated with ‘grief’. When a friend, partner or family member dies, grief can be devastating, life changing and in some cases all consuming. Despite this, it is not death I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to shine a light on other life shattering events that can cause us to grieve. The end of a relationship One of my friends once told me that she cried more over her relationship of 7 years which had broken down than she did when her grandmother died. I could hear the guilt in her voice as she told me, expecting to be judged for such a revelation. So why is it that we feel so guilty for grieving the loss of a relationship? You lose the person that you have unconditionally loved for years and you are expected to carry on as normal, without a card or flower arrangement in sight. Splitting up with a partner can feel like the end of the world. For years you have confided in this one person, so who do I share my successes and my failures with now? Everyone will tell you the cliché’s, ‘hey, there are plenty more fish in the sea’ or ‘you know the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else’. In my experience, there are no right or wrongs after a break up. Do what you think is right for you right now. Find someone new to confide in, whether that is a friend, colleague, family member or support group. So please, when someone approaches you following heartbreak, remember they are grieving. They are grieving the loss of a huge part of their life. They may be feeling denial, sadness, anger or guilt. They are allowed to, let them. The one who is still there, physically One of my clients once told me that he had already grieved his wife 95% when she physically died. She had suffered with vascular dementia for 14 years, 8 of those being in a nursing home. He went to see her every week. The thing that upset him the most was not that she could no longer remember who he was but that she had no memories left. She no longer remembered their wedding day or the birth of their children, arguably the best days of her life. He had already lost his wife before she died. It is an interesting concept that someone can be physically stood in front of us however they are no longer with us in another sense. There is no one way to cope with a family member having a diagnosis of dementia. Some will go to visit every day and others will decide to stop going altogether. There is no right or wrong. Think what your family member would want, what would they have said to you and how would they want to be remembered. There are amazing support groups for family members and carers for those with a dementia diagnosis. The Alzheimer’s Society can provide on-going support. You do not have to grieve alone. The loss of self, you are scrolling through Instagram and it is late December. Everyone is attending Christmas parties, sipping mulled wine and smiling from ear to ear. So why aren’t you as happy as them? Throughout our life we will all lose ourselves at some point, something that is not reflected in the nice shiny happy pictures on social media. It is ok not to be ok. You may have lost your sense of purpose, motivation and identity throughout the year for a whole host of reasons. The feeling of losing who you are may be the one that hits the hardest. Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin is something I find hard to put into words because although it may be all mental, it feels so physical. As a society we are getting better at talking about our mental health but there are still so many barriers to break down. We need to let people know that they are not alone and that they can find themselves again. So please, if you feel that you have lost yourself and your purpose this Christmas, go talk to someone. Whether it is your GP, an online support group, your university counsellor or a mental health charity, someone is there and they care. Going into the New Year not feeling happy is not in any way reflection of how the year ahead will progress. The sun will come up, the seasons will change. Read more
I have had mental health issues since I was a kid. It started when I was about 5 or 6, I developed symptoms of encopresis, which is a disease that comes up in children when they are under too much emotional pressure. Growing up, I never saw my parents happy, they didn't show any signs of love or affection for each other. Finally, when I was 7 years old, they split up, but wouldn't get through with their divorce until I was 13 years old. During these years, I had to bear too much emotional abuse from both sides, using me as their "informant". I don't want to get into it too much, because I decided a few years back, I don't want to be judging my parents for the rest of my life. I love them and they didn't know better. But still, what they did to me fucked me up pretty good. When I was about 14, I lost about 25kgs and started starving myself, for I was being bullied before for being overweight. In my perception, I was only worth something if I fitted into society's standards. The more weight I lost, the better. At 15, I started going out and drinking alcohol. And I started having sex with a lot of strangers who took advantage of me and my terrible self conception. I experienced a lot of abuse, emotionally and physically, the years following. But I didn't recognize it back then. Through all these years, I was in therapy and started taking AD at the age of 16. I am thankful my family was supporting me on the way to healing, although talking about feelings honestly was never very easy for any of us. Since I moved to Vienna, a lot has changed. I am growing up for real. But depression doesn't just go away. I know now that it might probably always be a part of me and I'm still struggling to find ways to deal with it. But what I've learned is that it's gonna be better. I'm gonna get through these emotional events. I care deeply for myself, my mental well being and for the people around me. I'm gonna get through this. 🖤 Read more
I recently attempted suicide..and well I failed (thankfully). My main trigger for this to happen was that I let these things that shouldn't really affect me , affect me. For example: gossip, backstabbing, feeling lonely --even when you have so many people around to help you. My parents helped me through so much. I took some time off of school and started going to a therapist and meditating daily. Meditation really helped me. I'm someone who has a lot of love to give but sometimes when I don't get it back, it messes me up. I learned how to love someone unconditionally and without expecting anything in return. ALSO giving love is the best thing you can do as it helps the person you're giving the love to and it helps you gain inner peace as well. Anxiety was a really big part of this situation too , it gives you so much pain and when it gets too much you want give up 'dealing' with it. Suicide isn't about "i want to die and not live this life anymore" but instead its more about "i want to run away from all this pain my life is giving me because I can't handle it anymore". There is ALWAYS a better solution. My dad made me realize that there is a limitless list of solutions that can help you - but you need to reach out and ask for help. Asking for help is something I unfortunately didn't do and it was because I didn't want to stress my parents or make people think i'm a crazy person OR hurt anyone. The reality is that by not reaching out and eventually ending up doing something by which you could hurt yourself or take your life, the people who care about you will get hurt even more than you could ever imagine. Now, i'm not trying to make you feel guilty about having suicidal tendencies (its okay) but i am trying to say that it's not the best way out because there are a million more ways you can escape or overcome whatever you are going through. Your life is going to get better and there is always hope. Distract yourself or if you're into meditation then meditate because trust me this always helps. Please just give your life another chance. Keep living. Read more
3 months after my third child was born I developed post-partum depression. At first, I did not know what was wrong with me. I suddenly felt so different and definitely not normal. It was such a new, abysmal feeling that I thought there must be something physically or physiologically wrong with me. I talked with my OB-GYN and she ordered several blood tests. They all came back in normal range, so I had to accept that this feeling was psychological - which I did not want to do because just the idea of postpartum depression did not fit with who I felt I was (my only understanding of clinical postpartum depression was hearing about mothers who had committed murder, etc). I was feeling no energy, a lack of hope and bizarre fears of elderly people and strangers. I began to obsess on thoughts: thoughts of how nature works down to the tiniest atoms. I obsessed on the blackness after death. I imagined horrific things happening to my family. I regularly felt no hope- just blackness, and fear. Time felt different, too -- both faster and slower than I had ever experienced. I was scared to be alone. I was scared to go out. I was extremely worried about my children. I remember wishing to feel normal again - to just worry about insignificant things again. I started to see a therapist who diagnosed me with postpartum depression. She suggested medication, but it scared me (of course it did - because everything was scary to me). As I talked with her and shared my 'shameful', erratic thoughts I began to feel better. My husband also asked me to share "what I was squirreling on" (ruminating over) and even though I knew my thoughts were silly, I shared them. I began to share my experiences with friends and family. I felt like I couldn't possibly hide that I was miserable, so I prefaced most conversations with "I am kinda struggling". There were many times when people did not know what to say because most of us are not used to honest answers to "how are you doing?". Someone mentioned to me that it can take a while to get over depression - this was very helpful to me as it gave me more patience to ride it out. I developed an exercise routine that included a lot of cardiovascular routines....this helped my outlook tremendously (probably what meds would have done). Sharing my thoughts (no matter how bizarre or horrific), working out, and time were what helped me heal and work through it. I began to feel "normal" again and to worry about insignificant things again - my measure for normalcy. That was 18 years ago, and since then I have revisited similarly feeling episodes. There are still times where I feel the blackness sitting there...but I know I need to share, work out or be patient because I know I will feel better again. I feel lucky to have had these experiences as I believe we can never get too far away appreciating a 'good' mental state. That state is vulnerable and fragile - and it is to be respected. Read more
Dear Jessica, I went to the doctor this morning for some oesophagus issue. Yes, it's uncommon. I had to google "body anatomy" to figure out what was the name of this part of my body that was aching. Anyway, the doctor said it was due to anxiety. My physio also told me that my neck and back issues are linked to my anxiety. So not only is it messing up with my brain, but also with my body. And it's exhausting. I had my first anxiety attack when I was 12. My parents have never been too supportive. I think my father is scared for me, and doesn't know how to help. So he just ignores it. I saw a bunch of different psychologist from 12 to 28. Until I got really depressed. My panick attacks had gotten so bad that leaving my house was hard. So I turned to a nurse, who, I think, finally diagnosed what was "wrong" with me. She recommended a psychologist, who, within 50 minutes, read me and told me I was going to be ok. She is the first doctor I met, who never under-estimated my mental health issues and who had a plan to help me fix them. That was a liberating moment in my life. I still struggle everyday. But at least, there is a name on my issues, and people can help me. It is still hard for me to discuss my mental health with my friends and family. Especially when I don't feel fine. I don't want to be a burden to people. I don't want to be the one always complaining. It tends to be a lonely disease, because invisible. This summer, I took a trip to London. I can finally leave my house, travel, do all the things I love and missed for the last years. I posted something on social media about my fight and how happy I was to be traveling again. The feedbacks were awesome. Lots of hearts filled my DM. I realized people are sensitive to mental health issues, and more people than we think are facing them as well. I don't really have an ending to this email. Except that I hope the stigmas around mental health issues will disappear. I am hoping for less loneliness, more open talks and open hearts. Thank you for creating this project! Best, Audrey Read more
The first time I experienced any form of mental health problems I was around 14 , after walking to a shop to pick up a takeaway with my older sister for the rest of the family, on the way home we were mugged which triggered my journey on that has turned out to be a long road to recovery. From this point onwards I suffered with mild anxiety,getting twitchy in big crowds, feeling nautious and sudden changes in mood and also the thoughts of not being able to breathe and swallow. This continues for a few years and until recently I thought the years that followed I was convinced I hadn't been suffering at all until my most recent journey along the road of anxiety and depression began, I was struggling to eat and drink, i don't leave the house for around a month, I refused to be alone, because the thought of being alone made me feel as if something terrible might happen, my irrational mind would just run wild , resulting in me ringing family members in the early hours of the morning and my chest what tighten ad I would struggle to breathe. As a 27 year old male, I have had 27 years of the media and people you meet almost conditioning you into feeling that being a "man " meant you had to be strong and not to cry or show emotions, it makes it hard and makes you feel embarrassed that you are unable to be what in many cases can be expected of you. Working in the building trade and trying to explain this to your boss is not easy, but I was honest and opened up about how I had felt and was feeling and although to start with it did not go down well , but with continued communication and updates, the situation calmed and he began to understand. I am now on medication morning and night which has helped me to sleep properly and I have regained my appetite and leaving the house by myself and doing the things I'd always liked to do, the medication doesn't just completely get rid of all the things I was suffering with, it has calmed them allowing me too control them and learn to deal with them. I have also taken up running which I have found helps me too control my breathing when my heart is racing and it helps to stop the feeling of cabin fever subside and helps release any excess energy the medication may cause. I feel now that no matter how you feel whether it's mild or a severe struggle with mental health , to talk to anyone that's asks or anyone you feel will understand is such a massive help and releases what feels like a massive pressure off of you , if people don't understand they're ignorant or simply are one of the lucky ones that has never experienced any mental health issues. Continue the journey together talking and sharing put feelings and we shall get to the other side stronger than ever . Lets keep talking Read more
To be perfectly honest, I think that I've always had anxiety. I can't ever remember a time when I wasn't worrying. I was never just a small type of worry either; it was always one of those "omg-I've-messed-up-so-badly-how-do-I-fix-it" type of worries. I would obsess, panic, and drive myself absolutely insane thinking of everything could go wrong. I never felt as if I could talk about it with anyone, mostly because mental problems "don't exist" and are highly stigmatized in my culture. It definitely didn't help in my teens and early 20s. Those worries allowed me to get peer pressured into things I didn't want to do and I often turned to drinking as a way to calm myself. It was always a temporary fix though, because I'd still feel the same panicked feeling when I sobered up. After going through a particularly traumatic experience, I fell into a deep depression and didn't leave my house for more than a month. I could't go to work or even run basic errands; nothing felt safe. I remember attempting to go to a grocery store and having a panic attack. My chest felt like it was going to explode from how fast my heart was beating, I couldn't breathe, and I threw up in the bathroom. The anxiety got worse from there, keeping me from sleeping and messing with my cycle. After a while, I looked in the mirror and realized that I didn't even recognize myself. I needed help and I couldn't do this on my own. I found a therapist, who eventually diagnosed me with PTSD (from the traumatic incident) and general anxiety disorder. Therapy was difficult, mostly because talking about what was going on inside my head felt so shameful. I felt like my problems were so minuscule, but they were affecting me in such a dramatic way. I have a thing about really not ever wanting to inconvenience someone, so I normally keep things to myself and try to deal with them on my own. However, my therapist helped me to realize that there is more strength in seeking help and that no one can truly do everything on their own. Through the sessions (it's been about two years since I started going to therapy), I think that I've gotten better. I can go to work, I socialize a bit better, and I started working out regularly. I've got a long way to go, but everything feels less lonely. Read more
I've been dealing with anxiety for the past seven years, but it wasn't until six months ago that I decided to seriously do something about it. It had gotten to such a point that I couldn't function on a day to day basis. Everything scared me. It's like I was walking through a nightmare, waiting for something to get me, feeling the dread and weight of some unnameable impending doom. I started therapy. Things were immediately better. And then they were immediately worse. Anxiety is this strange shape shifter that latches on to whatever it can to stay alive in your mind. It doesn’t matter what it is; illness, loneliness, insanity, phone calls, speaking, small spaces, meetings, even existence itself. Once you conquer one issue, it grabs onto another. My anxiety has found a way to make a problem out of everything, and out of nothing. I am constantly looking to solve some nonexistent problem that my mind has created. As much as I’m being honest, I have to be even more honest and tell you how much better things are now. Therapy has helped me SO MUCH. I cannot explain to you how much it has helped. I am so much stronger now than I’ve ever been. Therapy is something people think is a nice luxury: getting to lay on a couch and complain about all the little dramas in your life. People don’t understand how therapy is a necessity and is the hardest work you’ll ever do. It requires everything of you. You are never not working on your therapy, because you’re never not thinking, feeling, existing. If nothing else, I am so proud of myself for being strong enough to stick with this process and know that I am better than this monster that happens to share the same mind that I do. To everyone out there reading this, know there is always hope and that you are so much stronger than you could ever possibly imagine. You have all the courage, potential, will power, and determination to move through whatever it is that you are dealt with. Read more
I don't remember a time in my life were I didn't feel lonely and suicidal.Ive been diagnosed by a phycologist and therapist with Major depression disorder and generalised anxiety. I can remember as far back as second grade when my parents were about to get a divorce and I thought, it's all my fault. Every failure in my life, in my parents and friends life, it was all my fault.I remember feeling like I had the responsibility to take care of my younger brother at the time (I was 13) because my parents marriage was in shambles and as a form of punishment (as I saw it) was to myself I forced myself to take on the duty of being a mother figure to my brother.At that time in my life my world became dark and violent. I never told anyone about my problems, about how I would cut myself because I truly believed that I was a horrible person.I have attempted many unsecsefull suicide attempts through out the years (thank God). It wasn't untill I was in the 8th grade when I had cut myself on both wrists and watched blood just pour out of my veins and cried hysterically on the floor that my mother found me and called 911.That moment of rock bottom was what saved me and lead me to see a phycologist and therapist who told my parents to watch me like a hawk. They were so upset that they thought I was alone with my mental illness and we're so supportive beyond words.In all honesty if my mother wasn't home at the time I would of bled out and possibly of died that day. I take my medication as perscribed and have definitely seen my life in a new light. My mother is my rock and I'm so great full for her, my dad, and friends for understanding who I am. I am NOT my mental illness. I am Kelsey and I am strong!! Read more
I'm a 22 year old from Norfolk, UK. I openly suffer with severe depression and anxiety with further diagnosis pending. My story is a unique one, I am both a person who has survived a suicide attempt and turned my life into the one I dreamt of and never thought possible but I am also the daughter of a suicide victim, my father died in 2014 when I was 18 and he was the kindest man, he also did lots of work to prevent suicide and gave everyone mental health support, even the prisoners he looked after. For a long time I was abusing substances and sex, I was very ill but refused to admit it and I didn't want help because I was scared and felt alone, I lost track of who I was and found it easier to pretend to be someone else than admit that I needed help and maybe my life needs to change. I am now married, moved out and have a little dog, all things I never thought I would have. I am a growing mental health advocate on twitter (@CUnderwoodUK), have written a book on my fathers suicide, not as a self help but to provide a friend to those bereaved by suicide as there is not much help out there and it is lonely. I blog often a few times a week (charlotteunderwoodauthor.wordpress.com) and have recently started writing poetry. I have found that a mixture of learning self respect and saying no, following my own path, dreams and goals, bouncing on my trampoline in my living room (You can't help but smile when bouncing) and writing daily, has helped me miles in my recovery. I am on medication, I'm on my third and fourth one and they help, though they don't make me different, they just prevent a crisis, I see my GP monthly so we can both keep and eye on my mood and prevent risks and finally, after 8 years of pressing for more support, I am going to receive CBT, Trauma Therapy and Bereavement counseling, I am so excited to start and I am confident that I am going to be able to live a life where I am no longer shackled by my illness, there is no cure, that's true but between helping myself and the help from mental health, I know I will manage it. My only goal now, my passion and dream, is to carve a world where stigma is gone, where there is more support and treatment options from mental health and where suicide no longer becomes such a ever growing cause of death. I have purpose and this dream and it gives me every desire to fight for this till I'm 100. I'd love to write a blog post for you, as my story is certainly one of hope. -- With Best Wishes, Charlotte Underwood Mental Health Advocate and Author Read more
Marcie L.
In 5th grade I moved to OGS from Woodland. I had a difficult time “fitting in”. It was hard to make friends and feel comfortable with teachers. So I pushed everyone away. I didn’t want help. Well I thought I didn’t need it. So of course my grades went DOWN. I was disappointed in myself for every bad grade. I was so disappointed that I wanted to punish myself. I started to pinch myself multiple times a day. That wasn’t enough. So I tried a method called “Self-Harming”. It’s basically where you cut yourself. And one night, I went to my kitchen, and pulled out this blue handle kitchen knife and I started to cut. There was blood. I had to clean the spot and the knife so my family wouldn’t suspect anything. I continued to do this until one of my friends saw my wrist and told a teacher. The teacher told the social workers and then told my mom. I felt miserable. I was even more disappointed that I wanted to commit suicide. I tried several times. My mom caught me on my last try, that was my last one.  I finally got the help that I needed. I got help from the social workers, family, and friends and I’ve been coping with my anxiety and depression without harming my body. I did not push everyone away. I’ve never felt so proud. I was so happy to find out I was improving on my mental illness. And today I am so proud that I have changed. I am glad that I’m not the person I was 2 years ago. And I am thankful that my friend told the teacher because without all the help, I wouldn’t be breathing today, Thank You. Read more
For a long time I felt uncomfortable everywhere I go because of my mental illness. Ever since I was diagnosed (at 14) I felt an instant change in the people around me. It's like I wasn't the girl that everybody knew me to be. It really hurt me that the people that I love and are supposed to love me back would really view me so differently... because I have a disorder. I just don't get that. And it's so hard for me because ever since, I've been treated differently. I'm still the same Eryssa. I'm still the same girl that laughs and likes to have fun. I'm still the same girl that loves to go out and make friends. I'm still the same me. And I am no different from you. This applies to everybody. No matter who you are, and no matter what you have going on, we are all one and the same. And there is no arguing that. We share this big green earth together. And mental illness might not affect all of us, but mental health* affects every one of us, oh yes. Why? Because we all want the same thing: we all just want to be happy. Every day each and every one of us wakes up in the morning and try to fight for a good day. As we should. So don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day... having a mental illness is so fun, and I know that. I truly understand. I've seen dark days. So if you are going through a hard time right now, just know that there is a community of people like you going through similar things as you and that you are not alone. And I know that that whole "it gets better" ordeal is annoying. It really is. Because the truth is, yeah it will get better eventually, but guess what sweetheart... it does not get better on its own. Fight for more. Fight for that good day that you want so bad. You deserve it. You deserve the best things in life. And when you find the courage to put that work in, just know that I, Eryssa from Richmond, is so very proud of you. Read more
The Sad Effect
Last year I moved to a completely new town and besides, to a new country. To a place where people barely greet each other and where the wind blows so hard that you never see the sky out of those heavy and grey clouds. Pretty helpful for any mental issue, huh? Everything started falling apart. I would get myself out of bed at 2PM. When I looked at the mirror I felt like it was not me. Like it was someone else in my body. I stared deeply into my own eyes and I could not recognize them. I would do my dishes, or to be exact, the dishes that where necessary to do if I wanted to eat a yogurt. You can imagine how much work that means. But those days where the good ones. At least I was eating. Usually the dirty dishes were waiting for me for a week or two. Thinking back, I don`t think I even noticed the sink and kitchen table being that much of a mess. I just could not care less. There where days I suddenly got scared cause I had not been eating for four to five days. When that happened the little light in my brain would shout the orders again; you need to eat, normal people do eat. So I did. I wanted to feel normal. Fake it until you make it, they say.  Staring the clothes rack in my tiny studio I guessed that the clothes had been hanging there for a month. I kept my curtains down because I felt anxious again. What do my neighbours think of me? Curtains were down all day long and the light was still switched on at 2AM in my studio. I was scared leaving the house for groceries. The cashier would see it from my eyes that I had not been sleeping well for ages and there must me something in me telling her that I was not doing well. That I was not normal. Rather sick but not in a way people think we are sick. My nose was not running, there was no broken leg. Was it all in my head or would people see it too? I was becoming crazy. My mind was not with me. We were like two separate things. My mind was taking the lead and my body was following like a puppy. But the leader was crazy. Or lost herself.  Then the anxiety hit me again. What if I died in the studio in the middle of that mess and dirty dishes? People would figure things out; she was not normal. The worst case scenario was that the truth would be discovered by my family. So I immediately started cleaning up the studio. If there was a knock on the door, at least the visitor thought I was normal. A positive thing about my anxiety and depression is that to me it appears that when depression walks in and takes the lead, anxiety will pull me out of it somehow and vice versa. I still do not know which one is the worse leader. Love, X Read more
Brianna Parcell
People think depression is sadness. People think depression is crying. People think depression is being “emo” or dressing in black and being a moody loner. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. Being numb to emotions, being numb to change, and the world around you. Being blind to everything that is beautiful, important, and unique about you.You feel nothing, and everything is gone, but the emptiness still feels heavy, and the silence is too loud. Even the simplest tasks become painful, and things that used to bring you joy are worthless.You begin to lack motivation because why would you keep on trying if it means nothing? When you start to believe that life won’t go on for you, you suddenly stop caring for yourself. Sometimes the most joyful and confident looking people are hurting the most.You wake up in the morning and just want to go back to bed, but then once you try to sleep the thoughts keep you awake, and you lay for hours either crying or staring at the ceiling, leaving you feeling empty. The emotional distress of this state tires you physically. Everybody just pushes away the uncomfortable conversation of how you are doing because they only want to think about your future. But how am I suppose to worry about a future if I don't know for sure that I will even survive through tonight? Days don't feel meaningful; they are just annoying obstacles that need to be faced. And how do you face them? Through medication, through doubt, through drinking, through drugs, through cutting. Self-harm is a way of expressing your self-shame on your own body; almost like punishing yourself for being this way. While it can simultaneously release all of the pain that builds up inside from the external and internal hate. It can be a punishment, while it also makes you feel better and begins to cradle and comfort you in these times. Every cut lets out all of the tears and pain that build up in your throat making you unable to breathe or think.Then there is one cut that goes too deep, and maybe you weren’t ready, or perhaps you let it happen, and you are free from the fight. Words always hurt, and we have scars to prove it. But then you feel like you cannot hide your story when it is carved into your body and engraved into your skin, so the whole world knows, “oh, watch out, she is unstable, and she must be a sad girl.” When you’re depressed, you grasp onto anything that can get you through the days, which are filled with the words “slut” “dumb” and “ugly,” and to make it worse, the people saying this is who you thought were your friends and supporting peers.Then when you stand up for yourself, they brush it off saying it was a joke and that you are too sensitive.The vicious cycle of trying to be strong, getting shut down, and then feeling like the only way to cope is to take it out on yourself, never stops. When in this state of mind you feel as if you have a million people that you can tell, but not enough that listen. When they may be “listening” nobody knows what to say or how to respond to the heaviness. Why am I blaming myself for what you said? Well, you should have thought of that before you opened your mouth.The most interesting thing is that these days it is funny to tell people to kill themselves as a “joke.” Really? Are you serious? You are so funny! Take a trip to the hospital and tell the kids on the 6th floor with scars up their arms and liver damage your jokes. Depression is like watering flowers that are already dead. Depression is like the rotting flesh hiding underneath the soft, pretty velvet. It is a suffering so profound it will never show; I'm dying, and they will never know until I’m lying 50 stories below all they are gonna have to say is “what a shame, she was so beautiful.” This is not a choice; it is a plague and a disease that has no at-home remedy. It is impossible just to flip a switch and be happy and see the world in color again, which is what most people that you open up to ask you to do, assuming it is that simple.That’s what depression is, not sadness or tears; it’s the overwhelming sense of numbness and insignificance through all aspects of life.The whole world seems like it hates you, and convinces you to hate yourself too. Read more
I have had a long, tumultuous relationship with mental health issues. I come from a family that has, on more than one occasion, dealt with mental health issues, unexpected loss and subsequent post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and addictions. One of my two brothers died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of thirteen, many years ago. Our whole family naturally struggled with this loss.

It took years of battling the feelings of bitterness, anger and regret that came with losing a brother and son to start to feel okay again.  Just when things seemed to be looking up for my family, my second brother began to struggle tremendously.  He never properly dealt with his own mental health issues (Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, depression) and never fully faced the great loss within our family.  His life began to crumble privately and it became easier for him to silently escape the pain, medicated by whatever drugs he could get his hands on.  Not many of his closest friends even knew anything was wrong.

He confided in me and finally sought help after losing a life of normalcy, routine and happiness to his depression.  For several months he succeeded.  He worked tirelessly to maintain his sobriety and honesty.  It was beautiful to see somebody who had so long lived a lie shed his façade of happiness, and allow his raw self to be exposed.  It was hard on him, because his true self wasn't the beaming ray of sunshine most knew him to be.  Learning that he could face the rain, and that he didn’t have to walk through the storm alone, was everything.  It was a long, bumpy road to a recovery that he so desperately wanted.

Then, the worst thing that can happen to a family happened a second time: my brother relapsed and overdosed.  By 25, I has lost both of my siblings. My family devastated, forever changed, and completely broken. Watching my parents suffer with their terrible, unthinkable loss, and dealing with my own was too much. I didn't know how to handle my deep desire to go on living a "normal" life for them despite my deep sadness. 

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I liked to be nice. Or I thought I did. I was only raised to be nice, to be good. To everyone. Soon, that became all that mattered, but I didn't notice. I was supposed to be a role model who didn't care what anyone thought, and who was nice to everyone. The good girl, with my own little rebel side of it. I thought I was strong because I sometimes was considered weird, but I didn't care. As long as I was nice and never disappointed anyone. When I was 14 it slowly started to tire me. I tried to help people with depression or other problems by texting and listening to them. Without me noticing, I got depressed as well. I didn't manage school, sleep and other peoples problems and at the same time my own. I started to hurt myself 2-3 years ago, but the depression got more real 2 years ago, but I denied it. It couldn't be, I was just feeling sorry for myself. My dad has been fighting with depression since I was born and a little earlier, because he worked too much, he "crashed". So me being depressed couldn't exist, or at least that's what I thought. It made it even worse. I wanted to tell people, my parents, but I thought I couldn't and that suffocated me. I was depressed, suicidal and a cutter last fall. Then I finally told my parents about it. It was the scariest thing I've ever done, but I'm glad I did. Also, I went to school part time to regain some energy. I've seen a psychiatrist for a couple of months and it has helped me in a few ways. Sure, I'm nowhere near fine, but I've sen some changes. Mental health is shit, and some people go through so much. But no one on earth deserves it, and it shouldn't be such a shocking big deal to talk about. Read more
“Heal thyself doctor. Heal thyself doctor. Heal thyself doctor.”

As I sat in a packed room with 80 other newly-minted medical doctors, this was the phrase that kept playing over and over in my head. I’m sure many people have heard this quote before. What were the origins of the reference for me? A line from the much maligned sci-fi film “Supernova,” starring Angela Bassett and James Spader. The image of the two actors inexplicably reverberated in my mind as I sat in my hyper-vigilant state.

I should have left. I should have gone to the bathroom to regroup. But I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. In fact, the only coherent thought that I could muster was the decidedly accusatory and increasingly anxiety provoking mantra, “Heal thyself doctor.” It felt like a cruel joke my brain was playing, considering the circumstances.

I was a first-year psychiatry resident, feeling my resolve crumbling before I’d even gotten a chance to put a crease in my freshly starched white coat. I felt like a fraud. How could I help others when I couldn’t stop gripping the arms of my chair, trying to inconspicuously perform breathing exercises? Who was I kidding?

I remember being at work one day and my senior resident mentioning that two medical residents at a New York City training program had jumped to their deaths in the same number of weeks. I remember feeling scared. I wish I could say that these tragic incidents influenced me to seek help, but they didn’t. In fact, I recall justifying not seeking help by telling myself, “I wouldn’t do that. I’m not that bad. Besides, I just don’t have the time.”

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For so long I'd felt uneasy, as if the tiniest thing would make me explode into a thousand tears, at only the age of fourteen I felt compelled to lock myself away from the outside world.  At the age of fourteen you'd be expected to be in moods for a few hours, not a few weeks. A few month before my fifteenth birthday I was diagnosed. I felt like a failure. Even after being put on medication I still didn't believe that I could have an illness. Then I began sinking, my thoughts began pushing me down, I had no one but myself, my boyfriend at the time shared a big part of my health and took up a large amount of my problems , but I shut him out. I had to. he needed to get away from me. I wasn't going to last long, not relationship wise but mentally. I could feel myself weakening, suffering, each night I spent alone in bed I sunk further and further into illness. I needed something but I didn't know what, I dragged a blade accross my wrist and I liked it, it gave me a sense of security, a release, an ease. But it began becoming persistent I couldn't go 5 hours without harming myself, hospital trips and having my own set of cleaning products and bandages at home didn't bother me in the slightest. It was when I stayed at my grandparents and all of the cutlery and prescripted medication was locked away that I realised what I was doing to myself and others around me. I'd noticed I was blinded by my thoughts, I glanced down at my thighs and saw the damage, I have scars that will never fade and that will always be stared at by strangers. I frowned upon myself, I was disgusted I had let myself go into the storm my mind had made, thinking this would have changed my life around and forced me to stop letting the pain I was in get to me it didn't. Unfortunately for those who were around to witness it I got worse, after slicing my wrist open and lying in a pool of my own blood only a week after my last suicide attempt of an overdose, I was put on high security with a higher, different dose of anti depressants and the nhs at my home 4 times a week not including group dbt therapy. There was talk of staying in a psychiatric unit not far from where I live, but I decided to make myself go numb. Instead of dealing with my thoughts the way I had been i didn't think at all , I barely spoke , I didn't eat and i never left the house. although all of that didn't help my mental state it still made the situation better as staying in a psychiatric ward alone scared me so much. I stayed like that for months, until my medication got upped and I began to feel a change in myself. Having severe major depression sucks as well as being on a strong dose of antidepressants and having mental health services at your door 4 times a week, but my eyes were opened and i began using my skills I'd leaned from CAMHS to be mindful , not long before my 16th birthday my cousin was involved in an accident which lead to her death, she drowned, a freak wave no one could have done anything about, ever since I've been told that it should have opened my eyes to how amazing life was and too appreciate it , I thought maybe if you told this to an alcoholic or some kid that's constantly getting arrested that would have opened their eyes but for some reason it didn't for me , I'm not sure if it's because Im off my face on my happy tablets or I was just ungrateful but it made me want to end everything sooner, In my head I was told that because everyone was already devastated I may as well do it then so no one had to suffer at a different time, then I had a talk with my grandparents, my psychiatrist, my care coordinator and my mam and for someone like me that was slightly abnormal, I then began feeling guilty and was tempted to go back down the dark road id just took a left turn off, I'd began planning, and looking for sharp things, but then I remembered I'm too stubborn to stoop to the level I once had been, I sat myself down and had a talk with myself and said "fuck that". I'd realized that as my cousin had died I didn't realize I was close to dying too, drowning, in my own thoughts, they'd come over me like a tidal wave, I was helpless, I couldn't swim. how the hell can you swim when the water your drowning in is your own mind?! I grabbed pens, the brightest colors, some paper, made myself a coffee and made a plan, this year I'm coming off my anti-depressants, this year I'm getting discharged from CAMHS, and this year I'm staying away from the water in my head, I'm putting barriers up, my waves might push me over, might get my clothes wet but I'm not letting them take my life, I'm currently in remission, and now I've realized not only do i need to do this for myself I need to do this for her. Read more
Alexis Kahn
My depression started when I was thirteen years old. That was the year my adoptive mom, who had raised me from the age of four, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm.

I remember the months that followed all too clearly. I would watch the video they played at her funeral over and over just to see her face. I started having trouble sleeping; sometimes I woke up with my face drenched in tears while I shook uncontrollably. I started to hate myself and wish that I had died in her place, because she was such a wonderful person and so many people loved her while I felt forgotten and unloved.

Not long afterward, my adoptive dad invited his girlfriend to move in, and she instantly hated my two younger siblings and I. Suddenly, my adoptive dad changed. Instead of being our loving best friend and protector who did everything with us, he joined her in verbally and emotionally abusing us daily. When I was fourteen, the physical abuse started. No one knew about the welts on our backs from horse whips or the black and blue marks across our butts, legs, and lower backs from the thick boards they made. We did a good job of hiding it.

Then, with all of that, he gradually started to get me alone. At first it was small things, like a comment here, or a brush against me there, but it soon escalated to climbing into bed with me and night and forcing himself on me while daring me to say a peep. That went on for over a year. I was too afraid to say anything because I knew that it would be a “he said, she said” ordeal; he was so careful that I would never have enough evidence to prove anything.

When my adoptive dad started molesting me I started cutting myself, purging, and thinking constantly about suicide. Sometimes I felt so empty and numb, but panic attacks would release all those bottled up emotions. I cut about three times a week, on my left wrist mainly from my inner wrist all the way to my elbow, but also my hips, my inner thighs, and even my chest, just to feel and feel like I was still in control of something. Whenever my cuts started to heal, I'd cut again. I couldn't stand it if they left me too, I needed them. I believed I deserved the treatment I was giving myself. I thought about suicide almost everyday. I hated myself and was so confused as to why I was handed such an awful life when I use to consider myself a good person.

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I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress disorder 5 years ago; when my therapist told me about it, I felt relief, and at the same time, I felt doomed. I remember being in and out of therapy for about 6 months prior to my diagnosis; 6 months of wandering, just to get lost again. I thought that if I was brave and strong enough, I could just "get over it". Or maybe just forget it. Just for one, two minutes. Stop thinking about it. Stop having nightmares about it. My friends and I used to go to the movies a lot. All of a sudden, I wasn't going to parties, missed classes, started giving cheap excuses in order to avoid my friends... When my mother started noticing my avoidant and self-destructive behaviour, she tried talking with me. It just didn't work out. She eventually got frustrated, and finally lost it when she entered my room while I was having my first panic attack and she discovered my bad self-harm habits. That's when I started my last therapy, in which I was told that PTSD and social anxiety actually exist. I felt relief because I finally found out about my illnesses, and the mere fact that they were actual illnesses made that relief even greater; as for the doomed part, I was just afraid that others would tag or make fun of me (that is, if they found out about it). During the first years, I remember crying myself to sleep just asking "why me?". I spent so much time thinking about my past, about what happened; I forgot who I was. And although my future seemed brighter thanks to therapy, I felt lost. One day, my therapist told me: "does it really matter, though? Not being able to remember who you were. It is scary, yes; but where you come from - your past - there's so much pain, and there's a reason why you can't remember. Instead of being angry or sad about it, why not focusing on the present? Who are you? How are you? Work from there, and I promise you: it gets better".  So, for anyone out there who needs reassurance: it gets better! Read more
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. This statistic makes me sick. I am a 16 year old girl who takes antidepressants.I don't care who you are, but no one deserves to suffer from anxiety and/or depression. The sleepless nights, the passing out, the awkwardness while being around people. I hate to make this all about me. Society has done nothing but degrade people and convince them that it’s not okay. The truth of the matter is that it IS okay to not be okay. What’s not okay is to refuse help. Whether it be from your mother, your brother, your father, or your psychiatrist. You have to embrace that are in fact people that want to help you. To me it seemed inevitable. All I could think was,"If I can't help myself, then how could they possibly help me?" For months I would cry myself to sleep. All I could wonder was how or what I did to deserve this. It all seemed so random. People would ask me if I was "okay" and I would simply give an awkward, "Yeah, I’m fine!" It wasn't until I had a what seemed to be typical random panic attack in the backseat of a friends car to realize that I wasn't okay. When we got to her house, she didn’t know I was crying. When we got downstairs, something made her realize, possibly my awkwardness and avoiding looking at her or her parents in the eyes. She looked me in the eyes and said, "Hey. I know you're not okay." and hugged me and we cried. I'll give you the backstory. The previous weeks were rough and painful. I passed out twice from what I presumed to be anxiety attacks, which were becoming way too common for me. The worst part is that I still continued to believe and tell people that I was fine. These were lies. Nothing about me at this point in my life was normal. The inconsistent and sparse eating, the difficulty breathing, losing 15 pounds, passing out and not telling anybody, the extreme running and working out. I would not wish any of these on my worst enemy. I felt as if no one cared for me. While this is still a recurring issue in my life to date, I am living proof that things get better. Some days are not okay, but it’s encouraged to relish in the small victories that you experience on a day to day basis. Due to divine control, medicine, or whatever you choose to believe, I guarantee you that life is worth living. If you or anyone you know do not believe this for even a millisecond, please do whatever is in your power to seek help or feel better. Read more
Kayla Michelle Bowman
As a young child, I always felt a little different. I would worry about things that kids just shouldn't think about. Like the kids who didn't have parents. The kids that lost their parents. Little did I know, I would soon bare that pain. When I turned 14 I was in 9th grade. My parents were having marriage problems so it was always a fight. One night, my Mother decided she didn't want to live anymore. I remember seeing her lifeless in the recliner. Luckiky, she survived her attempt. However, January 1, 2009 my father was pronounced dead in Chattanooga, TN from a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head. My Dad was my hero. My main squeeze. It was rough without him. I withdrew myself from the life I knew and spiraled into the life of drugs and addiction. By 18, I had went to rehab for pills and cocaine. Once out and 18, I started my life. I got an apartment with my boyfriend at the time, worked two jobs. I still used occasionally but it wasn't heavy. That's when I noticed my boyfriend, Michael, had a problem. Michael was diagnosed with bipolar depression type 2. He was on loads of medication daily including Xanax. But Michael was also an addict. His doctors weren't aware of that. After months of stopping him attempt to kill himself, he finally overdosed on his Xanax's one night. He woke up after a lethal dose that should have killed him. His parents and I sent him to rehab and a year after, everything seemed great. We were both clean and sober, going to college, engaged. I had everything I ever wanted. But Michael was still sad, he was still in pain and he wouldn't talk to me about it. I had no idea until May 15th, 2014 when Michael's mother found him in his truck, dead. From a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head. After that, my life was completely shattered. I fell hard. Soon I was homeless, jobless, lifeless. So I turned to Methamphetamines. For a year, wallowed in my own sorrow, I screamed, cried, pleaded. Begged, to die. I did everything I could to make the drugs kill me but some how, I always survived. January 2015 I woke up one day and something just clicked. I wanted to live. I wanted to live for me, I wanted to live for my Dad and Michael. I wanted the world to know them and know that they aren't alone. That we all struggle. But we make it! I'm living with PTSD, medication free and addiction. I'm one year clean and I did it all on my own. No rehab. My goal in life is to end the stigma followed with suicide and mental illness. Thank you for letting me share my story! Read more
Jahnavi Nirmal
I had always been a scared person since childhood. I would worry and overthink too much; but things were quite normal until this happened. It seemed like I was not the one talking, but my soul was. Going through de personalization for over a year, had not been easy, but it surely was a blessing in disguise. I thought I would turn crazy. There was a kind of a wall that separated me from the real world, and I could feel myself floating in the atmosphere. Everything seemed like an illusion, but this phase made me a very strong person. I used to hate being in that condition, for it was so suffocating. At one point, the phase reached its limit, and thoughts of committing suicide occurred to me. This was scary, but I kept telling myself that I was different, and I was lucky to go through something like this. After a few months, I felt myself coming back, but unfortunately, I did not like it. I was so used to being in my own fancy world, that coming back to the real world was horrific. Humans started to scare me, and I was afraid of socialising. Since It was my first year at design school, I began to push myself a little to talk to people. Doing that, I just moulded myself into a different person all together. One day I would wake up with a crazy mood swing, while the other day I would wake up being happy. Everything was unpredictable. Yes, I lost a lot of friends because I had stopped talking to them and had distanced myself way too much; but I was lucky to have a good support from my parents and a few close friends. Now, when I look back, I feel so blessed. The universe chose me out of a billion people to go through some thing so beautiful. I am so happy to gain so many philosophical thoughts about life. Being happy is the only thing that matters. You've always got to be a learner, and grow. You've got to smile. Read more
Yesenia España
The bathtub was full of water. Three quick breaths and I slipped under. I pushed my body up, took a long breath in, and wept. Several weeks earlier my nervous system was triggered and I had a panic attack. It felt like two fists were squeezing the air out of my lungs. I fled. But the panic and anxiety stayed. Depression found me. My interests and passions vanished. Connections with people I cared about and loved disappeared. Anguish and hopelessness took up residence in my mind. I crawled out of the bathtub and fell into bed. A powerful urge I'd never felt appeared inside of me. I gasped for air. My mind raced fast. It was an urge to kill myself. Deep in my prefrontal cortex was a tiny neon sign blinking HELP. I called my brother. Texted friends and neighbors. Emailed my therapist. The bed shook as I tried to contain the suicidal urge. Within an hour my neighbors brought me food, my therapist called to make sure I was safe, and my brother didn’t leave my side that night. I was in the ER by the next morning. Chaos surrounded me in the hallway where I laid in bed unmedicated, wearing nothing more than a hospital gown. Nurses and doctors asked, "What was your plan?" With tears streaming down my cheeks I said, "I was going to kill myself by drowning in the ocean." Hours later I was put on a 5150 hold. The cops interviewed me. An ambulance took me to another hospital with a psychiatric ward. For two weeks I ate food that tasted like rubber and slept in a bed that felt like cardboard. My blood was drawn each day. Several interviews later, I was told what I was up against: major depressive disorder, suicidal ideation, panic disorder, PTSD, trauma. It was a perfect storm. After my discharge, I took time off from work to begin an intensive treatment program. It's been emotionally and physically exhausting. As my brain rewires and I create new patterns of thinking and behavior, I'll think about my loving family, thoughtful friends, kind neighbors, caring boss and co-workers, magical treatment therapists, brave therapy group, nurturing social worker, honest psychiatrist, and long-time psychotherapist who'll catch me when I fall and continue to help me heal. https://instagram.com/p/BD2PvHSMvn6/ Read more
I know I’ve been living with it for the past 18 years of my life, but I never knew what it was. I had an accident last year, 2015, where I was driving and I hit someone on their motorcycle. It was mutual, both parties are wrong. A man, a woman, and their child. Nobody gets hurts, except the lady got a sprained ankle from falling down to asphalt from the motorcycle. Everything ended up fine, they forgave me and I paid for the medical bills. I haven’t had the chance to go and drive again, I’m not completely sure that I can do it again. The thought of that accident is still on my mind, being replayed every 10 minutes. What if it was more than that? What if there the woman turns out to have more pain than just a sprained ankle? And after that thought, it always ends up in a panic attack. I never really told anyone in my family that I couldn’t go back to driving, they would thought I was overreacting. They don’t even know I sometimes have panic attacks. Being born and raised in an Asian family gave you one thing, you never talk about your feelings. That’s why I am never comfortable telling my mom about my panic attacks, ask her how to handle it, and where do I get some help. These thoughts aren’t just about the accidents, it’s about everything and mostly little things that I said or people said to me. I’ve been living away from my family for the last 7 months, I’m getting more space to find out what I am going through, and it turns out to be so much more than just repetitive thoughts in my head. My mind become more uncontrollable, I need to do stuff the specific way and if I don’t do them right, I get my daily panic attacks. With being away, I learnt to embrace my anxiety and OCD more, I am not myself without them. I am not sure if my friends really know what I’m going through is serious, sometimes they think I am just overreacting and I seriously don’t know how to tell them. Especially my family, I don’t know if they will accept it. Read more
I've had depression for as long as I can remember. I was in and out of foster from 6 til 17. I was serially abused as a child by my father. I guess these have all been contributing factors to my depression. It became worse when I was in high school. I never fit in anywhere and no one understood the constant battle I fought in my own head. I joined band,played sports,even joined some clubs but never found anyone who could relate to me. I felt so alone. I used to cut in high school. It was on my upper thigh where no one could see. I didn't do it for attention. I did it because cutting and the pain actually stopped me from crying and feeling anything. It was break from who I was in my own head. As an adult my depression has become worse and now anxiety plagues my mind too. Everyday I live in constant fear that I am not good enough for my friends, for my loved ones, for my significant other or even for my job. When I wake up I have to convince myself that getting out of bed today will be good for me even though I don't feel that way. It's a struggle not to just lay in bed all day and pretend the world around me doesn't exist. It doesn't help that I don't have many people,even now, who understand what it's like. I have people tell me over and over to stop being depressed that I have no reason to be. My adoptive dad passed away last November and the monthsame that have followed have been some of the worst in my life. I'm looking into therapy now. I think it may help to talk to someone about the chaos in my head. I think mental illness needs to be more openly discussed so those who suffer feel more comfortable talking about their problems. I am not my depression. Read more
Margaret Jacobsen

At 28 years old, I’ve learned a lot about myself with depression. I have existed with it every day for the last 14 years. Some days are easy—I’m able to jump out of bed without any fighting with myself—while others are battles. They are uphill battles, battles that I know I’ll lose, but I fight nonetheless. Some days feel like I’m in a pit that’s inescapably dark, but still I try without avail to find a way out. I try so hard, shouting, knowing I won’t be heard. It’s a tiring existence, and a frustrating one. I am not depression and depression is not me, yet it is a big part of who I am. Without it, who would I be? I don’t really dwell on that thought too often, because I’m afraid that I wouldn’t like the “other me” very much. In a way, that sounds crazy, because I used to beg my mind to calm down and be normal. Now, though, I allow it space, and I don’t beat myself up. I’m kind to myself, and understand that mental illness takes time. Like any illness, it takes care.

There was a time when I wouldn’t accept my depression, let alone be kind to myself about it. I wouldn’t talk about it. I cringed constantly when people asked if I was sad, denying it—because I wasn’t actually sad. That’s not what depression is. It was more than simply a feeling, it was a state of being. My brain felt stuck on autopilot. No matter how much I willed myself to be better, to be happier, my brain insisted “Nope, this is your new default. Apathetic”. Realizing this, I was afraid of what it meant about me as a person. It was becoming too much; I was getting tired of pretending that I was “okay” when I wasn’t. Constantly planning out your own death is exhausting. Eventually I admitted to myself that I needed help, but had no idea where to start. When everything I had seen in regards to mental illness, especially depression, was a narrative of sadness and brokenness, I didn’t know what to do. It seemed as if there could be no thriving within it, but that couldn’t be the case…right? I couldn’t be doomed to a lifetime of living in a fog, only half living... Read more

Dana Sharkey

Frankly, I don’t feel like talking about my story or the darkness that consumed my life for 6 years; I’d rather share about life and lessons from the other side, giving hope to people reading this. I’ll include one excerpt from my journal in 2003, during the beginning of my illness: “It may take years more, but I do believe one day it won’t be like this…I will be free.”

Three lessons that recovery taught me…

1. That complete recovery is possible.

I never really believed that my eating disorder would be my death sentence. What I didn’t realize was that it didn’t have to be a life sentence either. Throughout my treatment and recovery, it was often stated or implied that I would struggle, to some degree, with my eating disorder for the rest of my life (i.e., how alcoholism is often described – you’re always an alcoholic, even when you’re not drinking; you’re always an anorexic, even when you’re not restricting).

One night, after 6 years of physical, emotional, and psychological torment and self-abuse, I simply got tired of it. I finally became more afraid of missing out on life than I was of living without my eating disorder as a crutch. At that moment, I fully grasped that it wasn’t about the food—no amount of restriction or weight loss was ever going to make me happy or solve my problems. The real problem was that I didn’t love myself, and I was ready to change that. The eating disorder was simply not serving me anymore. So I let it go. I cried, and I prayed, and I took a deep breath; I knew I was done.

The next week, I flew to France for four months. I explored and got lost every day; I treated myself to whatever I wanted in the patisseries; I spontaneously traveled to other parts of Europe. I felt alive and at peace for the first time in my life, and I have spent every day of the past eight years looking forward instead of backward. Since letting go, I have not engaged any disordered thoughts or behaviors, and I don’t struggle with it at all.

Today, I am not anorexic. I am not in recovery – I am recovered. It’s over. Most days, I don’t even consciously remember that I was ever anorexic, much less consumed with disordered thoughts for every second of every day for six years. I didn’t think it was possible to take all of the hateful thoughts and nutrition labels out of my head, but the trick is making the conscious decision to instead fill your mind with love, gratitude, and living in the present. Our minds and willpower are incredibly strong and resilient when we believe in real change.

No two stories are the same, and I’m sure many people don’t fully recover in one specific moment that they can pinpoint – but I want people to know that it is possible. You don’t need to settle for believing that you will be stuck in the grip of an eating disorder for the rest of your life. Read more

Sara Romeo-White
I’ve written a lot about my story. There was even a period of time really recently where I made the conscious decision to stop. I couldn’t bare it anymore. I have done so much work on separating who I am and what my story is and constantly writing about it was making that difficult. I no longer wanted to define myself or be defined by the things I have been through or my illnesses. I wanted to find the real me under the layer of story and events.

The truth that I’ve come to realize, is that while yes those things don’t define me, they are and will always be part of me. I process through writing and always have. I journaled obsessively for most of my life. It was and is how I cope. I also know how important the value of helping people through shared experience is. So yeah, I still am getting to know who I am under those layers. And yes, I still am shedding my story to make room for new stories. But I doubt I will ever stop writing about those times and those experiences because while they are not who I am they have a large part to do with who I have become. And for that I am grateful.

By the time I was nineteen I weighed over 300 lbs., had been in and out of hospitals, diagnosed as everything from bipolar to ADD, and had dropped out of college in pursuit of health. A pursuit that was held up for two years and caused my second and most severe suicide attempt due to my insurance company claiming I wasn’t sick enough or big enough to warrant the treatment I desperately needed. I was begging for help and the stigma of mental health and the type of eating disorder I suffered from was overpowering that need.

I have a binge eating disorder. For years people didn’t look at this as a serious issue. They called it “emotional eating” and chalked it up to lack of self control. Because I didn’t purge I wasn’t considered a person who had a real problem. Yet I was pre­diabetic and had the beginnings of sleep apnea and barely left my bed or showered for days and very seriously wanted to die. Only recently within the last few years was B.E.D. (binge eating disorder) put in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as a classified illness­­ yet it is the most widely spread eating disorder in the United States to date.  Read more
Amanda Tolka
A note to a friend last week: The anniversary of one of the more "profound" traumas I've experienced is tomorrow. My body holds these memories with an unbreakable, barely bearable, grip. Winter is nothing short of war. Hours, days, weeks, are spent in and out of paralysis - fear, anxiety, overwhelming, deafening, internal noise, can lead me to become afraid of my own breath. My body cringes and clinches and my mood and soul follow. My face...well, the scar in the middle of my forehead that wasn't there 15 years ago seems to grow deeper and from time to time I take on a nice black and blue tint, armed with stories, or the anger to just say bluntly to people, "I have PTSD and punch myself repeatedly in an episode"... no biggie, right, life does carry on...and strangely, it does. This year has been different, though. I have recoiled at times, but resisted my urge to go fully into myself or out of this world and sought connection with the nature, primarily, and only those who I felt reflected something back to me, of myself, that could resonate in the present. I became fearless about the idea that I can "start over" as many times as I need. There can be a million prototypes of Amanda...and that's okay, there is a story in that, a thread, that ties me together. I have found that there is some Self in there, after all and that my pure awe of this world is what has inspired me to fight so hard to stay. The marvel of my mind and body, its ability for the parts to connect, disconnect, leave this world as so many know it, only to come back again. It's like falling into water, straight backwards and as you sink, the layers of things become distorted, but even more disjointed, into so many tiny little bits, it's easy for them to mix up and then incredibly difficult to get them back into a coherent order...I digress. All of the various reasons I've been able to approach things differently, and the ways I've been working through it, deserve to be explicated- I feel the responsibility here, to understand and share whatever path I find to wellness through all of this. You and your little family are one of the great reasons for the difference this year. It's important for me to say that - and I wanted to say it tonight - and probably will focus for the next day or so on an outpouring of gratitude to those who have helped me find some sort of place here <- here, being the present moment or whatever this space is we're sharing. My body is so wrought with confusion about what time and where it actually exists in that the people who give me some sense of place, something to stick to, are profoundly important to me. Thank you for this. I know I've found a dear friend and comrade in you. I hope these words can resonate with you as the pure love that has ushered them out. Love, Amanda Read more
Brittany Vadalabene
November 11, 2005 was the day that my life had changed forever. I was getting ready to leave for school and something just felt different. I was getting ready to head out the door and I said goodbye to my mom. Little did I know, that was the last time I would speak to her. I headed to school and my day went on as it normally did. It was lunch time when I heard my name called over the PA speaker. I walked into the office and I saw my aunt standing there, holding back tears. I knew something was wrong. We got out to the car and she told me that my mom had a massive heart attack, a complication from Lupus, amongst the other diseases that she lived with. We rushed to the hospital only to find that we were too late. She was gone. 

She was only 40. I was extremely close to my mom so the pain I was feeling was unbearable. I spiraled into a feeling that I had known before but it was different–it was escalated. Everyone was worried about me and my dad took me to the doctor where I was diagnosed with depression.

I always thought depression was just a feeling, but I found out that isn't the case; I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. It turns out that the feelings I was feeling even before my mom passed away were a result of that. They put me on antidepressants, but antidepressants only made things worse. I was thinking of suicide, and how life would be so much better without me. However suicide wasn't an option, I was raised Catholic and suicide was a one way ticket to hell. So I just decided to cut myself. I cut my arms and my legs, and wore long sleeves to hide the wounds. But one day my baby sister walked in—I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I decided on my own to stop taking the antidepressants. Read more
I am sixteen years old. I have Obsessive compulsive Disorder, Severe Anxiety, and Clinical depression. Everyone thought that it was teenage angst. It wasn't. Three years ago, I felt empty. There seemed to be a vacuum in my stomach that ached. I was utterly empty. I would get flashes of feeling, and I didn't know whether or not I liked them. They were a pain that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, but they were real. REAL people felt these same feelings. I wanted to feel that way. I wanted to feel SOMETHING. I don't know how it started. I think it was the day I was cleaning out my desk, and I found the blades. The extras for X-acto knives. I'm not sure how I began. I just know that I needed to feel something. To know that I was standing on solid ground. I would never leave marks on my wrists. They were too exposed. My thighs were the next best thing. The lines and scars would blend in with my huge, purple stretch marks. There are still 42 marks on my pale legs. I sometimes feel like an addict. I see knives and blades. I want to feel something. Anything. I haven't put a knife to my skin in 3 years. I think about leaving 42 more marks every. Single. Day. None of my friends know about the scars. There is one girl in my class. She has bigger lines, lower on her legs, spelling out a word. I'm not sure what it says. I've never asked. My friends dislike that girl. They say that she's strange, messed up, asking for attention. I know that I should stand up for a fellow sufferer, but I don't want anyone to start asking about my 42 marks. I am 16 years old. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Severe Anxiety, and Clinical Depression. It's not teenage angst. Read more
As a child,I was used to getting A's on my tests.Dancing,singing..I was kind of an all rounder.But in 2nd grade,it all changed.We had to move.Switched cities,schools and then I started developing social anxiety .I didn't talk to anyone at school.The fear of being judged kept on rising. I was bullied, most of us have been,But at that point of time,it felt like my worst fears had come true.Name calling,discriminated..But I thought "well,I'll grow up and turn this all around." Years passed by,my social anxiety kept on rising and grades kept falling . I was in the last year of middle school,when the bullying started again.Sobbing was like a reflex to everything for me. Then came high school,I made new friends,everything seemed to be falling back in place .. But in the first year,things at home started falling apart.Screaming,fighting,it was a daily routine.And my social anxiety was at it's peek.And for me,even though I had a lot of friends,all I thought was that they don't really like me. . On the outside,I was lauging,cracking jokes,but as soon as I got home,it all faded away.Every little thing made me cry. Again things got better,or they seemed like to be. Then came our final year .I was finally a little at peace,I decided to face my social anxiety .But,Things at home got worse.Waking up,with not wanting to wake up.Sobbing through the nights,I felt like a bird stuck in a cage. Eventually,I started scratching myself.I knew something wasn't right.I decided to talk to a friend,told her to just stay in touch on a daily basis. What she did was completely ignore me. I didn't want to tell my parents,because I was scared.For them,it's just a tag for being crazy.By that time,self harm was my way of coping with everything.I tried talking to another friend and he,in response made jokes about my problems.I decided to give up,wrote down a suicude note and I just sat for an hour trying to fathom the courage,but couldn't do it. I told my mom,and she took me to a therapist. I was so scared that I couldn't say much.He diagnosed me with depression and prescribed some anti-depressants.After talking to my parents,all they said was what every one says to someone with depression."Try to be happy","Think about us,what are you doing to yourself!","You have everything,Why are you depressed then!" The medication seemed to be working.For a few days it felt fine.But a few days later,it got worse than before.My body was covered with scars .I hated my self,purely. I wanted to quit but didn't have the courage to. By that time,I had accepted that I was supossed to live this way.I was faking a smile when I had to,and cutting was my way of stopping the mental torture. A few weeks later,my mother accidently noticed my scars and in terror,rushed me back to the therapist.I finally spilled out everything,and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD. But I'm not allowed to talk about it.AT ALL.Because apparently,it's something to be ashamed of. All of this made me feel ..sick.I wanted to feel normal again,for a change.I knew the only person who could do that was me.So I decided to change. I took up meditation,started reading more,cut out all the bad influences,because I had no choice but change my lifestyle or live like a dead man walking. Now,I've decided to overcome my social anxiety by finally facing it .I won't say I am fixed,I'll never be.You have to keep working on yourself,because no one else will do it for you.I'm finally starting to accept myself.Because honestly,it is never be that bad,that you give up on life.I have scars that probably won't heal.But in a way,I'm proud to have overcome all that,by myself..Well,my therapist too. Read more
Judy Donnelly
I have had anxiety and depression all my life...I was born anxious and depressed ...I have taken pretty much all the drugs out there and have struggled to get to a place where I feel "whole" and not like some crazy woman....I'm now 61 and finally have come to a good place in my life, helped by drugs..but still , I'm doing OK and don't spend my life wanting to die ... I'm very fortunate, have had a great life, never really wanted for anything and have been lucky enough to get a great education, which gave me a fulfilling and well paid career...so on the surface, why would I be depressed? I don't know, but I do know it's my reality and some years ago after a really bad episode, I started admitting to people that I have a mental illness and talked about my struggles...I'm amazed at how many people have said "what you ?????" As I have very good control and didn't want to admit to how I felt...but it surprised me at how many people recognized themselves in my issues and have thanked me for being so honest about it, and it has , I think helped a few friends to get help for themselves. I don't believe that the general run of the mill doctors have any clue about mental illness and I've been lucky to find a really good therapist and a brilliant psychiatrist....but it took YEARS!!!! Telling people freed my mind and freed me to admit that Im not this perfect human who can do anything and sometimes I'm a basket case, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other and I thank my lovely husband and friends for understanding that I have times when I not OK and need space and safety to survive...this is s a tough world and we need to be supportive of each other to survive....thank you for letting me tell you a little of my story.... Read more
It's almost impossible to get someone to understand "my mother is trying to ruin my life" and have them take it seriously. All my life all I get is a constant reminder that I'm never good enough, that no matter what I do I have to try harder to please people. Sure, I get it I can't please everyone but in the end I end up sacrificing what I want in order to get the approval of my "mother". My passion has been in art, it's my way of escaping the harsh reality, my love. Yet no matter how many times I come to her and show something I'm proud of it's always the same response "oh, that's nice" I push myself to get better, receiving As in art, selling my art for some in-game currency, getting praised for them yet that's not enough, I wanted my mother's approval. It was time to start applying for college and I hear her say "you're a woman and your husband isn't going to let you work, pick something else" as I was halfway through building my portfolio to get into art school. I finally found something that we can agree on, accounting. I tell myself I love maths, I love maths, I love maths hoping that if I say it enough times I would start to believe it, and I did. I was ahead in class, all the while juggling work and extracullicular activities and volunteer work. I'd like to believe I had a good future. I left for college and the divorce happened. Things escalated from her cheating on someone, throwing things in my room, stealing from me and when I gave her asylum to stay in my apartment, she slapped me during an argument. Every time we meet she would point out my flaws, how fat I was, and how she's beautiful. I tell myself again "it's ok, it's ok, it's ok. She's just upset". 3 years later she started asking me when my exams are and on the day would drop bombs. For example, on the bus going to my exam she left me a message saying she was going to commit suicide. I was in tears and couldn't pull myself together as well as I use to, I failed. This behaviours kept repeating itself I kept hearing "She's still your mother!" I started to feel like I was wrong I was evil I was the bitch. Depression kicked in but my need to please people and not be a burden cause me to power through it, "I can cry later" everyone has problems and mine isn't important. No one knew what I was going through and I wasn't planning on letting them know either. I started being anti-social, I felt like I was suffocating and I need to just be alone. I graduated with a mediocre grade, and I felt guilty for wasting my father's money on my education. I haven't got a job since I have a degree in something I don't love. My mother stole my papers and I can't renew my passport. I'm physically stuck for 6 months now while my papers are slowly being retrieved. My country isn't the fastest with issues like this and I'm sitting here depressed, leeching off my hard working father. I've lost my creativity, ambition and will power. I'm stuck physically and mentally - nothing is in my control anymore and I wish, I wish I would eventually believe the words "I'll be okay". Read more
I distinctly remember the first day I decided to throw up my lunch. I was fifteen years old, and I desperately wanted to be perceived as beautiful. Looking back, I recognize now why I felt so out of control. I was a new girl in a very small school and I was severely bullied. My father and I stopped talking—he had started a new family with my stepmother, and my mom was suing him for child support. He asked me to choose a side, and when I chose my mother's, he stopped speaking to me. I was dating a boy I was hysterically in love with, and would continue to be in love with for the next eight years even though he was adamant about cheating on me. I had my first panic attack, and I was sick of not having any control over my environment and my body.

I somehow came to the conclusion that a thigh gap and a sharp collarbone would solve all of my problems. The first meal I ever threw up was penne a la vodka. I lost 25 pounds within the next few months. You could see my ribs, pick out every bone in my knees, and count my vertebrae. I loved it. I loved the attention and feeling like I was cheating the "eating game." I was not only bulimic, but also obsessively exercising (sometimes three times a day) and taking laxatives regularly.

I did self "checks" frequently: pinching my stomach and analyzing the fat, double-triple-quadruple checking my thigh size. I drank 2-3 gallons of water a day. This is where my obsession with perfectionism really began. I had to be the funniest, thinnest, smartest, most accomplished, and most disciplined out of all of my friends. I was bulimic for the next eight years. I never spoke to my father again, but I forgave and befriended some of my bullies in college. I continued to see the boy until I was 23 years old. It was extremely toxic, but I needed to feel loved. I needed a man to tell me he loved me and that I was worthy of love. Read more
Debbie Millman
I was wearing my yellow coat, back when I wore yellow. I brought B with me—B, the bodybuilder and the boy from high school whom I loved—to protect me. How ironic, given that I would have to get a restraining order to protect me from him just a few years later.


B knew where the man’s house was, and after we rehearsed what I was going to say, B looked at me and declared, “I’m proud of you.” When you don’t feel proud of yourself, it’s hard to respond to a statement like that. I was sheepish and scared; I was about to face the man I hadn’t seen in thirty years.

It was a white-gray autumn afternoon and I was almost 40. What happened had been over 30 years before, and I was determined to finally find closure. B was going to escort me to the house and I was going to do what I’d been planning for decades. I would be vehement. I would be fierce.

We drove the few blocks from B’s house in silence. He reached over once or twice in an effort to hold my hand, but I was stone. I was being vehement and fierce and was shaking somewhere so deep inside that I couldn’t feel his touch. I could barely see.

B and I had agreed that when we got to the man’s house, I would go up to the door alone, and he would wait on the sidewalk near the stoop. He’d be close enough to hear and see everything but far enough away to give me the privacy to say what I needed to say.

We got out of the car and I suddenly realized that the man might not be home. Why hadn’t I considered that? I’d come this far, and now I might not get any further. My heart beat faster, and for a moment I considered turning around. B placed his hand on my back and urged me forward. I grabbed the wrought-iron banister and made my way up the steps. I rang the bell.

A woman in her 60s opened the door and peered at me. “Yes?” she inquired. “Can I help you?” Read more

Leah Goren

This is my biggest secret. I don’t try to hide it as much as I used to, but I’m certainly not going to bring it up. I’m afraid that everyone will think they understand it, but I know that they have no idea. I’m even more afraid that I don’t understand it—as hard as I’ve worked, as much as I’ve tried to figure it out, I am trapped inside of it forever.

I’m 27 years old. At the end of this year, I will be ten years into recovery from anorexia.

My disease could have been the outcome of an infinite number of factors. I understand it best as a painful, beautiful distraction from traumas I was unequipped to confront in any other way. I constructed an alternate reality, and I lived in it. I felt entirely alone, but at the center of everything—the star of my own dreamy, sun-bleached movie about what it was like to be alive in high school in Southern California in 2005. I cast myself as the tortured heroine: unbearably sad, full of deep secrets and complexities, walking around with the sun in my eyes, stacks of bangles clanking on my wrists. I pretended like everyone was watching. Everything around me buzzed with meaning. I was 16, and I wanted to be very, very skinny.

In 2006 I became a patient at a residential treatment program. I was taught that anorexia existed on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum, though this belief isn’t held among all mental health professionals. The thoughts—about food, calories, my body, control—were the obsession, and the rituals—my endless lists and schedules, the ways I prepared meals—were the compulsions.

In group therapy, we talked about our traumas over and over and over, with the hope of working through the emotions and allowing them to become stories that would no longer plague our lives in such a visceral way. I have a whole story to tell you—about how my dad wasn’t very nice, about huddling in the closet with my sister on bad days, about the muscle relaxants and how they lead him to drive off a cliff in Palm Springs when I was 14, about the subsequent coma that lasted 19 days—but I’m going to tell you about it later. I’m going to skip to the ending now. Read more

Jamie Franco

September 25, 2002 8:24 PM Bad Day. Very bad day. I feel more depressed than ever. It’s like every step I take and everything I do is just a struggle to not break down & cry. That’s the only thing I feel like doing anymore. It’s really scary because I’ve gotten to the point where I just hate life and every day is a struggle to get through. I’ll always just be the ugly girl with no friends. I’m being forced to gain weight and I don’t want to anymore. What’s the use? My weight is fine where it is now. I feel fine physically. Mentally? I’m deteriorating. I just want to have friends. I want to be pretty. I want to be happy. I want to be how I used to be.

November 28, 2002, Thanksgiving 12:51 PM Oh my god. I just passed out two times. When I was getting out of the shower, I just passed out on the bathroom floor. My head kills. Then I managed to get up, walk to my room, close the door, and collapse and pass out on my bed again.

December 3, 2002 9:07 PM Yesterday was so horrible. After my Mom weighed me on Sunday, my extreme depression from my gross weight gain carried over to yesterday and today. I cried all day yesterday, and at one point I was really going to hurt myself. I still am. I don't understand why I’m alive if I’m going through so much pain. December 23, 2002 9:47 PM So tomorrow is Christmas eve. Did very good with keeping my weight down the past week, so hopefully the rest of the holiday vacation won’t be too bad. I’m at my all time low weight- 73! I’m actually sort of aching and having trouble breathing, my chest hurts. The past couple of nights I’ve been scared, so here this is just in case: I love you all so much. Mom, Dad, Brit, and Sasha. You’ve done nothing but make me happy. I love you.

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