Shannon, 22, New York, US

076two“I suffer from depression and anxiety and have been for most of my teenage and young adult years.

For many years my depression and anxiety have run my life. I had depression during high school, but in my first year of college, it heightened to an unprecedented level. I thought it was a phase. After a few months, it seemed things were looking up. Then, I started taking birth control. I was soon crying uncontrollably on a daily basis, and to make matters worse my skin broke out in horribly painful cystic acne. I spent most of my days hiding in my dorm room, afraid of what people would think if they saw my skin. This is the period of time when suicidal thoughts came to the forefront of my mind, to linger there for the next few years.

After my first year of college, I found myself physically incapable of conversing with strangers. When I tried, my tongue became stuck, my heart began to race, sweat beads formed on my skin. I would forget what I was trying to say mid-sentence. This did nothing for my depression and caused my anxiety to drastically rise. I felt so unbelievably lonely and felt like I could do nothing to stop the pain because of my inability to orally communicate with others.

I am now in my fifth year of college. I am better than I’ve been since the start of my struggle with mental health. I slowly found people who I could open up to, who are patient and like me for who I am. They know of my condition, and are always there when I need to cry, or talk, or sit in silence. It was difficult for my family to understand at first, but now they are as supportive as a family can be. I gave myself permission to open up to people around me, and it is the best thing I could have ever done for myself.
Exercise, writing and movie nights have all helped me in my search for peace, as well as acceptance, time, and long walks alone. I have taken much of the former pressure I put on myself, and thrown it to the ground.

Today I have a blog about my struggle with mental health. It originally began as a fitness blog, but I’m not sure if it’s going to continue in that direction (which means a name change will have to take place). Some nights I simply felt the urge the write things down that I wanted to share with others who might understand or empathize. My blog is far from perfect – it is a work in progress, as is my mental health. I am proud of it because I was able to take that first step in showing the world that I, too, am struggling. We don’t have to be alone in our fight.

Thank you for reading my story, and I wish you all the best.
Please take a look at my blog in your free time! Let me know your thoughts, and share your stories with the community.”


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