I spent the past few years wondering what was ‘wrong’ with me. Trying to understand why I couldn’t will myself back to health.

Was I feeling badly for myself?  No.
Was I ungrateful? No.
Was my attitude too negative? No.
Was I thankful for everything that I had?  Yes.
Was I a good friend, daughter, and sister?  Yes.
Could I get out of bed?  No.
Was there a way to stop crying?  No.
Could I see an end to the pain?  No.
Did I want to live?  No.

I eventually recognized that I was dealing with an illness after a very long internal battle.  I spent the majority of 2011 and 2012 away from my friends and family.

I checked myself into a hospital.

I worked on my depression.

I had support — a loving family, partner, and friends.

I missed all family holidays in 2012.

I started to venture back home in 2013 because I had made progress with my depressive illness.

I spent more time with my family. And, after warning signs I began to worry about my younger brother.

I tried to understand. I tried to help. We all tried to help. We didn’t succeed. He took his own life three weeks ago.

Mental illness is real. 
It affects everyone.
It’s not something to whisper about. 
Be compassionate.
Extend a helping hand.
Stop stigmatizing. 
Be a human being.

We are all human.
We are all family.

Be kind.

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