I have suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. As a child I didn’t understand what was happening to me and neither did any of the adults in my life. They thought I was just a very emotional kid. I had a very hard time making friends in elementary school because I was so afraid to leave home. I was suicidal for most of high school. It wasn’t until my first year of college when my anxiety increased so much so that I could not function in my daily life. I stopped eating. I had severe insomnia that kept me from sleeping more than a half hour each night for six months. I cried all the time. I stopped hanging out with my friends and started spending much more time alone for fear that I would irritate anyone I was with. During that time was when I saw my first therapist. I learned some coping mechanisms that began to work for me. It was also the first time I talked with any of my family members about my mental illness. The biggest step I made was talking to my mom with whom I’ve never had a good relationship. Soon after talking with her I learned that those closest to you will be your biggest support systems. Even if you don’t think they will be.
Today I am in my senior year of college. I still suffer with anxiety and depression. I have many more strides to make. But I feel more confident that I can make those strides. I am a Social Work major. I chose my major because I thought of my own story. No one in my life spoke up about my behavior as a child. Whether they weren’t informed or they just didn’t want to talk about it, that conversation never happened. Every day of my life I wonder what would have changed if I had been informed about mental illnesses as a child. How would those first seventeen years of my life been different? Through my career and my daily life I hope to spark that conversation in parents. I want the next generation to talk about mental illness so that more children aren’t afraid of or embarrassed by their mental illness growing up. Just reading this website made me cry because it seems like I’m not the only one who wants that too. Thank you all so much.