I am currently a college student, and I have lived in Maryland for most of my life. I have a wonderful family: my parents, two brothers, and grandparents. I also have an amazing family of friends, teachers, and more who have supported me in everything I do.
I enjoy all types of art, playing guitar, reading, and playing video games with my brothers. Recently, I achieved honor student status at my college, joined a club focused on challenging perceptions of people with disabilities, and applied for an internship - all things I feared I would never be able to do. I am so grateful for the opportunity This Is My Brave presents to share my experience with others.
I live with depression and anxiety, and struggled throughout high school because of it. I isolated myself from friends and family during my struggles, and stopped doing the things I loved most, like creating music or art. I was so lonely and so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to change. Today, I am learning who I am with these challenges - while the anxiety and depression are still a part of my life, they are no longer in control. I am able to live my life with these challenges.
My family has supported me throughout my worst and best moments. From the moment I was diagnosed, they have faced every challenge with me. This also means that my mental illness affects them as much as it affects me, but they have never given up on me.
I want to be a part of This Is My Brave to share my story and to actively help end the stigma of mental illness. I love that This Is My Brave promotes healing through sharing our experiences - I have so much to say now because there was so much I needed to hear in my lowest moments. I felt very alone when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. There didn't seem to be many people my age who had mental illness, or who talked about it and shared their success despite it. I hope that by sharing my experience, I can help someone else realize they aren’t alone.
My family and friends. They support me no matter what, and I could not have gotten to where I am today without them.
There is a lot of misinformation and fear about mental health in the news and media today, but not nearly as much about the reality of mental illness. People are misinformed about how to give or find help. As a culture, we still view mental illness as something to fear, until we are affected by it personally. As we learn more about how to treat mental illness, it is important that we change the way we look at mental illness and those who are challenged by it. By sharing my personal story, I hope that people can understand that mental illness doesn’t make one less of a person despite the challenge it presents.
I also want the audience to understand that life continues, even with mental illness. Those of us who live with mental illness have so much to offer in spite of and because of our challenges. Our illnesses are not something to fear, but legitimate health problems that need to be given the same time and energy as other diseases we put money and research into. My hope is that by sharing with the audience, they will gain more insight into mental illness, continue the discussion about mental health, and challenge the perception of mental illness.
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Please share this post with friends and family in the Baltimore area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.