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Stories from the Strong

We hope that the stories, experiences, advice, lessons learned,

or messages of solidarity and hope shared below, from our community,

will help raise awareness and show everyone that they are not alone.

Every story is worth sharing when it comes to ending the stigma. #EndtheStigma

Anxiety: the only place to go is forward

March 2021

I was in middle school when I first went face-to-face with anxiety. I was constantly worried about little things like what I was wearing, if someone was mad at me (even if they had no reason to be), or my grades. These little issues would ruin whole days for me, even though I knew in my head that things would turn out okay. That’s the deal with anxiety, though; it doesn’t care if things will be okay, it stays in your head constantly telling you to worry about the things people generally don’t think twice about.

As I got older, my anxiety became worse. It was really easy for me to tell myself that I was fine and that if I told anybody what I was feeling, they would think I was crazy. My anxiety has given me panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and even a suicide attempt. It wasn’t until some terrible things happened in my life that I realized I needed to make a change.

Mental health affects one in five people in America. It is disheartening to know that people in our country still place that negative box around talking about the things we have going on in our brains. For me, I talked to friends, family, and others who were going through the same things as me, and once I told them about the voice in my head that was telling me that I always had to be worried, I was very comforted to know that I wasn’t the only one struggling with getting my mind right.

I struggle with my anxiety every day. Some days are worse than others, some days I want to stay in my bed all day because I am afraid that something (or everything) will go wrong, and some days I am ready, and positive, and convinced I am going to change the world. Mental health is a constant battle that does not discriminate, but I know that I am strong and capable of overcoming my struggles.

If I have any advice for people going through mental health issues, it would be to talk. Just get the words out to someone you trust. Once you know that you have a support system, things can only get better. Whether you are talking to a friend, family, or a professional, just get the words out. It’s okay to need help, it’s okay to feel sad, but knowing that there are options and people out there to help you is the first step in making your life, and brain, more manageable.

I’ll end here with a short poem I wrote about new beginnings:

“A shattered heart lay on the floor

Jagged pieces pierce my skin as I stare down at what I used to be

Darkness spreads onto the ground

And I watch as my sorrows bleed into the oblivion

A subdued mind envelops me

As I reflect on the times that tore me down

I stumble away from my mistakes

Though I can hear them slithering close behind me

A refusal to turn back sinks deep into my bones

As I realize the only place to go is forward.”


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