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Raising up my hand to answer questions in school was always scary for me. Terrifying, even. I thought I was just shy, and so did everyone else. I’m 18 now, and I suffer from social anxiety and depression.

It’s difficult for me to speak up. To my friends, my classmates, even my own family. I can’t order food without panicking or crying, and loud, overwhelming crowds send me into hyperventilation.

What is simple for others is sometimes difficult for me. While friends my age are travelling, doing amazing things and enjoying life, I’m lying in bed feeling useless and guilty about myself.

I’m fortunate. I am. I have a loving family and a few close friends, a roof over my head and I never have to worry if I’ll have enough money for tomorrow. So why can‘t I function properly? Why can’t I just be happy and normal? Do I even have the right to be so sad, so anxious?

My mom used to be so proud of me for being the top student in the level. Now she praises me when I answer the door instead of asking the delivery person to leave my items outside when I order food.

I learn things much slower than others. I’m negative. I stutter and cry often. I think things would be so much better if I weren’t here, if I weren’t me. I don’t like who I am. But… I’m still a person, aren’t I?

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