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SMHFF-Personal-Stories-04

I was 18 when I finally clued in that something was wrong. My hands had forgotten how to be hands – instead they shook. I couldn’t breathe, often I ran into the bathroom during class in a desperate attempt to calm myself down. But the problems came way before that.

14 years old. I felt like the world was crumbling down around my ears. 15 years old. I couldn’t sleep properly anymore. 16 years old. I was suicidal. The sadness was constant. It sat on my shoulder daily and then it got heavier until it was a weight square across my back. It started to move into my chest, an empty weariness I couldn’t let go of.

And then came the panic, flighty, like a bird. As if the whole world had become a cage I was trapped in. At 19 I finally sat in my therapist’s office and asked for help. Shortly after that I was diagnosed with clinical depression and given anti-depressants.

Here is the truth: I’m hurting, yes. But I am healing. Growing. Blossoming. I’m not insane or crazy for needing medication. I’m a person, like you. I love books. I’d like to think I’m a bit of a writer. I name every stray cat I see and this life is something I’m still figuring out.

Depression is a part of me, yes, but not all of me. In fact this illness of mine has taught me empathy. It has taught me gratitude for the little things. It has taught me compassion.

I am more than just one diagnosis. I’m a human being.

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