#19: These things are something that I just live with.

Photo by Hailey Reed on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous | Age 20

What mental illness(es) are you currently living with? :

Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, and Panic Attacks.

What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

It’s a part of me but doesn’t define me. Yes, sometimes I can’t sleep because I have panic attacks throughout the night. Sometimes I just can’t get out of bed. Sometimes my anxiety makes it hard to interact with others, but I am not these things. I am my own person. These things are something that I just live with.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with? :

That it’s wrong to talk about and be accepting of. When I can talk positively about my experiences, I feel guilty or ashamed. I want to be able to be open and unashamed of my illnesses.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?:

It’s okay NOT to know what to say. Sometimes there are no words. When they are ready to talk, simply let them know that they are loved and supported. Anger and sadness is normal; don’t take them out on the person. It will make connecting harder. There is nothing wrong with loving someone with a mental illness. There is nothing wrong with needing a break to take care of yourself either.

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ABOUT THE SERIES

There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage.