Trevor Noah Credits Jim Carrey for Helping Him Accept His Depression


Sometimes, all it takes is one person, one story, to help you realize you’re not alone — and knowing you’re not alone can be the first step in getting help. For “Daily Show” host and comedian Trevor Noah, that person was Jim Carrey.

On Friday, Noah showed his serious side in an acceptance speech at Friday’s Just for Laughs Awards, where he was awarded Comedy Person of the Year. In his speech, he credited Jim Carrey as being the first person to help him accept that he was experiencing depression. Carey was also in attendance to receive a Generation Award.

According to The Daily News, Noah said in his acceptance speech, “Jim Carrey was one of the first comedians that described the beast that many of us face in this room and that’s depression. I didn’t know what that thing was. I just thought I liked sleeping for weeks on end sometimes.”

“I was like, ‘Oh shit, that’s what’s going on,’ and I thank you because, you know, I found a way to fight it,” Noah told Entertainment Tonight Canada.

This isn’t the first time Noah has spoken out about depression. As a teenager he had severe acne, and told NPR he went on medication that makes you both “depressed and suicidal.” He’s also been open about depression on his own show. Once, chatting with his guest, comedian Neal Brennan, he dispelled the myth that people who have depression “aren’t supposed to smile.”

What’s funny about it is that people go, ‘If you’re depressed you can’t smile, if you’re depressed you can’t tell jokes,’ but as comedians, that’s like the one thing most comedians share. It’s just that monkey on [our] backs.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.


How to Know If You Have 'Perfectly Hidden Depression'


I’ve been writing for three years now about a syndrome called perfectly hidden depression (PHD). These are people who are inwardly struggling with depression — at times severe depression — but others would never guess they were. They can act both intentionally, but also unconsciously, to deny and avoid pain or suffering. And they do it quite well.

In fact, perfectly.

But what’s a syndrome? Here’s what the dictionary offers:

Pathology, Psychiatry. a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease, or the like.”

In PHD, it’s a set of behaviors, thought patterns and emotions (or lack thereof) that are often found together in someone. If you see one, you may be likely to see the other. Like red hair and freckles. Or salt and pepper.

Here are ten characteristics of perfectly hidden depression. They’re not all present in every person who might recognize themselves in PHD, but they’re fairly consistent. They were created from hundreds of email stories and interviews with people identifying with PHD.

1) Perfectionism with a constant, critical inner voice.

Having a perfectionistic streak is one thing. You try to do your best. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well,” is a favorite motto. Yet people with PHD silently berate themselves if they’re not at the top at all times. They may allow themselves one area where they’re not proficient, laughing and saying they couldn’t skate if their life depended on it. Or they can’t tell a joke.

But if it’s an activity or a pursuit that is meaningful to them, it needs to be perfect — being a perfect mom, an accomplished lawyer, head of the class or a fantastic best friend.

2) Heightened or excessive sense of responsibility.

People with PHD can be very aware of duty, obligation and loyalty. They can be counted on in a crunch. They can be the first to notice when something is going wrong, and look for solutions. They’re good leaders although perhaps not the best delegators. This sense of responsibility can also be painful, as people with PHD will readily blame themselves, rather than taking a moment to understand the entire picture. This can be manipulated by those who rarely take responsibility.

3) Difficulty with accepting and expressing painful emotions.

I know when I’m sitting in front of someone, and they’re talking about a loss or a disappointment as they smile brightly at me, I may have discovered someone else who’s hiding. The avoidance or actual denial of regret, shame or any real vulnerability sticks out like a sore thumb.

Anger is typically avoided. Sadness is banished to the back of the closet. Disappointment is for whiners. A PHD person, or PHDP, may not even have the words to express these emotions, and in more severe cases they may have trouble expressing emotions at all. The PHDP stays in his or her head most of the time, rather than connecting with their heart — analyzing, decoding and thinking through things.

4) Worry/Need for control over herself and her environment.

The PHDP isn’t someone who can stay easily in the present. If she does yoga, she may hate the final position where you’re supposed to breathe and relax. He may love to cook, but has a very hard time sitting with his diners and enjoying the meal. The need for control is strong, and so a lot of time is spent worrying about the things that might occur to interrupt that control. It’s important to hide that worry, however. So it might not be obvious that the anxiety exists. Someone with PHD may look as if they do things easily and without effort. But the worry is hidden, right under the smile.

5) Intense focus on tasks, using accomplishment as a way to feel valuable.

“You’re only as good as your last success.” That’s what a PHDP may strongly believe. They do, all the time, and count on activity and accomplishment to hide their inner insecurities and fears.

We all do this to a certain extent. If you’re having a bad day, it feels good to get something done that perhaps you’ve been putting off. Or you get a promotion at work. Or someone emails you about how your kindness was so meaningful to them. There’s value in purpose and effort. Someone with PHD may carry it too far. They may not know how to express what they like about themselves, what brings them a sense of esteem, except for those accomplishments and tasks. That’s the problem.

6) Active concern for the well-being of others, while not allowing anyone into their inner world.

This is not fake concern. It’s not pretend or insincere. It’s real, and it can be intense. Caring for others is what people with PHD do very well. However, they don’t let others sense their own vulnerability. They don’t reveal pain from their past to others. Their spouse might know, but it’s not discussed. There’s a wall up against anyone discovering they are lonely or fatigued, empty or overwhelmed.

This can be especially frightening when suicidal ideation is present. And he can’t let anyone in. Or if he does, he may not be believed. “What, you? Depressed? You’ve got everything in the world going for you.” That response could be devastating.

7) Discounts or dismisses hurt or abuse from the past, or the present.

Compartmentalization is a skill. It’s the ability to be hurt, sad, disappointed, afraid or angry about something and put those feelings away until a time when you can deal with them better. Healthy people do it all the time. You can even do it with joy or happiness. Sometimes it’s not the time to burst out singing.

People with PHD over-compartmentalize. They have developed very strong boxes they habitually lock painful feelings in, and shove them back into the dark recesses of their minds. This allows them to discount, deny or dismiss the impact of life experiences that caused pain in the past or the present. One woman identifying with PHD emailed recently that she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and she totally dismissed it. “What happened to me was no big deal,” she wrote. “Much worse things have happened to other people.” That’s a very typical kind of belief system used in PHD.

8) Has accompanying mental health issues, involving control or escape from anxiety.

People with PHD live their lives in a very controlled fashion. So, you’ll find eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) traits are likely. Alcohol or sedative medications could be used to escape anxiety as well.

9) A strong belief in “counting your blessings” as the foundation of well-being.

I believe in counting your blessings. You bet. It’s healthy. It can keep you optimistic and grateful. A person with PHD feels guilt or even shame if he shows compassion toward himself, and allows himself to realize that not all things in his life are good. In fact, some are really hard. And it’s OK to feel that.

10) Intimate relationships may be difficult, but are accompanied by professional success.

The vulnerability that is linked with true intimacy is hard for someone with PHD. Although driven to be productive and achieve, and often finding great success, she isn’t likely to be someone who can easily relate on an intimate level. Someone with PHD may likely choose a partner, in fact, who doesn’t know how to be vulnerable either, or doesn’t have that capability. Their relationship will be based primarily on what they do for each other, rather than who they are for each other. The focus may be on the family and the children.

If you have these characteristics, you don’t have to hide. There’s no shame in being human. You can take this questionnaire to see how you score. You can listen to these two podcasts to find out what to do about it. You can realize that there are many others, like you, who are hiding and keeping secrets. If someone you love has these characteristics, please send them this post. They will hopefully feel seen and loved. It could be the catalyst that would allow them to start a journey that might save their life.

If you’re a therapist, please realize depression doesn’t always look the same. People don’t always present with depressed mood and anhedonia. You have to listen and look carefully.

You can hear more about Perfectly Hidden Depression and many other topics by listening to Dr. Margaret’s new podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford, or join her on her website.

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Why You Shouldn't Laugh When I Say I Love Harry Styles


Let’s face it, everybody who knows me knows I’m “obsessed” with Harry Styles. It’s easy to listen to me ramble on about how much I love him and get annoyed.  But let me just tell you, there are some things you don’t know that you should.

Ever since late 2010, I’ve loved, admired and supported One Direction, particularly Harry Styles. Posters adorn the walls in my room, my camera roll is full of pictures of them, my lock screen is me with Harry Styles and I have all their albums on my phone. To most people, I look like any ordinary teenage girl with a boy band obsession, but that’s not true. My “obsession” is more than that, and here’s why:

Living with a chronic illness such as transverse myelitis can be difficult. As a 15-year-old girl, I visit way more doctors and hospitals than most people my age, and I endure so many painful tests and experiences I shouldn’t have to. Although I’ve learned to accept this is the way my life is, things haven’t always been the easiest for me.

When I was just 10 years old, I was battling depression. At such a young age, I didn’t quite understand why my mind was filled with such dark thoughts of pain and sadness. There were nights when I would cry myself to sleep and wish I wasn’t alive, or I would think of how to hurt myself while I should’ve been concentrating at school. I was only in fourth grade and I should’ve been living my life like any other little girl, but I wasn’t because of TM, which brought on my depression.

Honestly speaking, I would not be here if it weren’t for Harry Styles. During my particularly rough bout of depression between 2012 and 2014, I always reminded myself I had Harry to keep me happy when I needed him. And so, One Direction’s music blasted through my speakers in my times of crisis, their videos took up my YouTube likes, their song lyrics became my mottos and I didn’t ever feel depressed when I thought of them. When I’d start crying myself to sleep, I no longer did so for hours, because the happiness One Direction brought me kept me going.

The greatest moment of my life was when the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted my Wish to meet One Direction in August 2014. I have never been as happy as I was the day I met them. All the boys, Harry especially, were so incredibly kind. They didn’t act bored and simply pose for a picture — they spent valuable time with me and shared conversation. I presented them with my first book, “5k, Ballet, and a Spinal Cord Injury and Harry was extremely impressed and enthusiastic. As Harry and I hugged and exchanged “I love you’s,” I knew I would be happy forever. Since the moment I headed to their concert with tears of happiness streaming down my face just after meeting them, my depression hasn’t returned. Who knew it could take so little — a conversation, hug, smile and “I love you more” — to help my depression?

Aside from One Direction’s music cheering me up, their concerts have been the greatest experiences of my life. Whenever I need to travel on a medical trip, my mom takes me to see them perform in order to make a not-so-fun trip amazing. Starting with my first One Direction concert in Minneapolis, I’ve made so many incredible memories on trips that normally wouldn’t have been fun because of One Direction. They completely changed my outlook on these medical trips, because now, good memories are associated with the cities I visit for appointments.

My greatest, most memorable One Direction concert was in Baltimore on August 8, 2015, almost a year after I’d met them. I was there to see doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but having their concert to look forward to made me excited to go to Baltimore for once. I had been expecting to have a wonderful time, but not this much of a wonderful time. From the moment the concert began, Harry paid attention to me — he blew kisses at me, waved, gave me peace signs and communicated with me throughout the entire show. The best moment was when he knelt down in front of me, pointed at me and tossed me his towel. It sounds crazy and stupid to most people that I’d be excited to get a sweaty towel, but the fact that he remembered me almost a year later and so very intentionally gave me his towel (that he normally carelessly throws to the back of the crowd) was simply amazing. No words other than “amazing” can describe that experience: my favorite singer remembered who I was, had my book and treated me like I was the only fan he saw in a crowd of 80,000. It was no surprise I was bawling as I told him thank you, and it was no surprise he smiled back and gave me a thumbs up.

Baltimore is one of my favorite places because of Harry now. Every time I’m strolling through the city, memories of Harry treating me like a princess come back to me, and a smile makes its way onto my face.

So… yeah. You can laugh when you notice Harry Styles hugging me is my lock screen on my phone, you can tell me I’m too “obsessed” with him, but I hope you understand just how much I need him. Without him, I might not still be here. Harry is the reason I’m able to smile every day, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. So, thank you again, Harry, for giving me “Something Great,” helping me “Through the Dark” and giving me a reason to keep going. I’m honored to call myself your most special fan.

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4 Ways You Can Help Me When I'm in a Depressive Episode


I can feel it creeping up on me again. I can sense its huge form behind me, feel its breath on my back and shoulders, rising up to my neck. I can hear it whisper in a rasping voice, “It’s my turn now.” I drop. I sink in to myself, sink in to my own head and depression rises to take my place. It wears me as a disguise to fool others into thinking they are speaking with me. I’m inside there somewhere but you’re not going to find me. I don’t think I even want you to.

When I sink into a depressive episode, I lose myself. I lose all feeling, motivation, all interest in who I am and sometimes in who everyone else is. When an episode is particularly difficult, the only way I can feel something is to sink lower. I give up, I listen to the negative voices, I let them get louder, I let them speak for me. I begin to believe nothing is worth anything and that my identity is not worth saving. It wasn’t worth its existence in the first place.

So how can you help me when I am so encapsulated in the void? How do you penetrate layers upon layers of apathy and misery? Everyone is different — some people take medication, others have therapy and some shy away from both. However, there are definitely some things you can do to remind me of who I am and to help me to remember I am a person, I am not depression.

1. Ask me if I am OK.

And don’t lose patience when you receive an honest answer. We get into such a cycle of saying we are “fine” when we are actually far from it. By asking me how I am and wanting and accepting an honest answer, it will make me feel as if I can tell you what is going on — this can often be half the battle. Please be patient with me. Nothing is worse than people who stop asking how you are because they are fed up with you answering honestly.

2. Listen.

Sometimes all you want to do is get all the negativity out of your head. You’re so familiar with the thoughts that you don’t truly hear them. Saying them out loud can often force you to actually understand what you are saying and realize the thoughts aren’t actually yours — they are the lies depression is telling you to keep you hidden. Sharing these with someone who is willing to listen (even if they don’t understand) can be a safe way to come to this realization.

3. Tell me I am strong.

Battling a mental illness can often leave me feeling weak and vulnerable. I feel as if I’m broken and unworthy — as if there is a bit missing in your head that renders you a burden to those around you. By reminding me that struggling with depression makes me strong for battling the same demons on a daily basis, you’re helping me to slowly shift my view. It might not work immediately, but it has helped me to stop seeing myself as a victim and more of a survivor in the long-term.

4. Be patient.

I’m in here somewhere. I’m not doing this to hurt you or anyone else. I just can’t manage to stay afloat. If you stick around and see me on the other side, I will never forget it and I will never cease to be grateful.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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13 Reasons Why I Chose To Live, and Why You Should Too


I’ve felt it too. The unbearable pain and perpetual numbness all at once. The lingering sadness. The inescapable despair. Depression is a merciless overhead cloud. The blackness engulfs you, blocking out any glimpses of light and hope. It stays with you, never letting you forget the dark thoughts occupying your mind. There was a time when I thought that physical pain could take away from the emotional distress of my mental state. And there were several times I envisioned more permanent escape routes. But if I had followed through with those horrible things, my story would have ended. If my mind caved to those unthinkable thoughts, I would not be who I am or where I am today.

The following are 13 reasons why I chose to live through the suffocation and drowning of my inner thoughts, and why you should chose to live too:

1. To accomplish what I set out to do.

Before my mind was taken over by immense sorrow, I had aspirations. I chose to not let my overwhelming emotions interfere any longer. I chose to live, and in doing so, I accomplished one of my biggest goals: graduating college. What’s on your “to be achieved” list?

2. To see what lies ahead.

Dwelling on the past only dragged me down. I chose to live, to move forward and see what my future held. I am so grateful for where it has brought me today. I would have never seen the exciting and the new had I followed through with cutting my life short.

3. To get help.

There are so many options for treatment out there. I chose to live to find a treatment that worked and to see actual results. If you need a place to start, please don’t hesitate to speak with loved ones and your doctor about how you’re feeling, or call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. From different forms of therapy, to medication and even alternatives, there are ways to combat this awful disease.

4. To be able to experience the warmth of genuine happiness.

They always said there were happier days ahead. I had not believed a word of that bullshit until I was exposed to the pure bliss I endlessly yearned for. I know how much you’re hurting now, but I promise with my heart and soul that it’s going to pass. There will be so many reasons to smile if you stay.

5. This too shall pass.

This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. I chose to live because I knew it would pass. The evil you are facing is guaranteed to pass. It always does. Keep instilling that belief in yourself. I did, by having it forever placed on my body.

6. My family loves and cares about me so much.

It may not have seemed that way when my mind chose to just concentrate on the bad, but I’m able to see and feel it now. A family is like a puzzle. With my piece missing, they’d never be complete again. I chose to live so my family would never have to experience the devastating effects of my loss.

7. My friends love and care about me so much.

I chose to live so that my friends would not have to go through the anguish and agony of attending my funeral.

8. There are so many amazing people I still have not met.

I’m so young. You are still so young. There are so many faces you have not been introduced to yet. One of those faces may be the one who changes your life forever. I chose to live to let more special people enter my life, and they surely did.

9. And there are so many beautiful places I have yet to see.

The world has so much to offer. If you choose not to live, you’ll never be able to explore the plethora of stunning places you have yet to see.

10. To inspire others.

What kind of an example would I be if I had not had the strength to hold on? I chose to live to tell my story, and to inspire others to live. I’ll devote my life to making sure the stigma against mental illnesses is one day broken, that mental battles are one day no longer belittled and that mental diseases will never have to be fought alone. You have a powerful story to tell as well. You have a purpose. Help me inspire others.

11. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

When you turn to such a permanent action, you have a zero percent chance of getting better. Choose to live so there is a higher percent chance you will get better.

12. My story isn’t over yet, and neither is yours.

There is still so much to do — so many memories to be created, so many laughs to be had. Your story isn’t over. Our stories are not over. Project Semicolon lives by this motto. Feeling alone in this struggle of yours? Check out Project Semicolon, the most supportive mental health community I’ve found. They have helped more than 5.2 million people since 2013. Please let them help you.

Last but not least, reason number 13…

13. I love you and I’m not letting anything happen to you.

Through shared experiences, I already feel connected to you. I know what you’ve been through and the pain you’re feeling in this very moment. It’s so incredibly unfair. I wish I could wave a magic wand and take it all away. But the only power I have right now is words. Please listen to them. Read them again if you have to. I love and care about you so much, even if we’ll never meet. And I refuse to let anything happen to you. Choose to live, and if you’re ever having doubts about doing so please contact one of the following:

This piece was originally published on The Odyssey. 

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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16 'Red Flags' That Might Mean It's Time to Get Help for Your Mental Health


This piece was written by Lisa Woods a Thought Catalog contributor.

Many people with depression often don’t “look” depressed or even seem that way. We compiled some “red flags” that may indicate you are struggling with depression as expressed by users on Reddit who have been depressed themselves or are still struggling with their mental health.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Your routine is empty.

“I’ve no motivation to even begin anything enjoyable so I just browse the web until my stomach growls. Then dinner, shower, bed, do it again. And again. And again.”

— foxy_boxy

2. You may act uncharacteristically.

“Thing is, depression and unhappiness have some weird effects. For example, insomnia is one of the symptoms of depression [for me]. But excessive sleep is also one of the symptoms of depression. Weird, right?

It could be anything. Differs from person to person. Some will pretend to be happy and smile with you, but go quiet and reserved when they think you’re not looking. Some will not try to hide it as much and will look reserved, rarely smile even with people around.

Some might work less. Laziness and lack of interest often come with depression. But others will drown themselves in work, trying to escape the unwanted reality.

Some will stop enjoying things they like. Like, lose interest in video games, for example. Others will, again, escape from depression by putting themselves in easy and fun situations, reading books, watching movies or playing video games.

Point is, you can never know. I know these things from experience. Sometimes I lose interest in stuff I enjoy. I often oversleep or don’t sleep enough. I often pretend to be OK for those around me, smiling and laughing with them, but I rarely do that with honesty. I also know from the research I did when asking the same questions on “What is depression?” and “What are its symptoms?” And what I learned is that we don’t know what depression is any more than we know the secrets of the cosmos. Our minds are just as complicated as quantum physics. We don’t know what depression is, and we only know some of its symptoms, which are different depending on the person.”

— Dawidko1200

3. You don’t “seem” to care a lot, but you actually do.

“[Depression is] a numbness that looks like not caring. It’s not even necessarily not caring. You can completely care that you have 500 household chores that need done. The problem sometimes is just not having the energy to do anything. Dealing with people at work all day is exhausting, not to mention physically busting your ass. Trying to be a good parent and spouse is exhausting. Just getting through the requirements of your day takes all of your mental and physical fortitude and then you have to do it again tomorrow. And it’s like that every day. So sure, I care that the dishes need to be washed or that I need a haircut, I just don’t care enough because I’m already overworked and stretched too thin and it’s just not fucking important in comparison compared to trying to recharge/relax for a little bit so I can get through the next day.”

— Hannyu

4. You may fall behind on chores.

“My anxiety makes me stress out about the fact that my house needs tidying and cleaning but the thought of actually doing that is so overwhelming I just can’t face doing it, so it becomes a vicious circle.”

— hettybell

5. You’re isolated.

“Isolation is the biggest [red flag] in my opinion, when all of a sudden your friend just stops making contact, it might not be because they don’t like you, it’s because they don’t want to annoy you with their unhappiness.

I’d be depressed a lot and sometimes don’t want to annoy my friends because I find it hard enough to be by myself, I can only imagine how it is to be around me!”

— Paul-grizz

6. You “go with the flow.”

“[A red flag for me is when] people just kinda “go with the flow.” Not in a happy go lucky sorta way, but like they never give their opinions and just agree with what others say. They let others speak before them, then let the person after them go, then the next, etc., etc.”

— anonymousgarbage

7. You may be anxious around groups.

My not-so-subtle sign that I’m not-so-secretly unhappy [is] when hanging out with a group of friends, things will be OK for a couple of hours, then I’ll start getting depressed and looking around at all the little groups I’m not a part of and feeling like a complete waste of space and I’ll sneak out the back door and leave without saying anything to anyone.”

— Stapler

8. Your eating patterns change a lot.

“[I] either have minimal appetite and food turns [me] off, or the opposite: [I] overeat to assuage [my] unhappiness.”

— Back2Bach

9. Your work or school is affected.

“I’m able to manage my depression and such rather well and keep it from affecting me at work. But recently it starting creeping up more and more at work. My boss pulled me aside and asked me if anything was wrong, and [said] I should just take it easy for a little while. Nobody has ever asked me if I’m ever OK and I nearly broke down over it. Just the fact that he asked help me pull through and I feel much better over the whole thing.”

— quiet_locomotion

10. You are hard on yourself.

“[I make] self-deprecating comments as jokes.”

— Harmelodic

11. You may become forgetful.

“Memory issues. Oftentimes untreated or undert-reated depression and/or anxiety causes serious memory issues.”

— CelticRain

12. You smile through the pain.

It is appearing happy to others and smiling through the pain, keeping the inner chaos hidden. [I] avoid disclosing [my] depression and inner suffering from all.”

— entropyx1

13. You may say you are “tired” a lot.

“That is usually code for unhappy even on a subconscious level.”

— thebustah

14. You accept less than you deserve.

“[I am] content with giving more than [I] receive and [am] literally OK with everything — both good and bad.”

— soynanyos

15. You may not reach out to friends anymore.

I’m ‘secretly’ unhappy because I have nobody to be a part of my life… Some of us don’t have the mental ability to reach out even when we need it most.”

— def_init_self

16. You may not want to talk about yourself often.

“[I am] constantly deflecting any questions about [myself] and [am] always diverting the conversation back to you.”

— Trisassyjcc

If you just spent 10 minutes scouring this list to see if anyone else feels what you feel, we want you to know they do and you aren’t alone. 

This story is brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

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