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How I'm Learning to Embrace My Anxiety and Depression

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For years now I have had anxiety and depression. And until this day and probably a little longer, I have always been ashamed. Maybe it’s because when I’ve been through my toughest times, those I thought were closest to me weren’t there. Although I didn’t speak up and tell them what was going on, I never thought they would turn their backs on me because of how withdrawn I became.

I’ve never been good at talking about my emotions. From a very young age I’ve spent a lot of time alone, not really speaking up about how I feel. I’ve never been close to my parents and I will probably never have this conversation with them. Sometimes that hurts to know that; other times, it makes me realize how strong I am, how strong I have been, even when I have been alone.

Life has thrown me a ton of curveballs over the past couple of years which have taught me a lot about the world and myself. I’ve been in situations I would never have imagined before. I’ve been lucky enough to see some incredible places in the world, and to learn some amazing lessons from the different cultures I’ve been exposed to. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that being me is OK. It’s more than OK. Everyone is here for a reason.

I don’t want to be ashamed anymore. I don’t want to hide who I am. I’m finally learning to embrace that these mental illnesses shape me into the person I am. As much as I hate them for the really rough times I go through, I love them just as much because without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. And although I still struggle with opening up and showing the real me, I’m ready for that journey, I want to share my story. And there are no words to explain how good it feels to be ready.

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Thinkstock photo by Renaude Hatsedakis

Originally published: March 23, 2017
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