I Have Depression. I Have Anxiety. I Am Bisexual. I Am Me.

I Have Depression. I Have Anxiety. I Am Bisexual. I Am Me.

I've decided to fully embrace who I am, and I am coming clean.
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I've written this about a million times. I've sat up late at night reading my words and wondering how to say everything just right. I've deleted more paragraphs than I ever thought was possible and I've had drafts of things I wanted to say saved on my hard drive for years.

Today is the day. The day that I'm coming clean about everything that I've kept inside since the beginning of high school and maybe even earlier. Yesterday was World Mental Health Awareness Day, and after reading a beautiful piece written by a friend this morning, here's my truth.

I have depression. I have anxiety. I am bisexual. I am me.

Typing these words, I am holding back the tears as my hands shake and my mind is relaying every possible horrible reaction my friends and family could have to this if they read it.

But there's also a burning relief in my heart that I'll have no more secrets and that for the first time in a long time, I will finally be able to be me.

Let me break a few things down for you about my mental illness.

If you are reading this, I want you to know that I didn't choose to feel this way and I do not do any of this for attention. My depression and anxiety do not define me, but they are very much two things that I fight every single day. I take medication every morning to help me feel like a real person again, and there is nothing wrong with that.

We need to stop stigmatizing mental illness.

Several months after I finally went to a mental health professional and started taking antidepressants, I was driving down the road when suddenly I just felt happy. I had this overwhelming sense of peace and joy and contentment flood over me, and I realized that this is what it feels like to not have depression.

This is what it feels like to be normal again.

Only recently did I start taking something for my anxiety. In the last few months, crowds and the unknown have been terrifying. I avoided going places with people at all. I'd rather go grocery shopping by myself with my headphones in, just so the little voice in the back of my mind would stop telling me that all my friends hated me and didn't really care.

Originally, this piece was just going to talk about my depression and anxiety, but then I realized that there was one more thing I was hiding. And this was even more important, albeit more terrifying, to finally let out.

I am bisexual.

I like men and I like women. I am not being "indecisive" or "picky" or "confused." I am not just going through a phase. I will not pick one sex in the end. I love people, regardless of what sex or gender, and that will never change. If you have a problem with that, I can show you to the door.

I'm tired of being scared and pretending to be someone that I am not. I am who I am, and that's enough for me.

I know so many young adults and teens who are struggling with these very same issues and honestly, there is no easy way to come out as being anything but straight. It's just as hard to be vulnerable and tell people that you are struggling with mental illness.

I'm tired of feeling weak and helpless, though, and starting today, I am embracing all of me—even the parts that I do not necessarily like.

I might lose friends or family from coming out. That's ok. The great ones will always be by my side. They are the ones there for me on my really bad days, my really good days, and everything in between. Thank you.

To anyone reading this who is lost and confused, I see you. Things will get better. It is not easy, by any means, but it will one day be worth it. Do not be afraid to ask for help—I know it's hard, but it can change your life.

Never apologize for being you because, darling, you are absolutely perfect just the way you are.

Cover Image Credit: unsplash.com

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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The Rejuvenating Qualities Of Panama City Beach

There are definitely some healing properties in these ocean waves.

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We have gone to the beach quite a few times this summer season. We live around 2 hours away and try to make it to Panama City Beach at least once a week. It's a venture for sure, but compared to the 7-day drive from The Rockies of Colorado to the Peanut Capital of the World, Dothan, Alabama (a time in which no one has heard of) we can't really make any excuses.

Now, I am sitting here typing away in the early morning while watching a summer storm blow in over the sea but, make no doubt about it, the ocean and its shores are one of the most healing, rejuvenating places on this planet. There is a calm in the break of the waves on the shoreline, and yet it pairs with an unspoken knowledge that the ocean is this uncontrollable force.

This isn't a speech on saving the planet and being eco-friendly, recycling and watching out for our beaches, which is a topic I am very passionate about and a post I would totally create. This is simply an open letter to those who might need to get away in order to revive their souls.

If you are anything like me, you have emotions pulsing through you at all times, ideas about everything under the sun, a longing to explore and adventure, and a deep need for rest, all at the same time. There are not many things in this world that truly satisfy me. There is a lot of disappointment. There is a lot of wrongdoing and suffering. It's overwhelming.

That is why I come to the beach. It removes the overwhelming things.

You see, there is nothing complicated about the waves (unless you make it complicated, but we stay away from people like you). They are simple. They are peaceful. And 99% of the time in my life that is what I need, simplicity and peace. I over-complicate things myself, I make excuses and I feel hurt in most moments of my life. I lived an exposed, vulnerable lifestyle that drains me.

That is why I love the ocean. It replenishes my drained soul. It energizes me. It is motivating and inspiring, relaxing and unwinding.

I don't pass out advice. I never have. I do, however, try living an honest life, always in the moment, so I can share my experiences in hopes that others might find them helpful. That is precisely why I am writing this. Because if you could just get to the beach, to a shoreline, it might change you. Seeing this vast landscape changes your perspective on the situations in your life you thought might overtake you.

The ocean speaks. It heals. It tells your worries to cease and your mind to rest. It tells your body to relax and your busy schedule that there IS time to take a moment. Don't forget to take a moment for yourself this summer season.

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