The first time I can recall truly feeling the deep depression that glued me to my bed was when I was 13 years old. I remember laying on my fluffy purple blanket and the only thing I could manage to do was breath. I didn't eat, I didn't drink, I just stayed in bed. At the time I am not sure I truly understood what depression was. When my grandmother finally got me to talk to her the only word I could think of was 'upset'. I didn't understand what was happening. I felt weak and sick, completely debilitated.

Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many other mental illnesses should better be understood by the people who suffer from them. It's okay that you're weak right now, it's okay that you don't want to get out of bed sometimes. When you have the flu or any illness, people encourage you to stay in bed for a while before getting back on your feet. Mental illness is just that, an illness, so we should treat it as such.

At the end of my junior year of high school, I was struggling as I had never struggled before. I had faced a physical and emotional trauma that I didn't feel comfortable telling others, my best friend and I had drifted apart, I was discovering new medical conditions and syncope I didn't know about before, and my boyfriend and I had broken up. At the time I didn't know that I also suffered from clinical depression and anxiety, so I bottled it up.

Eventually, it all became too much and I felt like I couldn't cope with one more thing or I was going to explode. I was back to laying in bed all day, avoiding responsibilities like studying for exams or taking care of myself physically. Again, I felt like I couldn't move. I finally reached the point where I felt like I had no other options. After a conversation with my sister that helped open my eyes, I knew I had to take action. I finally opened up to my mom and got some serious help.

I meet with many different therapists, psychiatrists, and aids. I learned many coping mechanisms that I still use today, years later. I even tried out some medications that could help my chemical imbalance. It was refreshing to find out that I wasn't alone, that I had so many options to get through my worst days. The most important thing I learned, was that I should treat my worst days like I would treat any other sickness. It's okay to take a day or two off when the world is just too overwhelming. It's okay to let yourself rest when your depression is pulling you into your deepest places. Your anxieties bring on physical symptoms too, so take a minute and care for yourself. Don't be afraid to use one of those sick days your boss gave you. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you should never forget that.