Growing up, I have always struggled with depression and anxiety. It never really hit me until high school. I found myself crying for no apparent reason, and feeling tired and deflated constantly. I would have to drag myself to track practice, church, and other obligations when all I wanted to do was read in bed. It started off slowly, and then, later on, I began to have frequent panic attacks. A little over a month ago, I had my first panic attack in years. I was shocked at how bad it was. I am still recovering and I feel my anxiety disorder every day. The depression aspect of my mental health has luckily decreased since high school. I've learned that whenever a part of my life becomes unbalanced, this is when my anxiety skyrockets. This is also an issue with my environment. Whenever my apartment is dirty, I begin feeling my anxiety come on.

I am so grateful to be living in a time where it is finally okay to have mental health issues. In high school, not many people were talking about mental health just yet. It was still somewhat taboo to discuss: panic attacks, depression, self-harm, or anything of the sort. Now more than ever, it is completely okay to talk about issues like this; mental health is not a joke. With more people committing suicide than ever before, it is tremendously important to take it seriously. Whenever I hear jokes about mental health around campus, it makes me feel so angry. If you have never experienced anxiety, you will never understand. I am so lucky to have friends and family who understand my situation. When I start pulling away from my friends, they understand why. They know to give me space, but also to know that they are there. This is exactly how everyone should be.

I am so glad that for once the media is helping to improve the image of mental health. Celebrities are now talking about this issue, which for younger people is a big deal. The minds of America's children are so impressionable, it makes me so happy to see big artists and actors discussing the importance of mental health. There is no worse feeling than feeling your whole world crumble and not being able to see the light. It does not mean that a person is pessimistic at all, but rather that they need help to climb out of the dark hole that they are in. This is important for people to know.

Depression and anxiety can seriously harm relationships and friendships. Personally, I find myself taking out some of my own issues on my partner. I then have to redirect and remind myself that, "this too shall pass." The biggest way to help my anxiety is to think about how everything will be beautiful soon. I like to imagine my life 10 years from now. I like to think about how happy I'll be, the kind of dog I'll have, my future husband, and possibly babies. Thinking of the future, and manifesting it into fruition is a major way to help your anxiety. Being able to talk about these issues in 2019, is such a blessing. It is okay, you will be okay, and things will get better.