I can still feel the hot tears strolling down my face while I was clutching onto the door handle to my parents' room. "Mama please open the door..please..please". I remember saying that to my mother while I was desperately waiting for her to open the door. She locked herself in her room day in and day out when she was in the midst of a depressive episode. My dad would always try to reassure me that she was just tired, but I always knew the truth. She was much more than just tired.

I am no stranger to mental illness. It has surrounded my life. I have not lived it personally, but have experienced it with my mother who is diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I do not expect to know first hand the whirlwind of emotions and anxiety that clouds the mind with a person enduring the hardships of mental illness. I would like to highlight quickly that I am so proud of the progress mental health has made over the years. It is becoming more accepted to talk about mental illnesses and the stigma is slowly subsiding. So with all this talk about mental illness awareness and ways to be patient and understanding with people who suffer from it, what about the people who experience it on the receiving end? No one talks about the friends and family that require just as much support.

With all the unforgettable memories of my mother shutting me out when she felt down, I have never held it against her. I cannot make things pretty by lying and saying that no damage was done to my esteem. Over the years I have realized that I get into toxic relationships where I give too much and receive nothing. "Will they leave if I am not good enough?". This is an insecurity of mine. Only I could put an end to this cycle. But that's just it. We all have a choice. My mother chose to not get the help she needed. Eventually, she chose to get help through therapy and medication.

Since then, there have been downfalls, but she picks herself back up. Everyone's story is different and there is no magic cure to depression/anxiety/mania. We don't get a say to enter this life, but we are a part of something much bigger than just ourselves. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones, and the rest of the world to be the best person we could be. Whether your best person be achieved through numerous therapy sessions or taking a pill consistently everyday, I promise that there is a way. No one deserves to be a victim of a mental health illness and no one deserves to be treated poorly by victims of mental health illnesses. Loved ones will always be willing to help, but they can only go so far. Make the choice that will better yourself and the lives of those around you. As best we know we only get one life, but if we do it right, once is enough. In life, there are many things out of our control, but this is not one of them. We are never alone and there is a way out of the darkness.