For years, I was afraid to seek help. I was afraid of what my friends might say, or how they might treat me. I thought they would call me crazy or just not want to be around me anymore. I felt embarrassed that I could not control my emotions or feelings. Everyone else seemed perfect, what if I wasn't? I believed that if I just pretended like nothing was wrong, everything would go away. Well I was wrong.

I needed help. I needed to talk about how I was feeling to someone other than my parents. The problem was that I believed therapy was for people who had serious disorders or problems and I did not think my problems even came close to severe. I had an amazing family, went to a great school, and was surrounded by friends, so how could my life be so bad? I hated the fact that I felt so alone and so anxious without a seemingly good reason. So, I pushed my feelings away. I hid them from the world but to my surprise the feelings didn't go away. Instead, they piled up until I was ready to burst.

I took everything out on my parents. All of my anger, my sorrow, and my pain came out in harsh, hurtful words. I couldn't control how I was feeling because I couldn't understand why I felt the way I did. I knew my parents were hurt by what I said, but they didn't give up on me. When my mom asked me if I wanted to talk to someone, I laughed. I told myself, "I'm fine. It's not like I'm depressed. There's nothing wrong with my life." But things continued to worsen and she asked me again. When I said yes I think she was surprised. Surprised, but relieved.

I saw a counselor for one year, and in that time, my life changed drastically. The counselor helped me to dissect and better understand my problems, get a handle on my emotions, set future goals, and work on my self-worth. During that time, I didn't lose any friends, I didn't get called crazy, and I wasn't excluded from anything. I also I wasn't afraid of what people would think anymore because I cared more about my mental health.

At the end of the year, I left for college thinking I had everything under control. For the first year, I did. I was excited to be at a new place and meeting new people. I was so distracted by my new experiences that I didn't have time to worry about anything. However, sophomore year, I realized I was slowly losing control. I began sleeping all of the time, I was not eating, I was skipping class, and never wanted to leave my room. I needed help again. But this time was different. I didn't have to question my decision, I immediately scheduled an appointment and have continued to

I know the stigma surrounding mental illness is scary to think about. But what is worse is the idea that mental illness controlled my life. It got in the way of everyday tasks and made me question my own purpose. I needed help and I was afraid to ask for it because of how I thought people would react. My advice to anyone reading is that you conquer your fear and get the help you deserve. You are not crazy for wanting to find a peace of mind and a little bit of happiness in your life. If getting the help you need can make your life a little easier then do it without worrying of what other people might think. No, you're problems don't disappear by talking to a counselor. They will always be present in your life, but how you handle those problems means everything.

Dedicated to all the people who stuck by and supported me when I needed it most.