Mental illness is called that because it is just that: an illness.
We don't make it all up in our minds.
It's not imaginary.
It affects life each and every day, just like a cold, or allergies, but on a different, deeper, perhaps more difficult level.
It can stem from any number of things, many of which we have no control over: chemical imbalance, stress, genetic disposition, life experiences, tragedy, anxiety, the weather (yes, even the weather).
It can be so overwhelming and focused that it blocks out all logic and reason.
Sometimes it can be hidden beneath years of practiced smiles.
Sometimes it is out in the open, but misunderstood.
It isn't a 24 hour flu-like thing.
It can take months, years, and even a lifetime to figure out how to cope.
Not necessarily cure. But cope.
It is affects all types of people. It's not really biased in who it targets.
Chances are someone you know and love is dealing with it in some form or another right now.
The stigmas are still there.
But I am not afraid to share my story and face the stigmas.
Because after 7+ years of panic attacks and anxiety as a teen and in my 20's, I am a stronger woman because of it.
God took the ashes and turned them into something beautiful.
And if I can help just one person because of the mental illness I endured,
Then it was completely worth it.
*There is no professional background here.
Just my experiences and the experiences shared with me by friends and family.
No books to back me.