Brett s Story
Hewlett, NY USA
“My name is Brett Epstein and I’m from Hewlett, New York. I am a junior at the College of Charleston and studying political science. I suffer from anxiety and depression, which I was diagnosed with when I was 19 years old.
Believe or not, when I was diagnosed it was kind of a relief. For my whole life I had known that something just wasn’t right, so when I finally was diagnosed and began to seek help, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
I’d say the toughest times for me are when I have a lot on my plate. Most don’t understand what the illnesses really do, but the biggest issues are the feelings they put in my head. For the average person a test next Tuesday may be stressful, but for me, it is the end of the world.
Talking about this right now I know that isn’t a logical thought, but in the moment I can’t help myself. That is what it is like to live with an illness that you can’t control. I feel every emotion that others have, but 1000x as severe.
What helps me out the most is my friends; they are my greatest outlet for my illnesses. Some of them don’t even realize how much they are helping me just by listening to how I am feeling and giving me their feedback.
I without a doubt feel the stigma around mental illnesses, especially as a male. It may not be thought of as a ‘manly’ thing to do, but being able to talk about how I feel, not only helps myself, but also allows me to lend a hand to others who are struggling.
To those currently struggling: reach out. There is no reason to deal with your issues on your own. I spent 19 years of my life going through ups-and-downs and never asking for help. Not to say that I am always feeling better, but the fact that I have built a support system around me to help when I’m down has changed my life.”