Tatiana s Story

Clark, NJ USA

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"My whole life I felt like something was holding me back. Somedays, I’m happy. Somedays, I’m not. Somedays I can go outside and see the world around me, while other days I just sit at home and think, think about how scared I am.

 

My anxiety keeps me from doing stuff I love. I fear that I will hurt or anger someone, or maybe I’m afraid I’m not good enough. It physically pains me sometimes to do anything. I just feel like sitting in my bed is the only thing that keeps me safe, but I know that is not a healthy lifestyle.

 

My whole life changed when I lost my grandparents. I developed anxiety and depression because they were the glue to our family and all my happiness was stolen from me. Everything after that time became dull. I slowly started to fall into a dark pit of depression and could not think about living. My whole life became a joke to me.

 

I forgot about the importance of mental health and surrounded myself with people who didn’t care about me. I lost everything and just started to do things that everyone else wanted because I thought forgetting about myself was a good idea. I blamed myself and didn’t think I deserved a life. In high school I had suicidal thoughts, I self-harmed, and I hated everything about myself, but something in me told me not to.

 

When I joined the marching band, everything started to look a bit brighter to me. Of course, my mental illness didn’t go away, but I had people supporting me. I wasn’t alone anymore. I had my band director, guard instructor, band members, and band parents looking out for me. I never admitted to them that I had any struggles, but the fact that they cared about me changed my life. Honestly, it saved my life.

 

Now I am still struggling to fight this battle. My mental illness certainly is an obstacle, but it doesn’t define me. It will not defeat me. I was able to graduate college a year early, hold a steady job, and even explore arts I never thought I would be good at such as photography, writing and painting.

 

As a 21 year old, I know things are not going to get easier as time moves forward, but I have faith that I will live a long life. My negative thoughts are still here but, because of all the support I have now, I know that my life is my life and I should not prevent myself from living.

 

Take action, get out, do everything you can to do what you love. Because, at the end of the day, this is your life and living is something you should be proud of."

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