“The greatest mental health stigma that I faced came from myself. That was the greatest barrier because when I first developed anxiety and fell into depression, my immediate thought was that I wasn’t normal anymore and I started to doubt my sanity. This type of thinking likely threw me deeper into my depression because I did not want to open up to the deeper meaning underneath it all. I wanted to fix it quickly and get out of it because it was undesirable to the outside world and therefore undesirable to me. I wanted to rush to get better, but the only problem in a situation like this is that it doesn’t help with your mental state. My one piece of advice for anyone struggling with depression and anxiety is to just be open-minded about your feelings in the moment, even if it’s the panic and doom that comes with anxiety or depression. Don’t necessarily view it as this disease that you need to get rid of as quickly as possible. Embrace the reasons why you might be feeling this way and acknowledge this experience as a part of a pathway to realizing who you are.”

-Chris (Irvine, CA)