At the end of 8th grade, I started noticing symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Without the proper resources and courage to reach out for help, I struggled to deal with my mental health on my own. This isolation worsened my negative thoughts and symptoms. I began losing sleep, I struggled to physically take care of myself, and I continued my downward spiral. I kept my feelings to myself until they became so overwhelming that they were unbearable. After finally seeking out a friend, I realized how helpful it is to have an outlet. However, I still lacked resources and was not receiving the level of help I needed. My symptoms continued to escalate. After using some unhealthy coping mechanisms, I decided to ask for a therapist during the summer before my senior year. I went to therapy once every week and continue to go on a biweekly basis. Confiding in my therapist allowed me to gain a new comfortability with my mental state and I was able to speak more openly about my journey. This new assurance allowed me to talk about my past and present with those who are important to me. Creating this network of support not only benefited me, but also those in my life. I noticed my friends began opening up about their own mental health journeys and establishing their own networks of support. I aspire to help people find their own safe spaces and communities where they feel comfortable discussing mental health so they do not feel the same isolation I did.
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