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For those who don’t know me by now, my name is Jen. And I live with mental illness. I’ve had mental illness for 25 years. I was diagnosed at 10 years old. I started taking Wellbutrin and seeing a therapist. I stopped taking my medicine and my depression got worse during high school and college. I suffered a breakdown in 2005 and suffered another one this past year. I was diagnosed again with depression and with panic and anxiety disorder. This is my story. In my own words.

I don’t remember talking with a therapist about depression. At 10, I didn’t know what depression meant. I thought is was nothing. I watched my mother suffer a breakdown before I was diagnosed. My mother has schizophrenia and major depression. She has attempted suicide many times. I haven’t. But we both had to be treated for help. Hospitalization sometimes for a while in order to get our lives back.

When I was first diagnosed, I felt alone. I felt unwanted. I felt like a loser. I withdrew from society and avoided people at all costs. A lot of people didn’t know what it was like dealing with this. Many people still don’t understand what mental illness is. For me, it’s like someone is dragging me to hell with the devil. My soul is brutally attacked and violated. I suffer from constant assaults of sadness, pain, emptiness, loneliness, I cry sometimes for hours. My mind spirals out of control with so many things. It’s like my brain is being taken over by a negative entity. Some days, I don’t even want to get out of bed let alone show up for work. I’ve lost friends and isolated myself.

I’ve struggled with so much pain that it kills me when I see people who are happy and smiling. Must be nice to witness so much joy in your life when I’m over here suffocating from depression. I’m constantly judged and categorized in a box. People have their own misconceptions about me. I’ve been called so many things in my life. I’ve gained so much weight because I developed an eating disorder called Binge Eating. I eat to make myself feel better. I’m overweight and I don’t like the person staring back at me. I suffer from insomnia and some days I can sleep and other days I can’t. Most people turn the other cheek when they find out that I have mental illness. They think I’m a freak of nature or something. It feels like no one understands what it’s like. I know mostly this is hereditary and if so, I can’t stand not knowing more about my mother and her past. She won’t talk at all. Lies and secrets eat away at you. They haunt you, assault you at all hours of the day.

Step into my shoes for a day and see what it’s like. Would you finally understand me? And would you drop your misconceptions about me, too? For many years, I’ve never told anyone my story.  I never want anyone’s pity, I just want your respect. Don’t judge me before you get to know me.

I’ve seen many things in my life. I’ve seen my mother attempt suicide many times. I’ve seen my mother breakdown in public and in private. I’ve witnessed a crime. I’ve had a classmate commit suicide.

Help me, get the word out. Follow me on my website http://nolaughingmatterlivingwithdepression.com and read my entire story from beginning up to now. Really, read it and share it. Then follow Bring Change 2 Mind and read stories from other survivors like me. Listen to Glenn Close’s story. We can make this world a better place if we stop and educate each other. Talk to anyone. End this stigma once and for all.

Disclaimer: I’m not a sponser for Bring Change 2 Mind. I’m just a person telling my story and getting the word out.

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