Apparently it's World Mental Health Day, and I couldn't help but get behind it. This topic is so personal to me not only from my own experience but also my passion in my choice of studying. I lived most of my life thinking there was something wrong with me or I was just weaker than everyone else around me. Come to me discovering at the age of 18 that I had a depressive and anxiety disorder, and everything made sense. Since then I finally have a name to what I am fighting, and not every day has been a victory but every day has been worth fighting. I have not completely lost to the dark thoughts in my head, although I have gotten close. God had given me great comfort in the form of His love from Himself and the people He had provided me. I hope to one day give that same love to others by my studying psychology and helping others who struggle with the invisible disease in their minds.

To anyone else dealing with a mental illness: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. No matter what you mind tells you about you're incapabilities or permanent failures they are WRONG. There are people who deal with the same illness you do, and although the exact details of your experience are not the same they understand the fight; I understand the fight. You are not fighting in vain. You matter. You are valid. You can win, and we are all rooting for you.

To anyone not dealing with mental illness themselves but knows someone who is (or you think you don't, but I can assure you that you do): Thank you for everything you do for us. That simple hug or smile or "It's okay," means the world to us. When you listen to us cry over the phone or hold us while we shake we know we are inconveniencing you, but the fact you are there anyway will stay with us forever. You do us such a great service, and even if you think it doesn't mean much that may have been the little bit of kindness that we needed to stay alive.

Mental health is important. Mental illness is real. Help is available. Reach out for it. You are loved. You are cared for. We love you. We want you here. You are important to us. Stay.

And in the words of someone else who knows what we're going through: "Have the courage to exist." (-Daniel Howell)