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All stories will be reviewed prior to being posted. Any names of clinics, medications or professional groups or references to self harm will be edited from the story. Upon submission, the user acknowledges the information will be made public, but only your first name will be displayed. Thank you for talking. You could be helping someone else.

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Kate’s story

A time will come when you do not feel as bad as you do right now.

What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?

I started experiencing depression when I was in junior high. At the time, no one really talked about depression or mental illness. What was challenging for me is that most people saw me as being this happy-go-lucky girl with this bright and sunny disposition, and no one took me seriously when I was in the throes of my darkness. Any time I tried to share my pain, I was stuffed right back into the box that everyone wanted to put me in. Smiling. Outgoing. Loud. I felt even more alone and depressed because no one wanted to acknowledge that I had this other, darker side of me.

How did you overcome this experience?

It took years of self-injury, a suicide attempt, and being hospitalized on behalf of both of these behaviors to eventually find the right doctors, meds, and therapists to help me figure out how to manage my depression – and most importantly, reach out to people and practice self-care when I notice myself slipping into my dark place. It didn’t happen overnight, and I’ve fallen on my face more times than I care to admit. But I’ve got the skills and the tools I need to overcome my episodes.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

You are not alone. A time will come when you do not feel as bad as you do right now. Promise. Find someone who will listen to you. Fill your lungs with fresh air. And even if it’s hard, find one thing that you’re grateful for each day.

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