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Our Stories

Mental Illness

From Pain to Gaining Hope by Dior, Age: 27

I've become a mental health activist because I want my story to be a source of inspiration for others. Also, I want to give people the opportunity to share their story through my activist projects.

How did it all start? When did you first start experiencing symptoms or using?

I first started experiencing symptoms when I was very young. A lot of people when they describe their mental illness they say that don’t remember when they did NOT have it – I feel the same way. I started feeling extremely sad all the time and felt worthless. I felt that life was meaningless and that it wasn’t worth living. I just had an overall change in attitude towards life which made it very difficult for me to live on a daily basis.

What kind of help did you get at first? Did it work?

I first got help going to therapy and talking about my feelings. I ended up learning a lot about myself and my behavioral patterns. I eventually started taking antidepressants which I have learned work better for my recovery in conjunction with therapy.

Were there any turning points where things really started to change for the better?

I believe that when I came to realize that my experience wasn’t just about me that I knew that my life was worth it. Amplifying the voices of others became a turning point because this is something that affects others. Receiving such great feedback from my work humbles me and makes me so happy. It makes my experience worth it because I know that I can help others. We need to work as a community to destigmatize mental illness.

What’s your life like now? What have you been able to accomplish, and what are you working towards?

My life even though there are tough days are filled with purpose. I’ve become a mental health activist because I want my story to be a source of inspiration for others. Also, I want to give people the opportunity to share their story through my activist projects. If we discuss this more, then the stigma will eventually fade. I want to show others that their experiences matter and that this can have a positive result and impact on others. Check out my current project:   http://diorvargas.com/poc-mental-illness/

What would you say to people who are having a tough time? What’s helped you that you wish you had known earlier

I would tell people who are feeling depressed to hang in there. I know it’s hard and there are days where you feel like you cannot go on. You may feel like it will never stop. But life is worth it. As you grow older and with your own personal work through your own version of recovery you will know how to live life and keep on going. Keep in mind that the simple things make life worth living. There are people who love you and want you to succeed. Keep at it.