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Danielle’s Struggle With Mental Illness , Age: 28

What have you struggled with? When did it become too much?

I have struggled with my childhood trauma, depression phases and hiding all my emotions. It became too much to deal with in college. I was always putting everything and everyone before myself because I didn’t feel valuable enough and it made me feel better to help others. I stayed in my dorm and isolated myself from everyone. I had hit rock bottom and I ended up in the hospital for the first time.

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

I felt numb, and alone and felt like no one could understand what I was going through because I couldn’t relate to anyone. I couldn’t relate to anyone because everyone I knew didn’t have a diagnosis, didn’t struggle with mental illness, or was open to talk about mental illness. It wasn’t clear to me that I had the support and understanding of my close circle of friends who I call my family, and my therapist.

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

The turning point that had changed my life for the better was after my hospitalization, my two closest friends had taken me into their home. I felt that had changed my life in such a positive way I was able to start over and have a stable household setting. A stable house hold setting means a lot to me because it’s a safe place I can go home to at the end of the day. I started school, and got a stable full time job.

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

I am currently in school for Respiratory Therapy, and I am a Warmline Operator. I am working towards graduating from Respiratory School, getting my own house, and starting a new chapter in my life. The life I have built is worth living to me and it’s worth it because I am helping others.

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

Don’t isolate yourself because you feel alone. You are not alone because there is always someone out there who can understand your situation or story. Try and reach out to someone. Always take time to do positive things for yourself to reward yourself for getting through hard times and maintaining goals. “Self- care is first care”.

I stayed in my dorm and isolated myself from everyone. I had hit rock bottom and I ended up in the hospital for the first time.

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