Browse Personal Stories

by Octavia S. Hicks
Thus began my journey to explore GAD more deeply... Along the way, I found the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. I read shared stories, explored resources, and joined a forum full of people like me; a safe space. This community became a beacon of light and a much-needed outlet.
by Joseph Ettinger
This story isn’t just about the struggles, it’s about the next stage of my self-improvement process. It’s about an enlightening understanding that I now realize might be the key to OCD recovery, not just for myself, but for others as well. This being the realization that authentic friendship and genuine community, in complement with therapy and medication, is what truly drives OCD recovery.
by Ed Barton
I battled social anxiety disorder for over 20 years before finally overcoming it. Over that time, I learned a lot of valuable lessons. These are some of the things that I wish someone could’ve told me when I was first going through the struggle.
by Julie Streifel
If you’re feeling hopeless, worthless, like a burden or disappointment, or stuck and filled with despair thinking no one understands or cares; don’t believe those lies. There is a purpose for your life - there is a purpose for this pain. Don’t miss your future by choosing to end it in this dark season of your life.
by Niels Rahder
For me, my experiences with mental illness guided me on a path of wanting to be physically and psychologically well and healthy, and also being grateful for and appreciating the beauty of life.
by Henry Ntege
I know the road to recovery is long and fraught with challenges, but with the support of my community and the solidarity of those who share my struggle, I am committed to changing the narrative. I am no longer alone, and together, we are stepping out of the shadows to fight the unseen battles.
by Radiant Vibe
The relentless cycle of worry and fear can be overwhelming, but it's also what drives me to advocate for mental health awareness and support.
by Athina Anastasiou
It felt like I was constantly swimming against the tide, struggling to keep my head above water. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and support from loved ones played crucial roles in helping to manage my stress levels.
by Martin Kovalik
I was diagnosed with OCD, autism, and depression. In elementary school, I always felt different—I didn't understand the people around me, and I was treated badly.
by Bryce Mackie
My goal is to destigmatize the topics of mental health and addiction and to create awareness so that people suffering can ask for help, know they are not alone, and realize there is always hope.
by Augustine Raynelle
Read "Ode to Bipolar Disorder, a poem describing what it's like living with bipolar disorder, written by a member of the ADAA community.
by Maria Scazzero
I was diagnosed early with my first mental health disorder – ADHD – at the age of 12. Six years later I received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. And at 34, OCD. This was the most challenging, both in terms of the symptoms and the treatment.
by Goldyn Gambit
My music persona “Goldyngambit” has become my brand to be an advocate of mental health awareness. And had I not battled this illness, I wouldn’t have been able to create my art.
by Alexis Belton
As an athlete struggling with mental health issues, there came a time when I had to step away from the physical game and concentrate on the mental game. It was not an easy decision.
by Cara Bean
As a kid, mental health was a confusing mystery that no adult that I knew addressed with me. Coping skills, stress, anxiety, depression, and substance use all seemed like things to figure out on my own or with kids my own age who knew little more than I did.
by Lily Meola
The story behind my newest single, "Over the Moon," stemmed from my absolute rock bottom. It’s as if the walls around me were caving in one after the other. Growing up became mandatory, and the light of being a carefree twenty-something blew out.
by Lily Christophersen
Living with Emetophobia is a constant challenge. Nausea plagues me relentlessly, feeding into a vicious cycle of anxiety. Despite the hardships, I hold onto hope for progress.
by Gianna Garcia
I would always reminisce on everything I had said or did during the day and beat myself up for it. I felt that my life could potentially change but I still had no idea how to change my habits or get out of the state of mind I had now lived in for 2 years.
by Karena Kilcoyne
After a while, my life began to take on meaning. I let myself feel. I unearthed pain, raw emotions, and intense feelings. These are not minor feats, especially for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety.
by Lauren Marcinek
Anxiety can come on randomly at any time—it’s normal! I’ve learned that grounding is the best way to bring yourself back down from an attack. Here is one technique I’ve learned which uses the five senses.
by Bryan Jung
With everything that has happened in my life, I’ve come to learn that every second and every moment cannot, and should not, be taken for granted. Anything can happen in a split second and life can instantly change course forever. I make an effort to not just go through, but conquer each and every day.
by Kellene Diana
Anxiety and depression took over and consumed every aspect of life, I didn’t shower for weeks because I was so pre-occupied with fear and panic!
by Jimmy Lamanna
At the young age of 7 years old, I was diagnosed with agoraphobia. At the time, I didn't understand such a big word. Nobody does when you are that young. As I grew older, things only felt like they were getting worse.
by Paige Kimball
Getting sick was both sudden and gradual. The timeline of my mental health disorder, or rather disorders because I endured several, was so erratic, waxing and waning, often corresponding to a momentous event in my life or the birth of one of my children or the death of a loved one.
by John Rossi
Far too young, I used to dream about a place I could go where I wouldn’t have to worry. To know that there was a place you could go if you struggled with “mental problems”.
by Britt
I’m envious of people who say they don’t experience this mental road blocker. I wish I could turn the anxious switch off, be more laid back and care free.
by Dominique Castro
The stigma of mental illness continues to be an issue in our world. Its impact will often delay a person who struggles with mental health from addressing their concerns the moment they have them.
by MORGXN
In September of 2015, I lost my dad suddenly. I often get connected to people who have experienced the sudden loss or loss of a parent at an early age — sometimes it feels like I should wear a name tag and say, 'I lost my dad early on'...
by Jami Schadler
At the age of 15, I developed an eating disorder and have struggled with it for 25 years. This past year I found my strength to finally beat this disease. During the last 25 years, I suffered in silence because the resources were just not out there.
by Small Boss
You’ll often hear people say, “I’m so OCD”. You may have jokingly said it yourself. We all like to keep things neat and tidy. Perhaps, “We’re all a little OCD,” right? Wrong. 
by Tim van Rooijen
Without therapy I truly believe I would not have been able to get better nor would I have been able to accept the anxiety as a part of who I am. My anxiety will never be completely gone and I have come to terms with that, but now I try to redirect it in a positive way.
by Loretta
Now in my 70's, I can look back over my life and see some of the positive things that resulted from having experienced depression.
by David Wimbish
The dull ache of depression had lodged in my belly for several years like a sponge, soaking away the dopamine and serotonin from the rest of my body, buoyed only by, “it runs in the family,” from a generation that thought therapy, and especially medication, meant institutionalization and perhaps an eventual lobotomy.  
by Tim and Mike Bernard
My father and I wrote IT SOUNDED BETTER IN MY HEAD — a fictional account of my mental health journey and my personal growth through music.  In a country, where it seems the majority of our youth are silently struggling with mental health, I think our story will resonate for a wide population as we all suffer together.
by Jessica Wendi Abel
When I was 9-months pregnant with my second baby, I tried to find a children’s picture book to read with my nearly five-year-old about a family living with the most common condition after childbirth—postpartum depression—and was shocked to find no book like this in 2020. I set out to create a resource for the 1 in 7 women who will experience postpartum depression along with their families. 
by Gordon Fraser
“As traumatized children, we always dreamed that someone would come and save us. We never dreamed that it would, in fact, be ourselves as adults.” – Alice Little 
by Daneisha Carter
My name is Daneisha and I'm an African American woman who suffers from severe anxiety and stress. I was around 18 years old when I had my first panic attack. I couldn't breathe and it felt like I was going to die.
by Carmen M. Tumialan Lynas, PhD
Most would agree that treating invasive cancer when it is still just the size of a mustard seed has a much better prognosis than waiting and treating it when it metastasizes into a larger, less curable disease. My cancer experience makes me more resolute about treating anxiety early. 
by Shigeko Ito
Growing up in Japan with a workaholic surgeon father and an often-absent socialite mother, I was raised by a revolving cast of caregivers who worked at my father's hospital. An unstable home environment and lack of a consistent caregiver created in me a melancholic, anxious child prone to insomnia.
by Shanean Henry
My mental and physical state was so strained but I could not find time to show weakness because I was a mother of two and needed to get back to work in 2 weeks.
by Brandon Karasinski (AESTHETIC))
For many years music helped me to feel less alone going through something I hadn’t come to understand about myself until recently. My new song CARE describes that fork in the road we all come across in our lives where we have two paths to choose walking down.
by Eternal Ballers
In 2020, I made a life-altering decision to take my passion for music to a new level. This decision set me on a path of self-discovery, helping me overcome depression and anxiety while also aiming to assist others in their own journeys.
by Gary Hirsch
I draw small robot figures on the backs of domino tiles and give them to people. I also encourage others to draw their own Bots, as they are called, and name them as a creative way to connect community. For me, the Bots and all my artwork are a way to help myself, but also a way to recognize, support and celebrate others.
by Jamie Factor
My name is Jamie and I battle anxiety—social anxiety—and depression. As I write this, I am 18 and it's the middle of June. I'm going to college in a few months, which is something I never thought was possible.
by Min Jung
As I made connections between Buddhism and neuroscience, I realized they both shared a common insight: the need to retrain our brains and ourselves to value inner peace over fleeting pleasure, to find joy amidst challenges, and to discover happiness in the very process of living.
by Edward Feigel
I didn’t know that what I was experiencing was called depression until I was in my early forties, although with the benefit of hindsight I have come to realize that I have been dealing with it for almost my entire life.
by Helvin Augin
When my mom saw my situation, she also understood there was something wrong. She took me to a psychiatrist and they confirmed that I had clinical depression.
by Geralyn Ritter
To me, a survivor of trauma was someone who had been in a gruesome war or was violently abused or someone who was trafficked. I was just in a really bad accident, no one intended to hurt me. I should be happy that I survived when others didn’t and yes I was in pain all the time and I felt lousy, but I was one of the lucky ones. How could I be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder? 
by Ian Chew
At the core of all this social anxiety was the shame of not being good enough. Not being successful enough. Not being smart enough. Not being perfect enough.  Shame drove anxiety, which then drove perfectionism.
by Roxanne Dierking
Due to the lack of awareness and understanding when people get (panic attacks) for the first time, they can think they are having a heart attack since your heart beats so vigorously while it's happening.
by Richard Winepol
I have severe anxiety disorder with agoraphobia and panic disorder. These disorders made me have to change my life in many ways. You gotta keep fighting, stay positive, do things that don't frighten you until you beat the fear.
by Shrushti Chauhan
When you have depression, it’s like it snows every day. Some days it snows four feet. You shovel all morning, but your street never gets ploughed.
by Olga Kavina
I work as a freelance illustrator. It is very difficult for me to fit into a team and I prefer to work from home and communicate only with close friends. I often feel lonely, sad and anxious, but drawing helps me. I put my feelings on paper. 
by Dave Donahue
I became successful as an electrician but would self sooth with alcohol. Once I gave that up, the emotions had to go somewhere but where?
by Asher Feltman
One of the problems with OCD is that you lose so much time. That evening when my dad called me and my siblings to dinner, I went to save my progress on the game, but I couldn’t just save it and walk away like before. I was ‘stuck’.
by Daniel Michael Schooner Jr
Remember that healing takes time, but it is possible. With the right tools and support, you can overcome your struggles and live a happy and fulfilling life.
by Syeda Khan
Eating dinner at a restaurant with my family, and while eating dinner all of a sudden I’m unable to eat. I was thinking to myself this must be a food allergy, nothing like this ever happened to me before.
by Dominique Castro
Compassion fatigue is the place beyond burnout, a place so dark that light cannot penetrate it’s walls. Caregivers often wind up here because we find ourselves without help from other family members and the government.
by Ben Wheeler
I’ve learned that small momentum-based habits that I incorporate into my daily routine – and it’s a constant work in progress – like exercise, eating cleaner, meditating, limiting screen time, and journaling help keep my physical and mental health in check.
by Laura Morton
Why are we, as a nation, experiencing such catastrophic and alarmingly high rates of anxiety and mental health concerns among our youth?  
by Medrick Lihanda
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This condition controlled my every thought and action, causing me to experience panic attacks, physical pain, and intrusive thoughts.
by Dustin Paul
Music helped me through some of the toughest times of my depression. I’m a young adult now and I’ve been clinically depressed most of my life. Music was, and still is, my safe space.
by Steve Wilson
Have you ever seen a person walking on a tightrope suspended 150 feet above a deep gorge? What do they strive for most? Balance! That’s exactly what someone suffering from bipolar disorder requires most in their life.
by Adam Meyers
There are many different coping strategies people may use after experiencing trauma. They may be good and healthy, or they may be bad and unhealthy. My coping strategies were bad, unhealthy, self-destructive, and dangerous.
by Vedant Vyas
Despite seeing so many doctors, nothing concrete was coming out in the medical diagnosis. Slowly and steadily, I crafted a strategy to fight the situation. I believed that all these negativities around me can be overcome by positivity and focusing on the good things.
by Scott O'Connor

Hi to all who struggle every day. I've been struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and depression for most my life. I have been struggling since I was a child with these disorders and have seen terrible downward spirals. I couldn't get along in school or work and keep a job to support myself, a hell of a long road that nearly never ends. And I just had to put down the best little dog anyone has ever seen.

by Jordan Moore
This song is dedicated and directed to those who suffer from the condition commonly known as anxiety. As someone suffering from anxiety, I have found art as my outlet to express my feelings and combat my condition. 
by Kyle Mitchell
You might think being able to strategize is a good thing, but when it involves hours and hours of time thinking of ways to get out of having to ask a question, give a presentation, speak up in class, and generally avoid most social interaction, it can be detrimental.
by Morgan Groom
Having anxiety hasn't been easy. I learned that I have to be okay with uncertainty in my life and that not everything is always going to go the way I have planned in my head.
by Sunny

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 13. I found out what mental health was a couple of days later by having a panic attack. After going to a therapist my mental health was getting better. Two years later my cousin passed away in a car crash. That year started off as wreck when he died in January. It was really tough that year. I struggled to keep my grades up and my anxiety/depression proceeded to get worse. I depended on someone to distract me from what was going on. My happiness only depended on them. 

by Yashvi
My panic attacks started getting bad and started to occur more regularly. Almost once a day, which left me more scared.
by Chris Bateman
Well, there was something wrong with me and it wasn't until years later that I realized that I had become emotionally numb.  In the following years I read several self-help books that gave me hope and something to believe in but it took a very long time for my emotions to wake up. 
by Former NFL Player Doug Middleton
In football, I play safety. It’s a position I have taken most of my professional life but also in my journey with mental health advocacy and calling for more awareness and equity, particularly in sports.
by Morgan Zheng

 My struggle with depression and anxiety is one I still deal with every day. The hardest part is learning how to re-parent myself, to learn how to cultivate self-love, to be curious about what life might be like without my harsh inner critic.I grew up letting that inner voice, letting my fears and anxieties bury me.

by Dominique Castro
I found that treating the person, talking to the person, and seeing the person was the best and most effective way to deliver care. They were people, not merely patients.
by Gina Payne
For six weeks, I quietly suffered. I just couldn’t let anyone know what I was going through. I had learned from an early age that “I was just too emotional” and “had nothing to be sad about.”
by Aileen Mae Marfil
 And I will write. I will write until it hurts no more. I will write until the agony left expressed like a historic event that needs to be recorded hoping that like words, it can also be erased, edited, and forever saved.
by Liv Arnold

 With the #MeToo movement and the rising numbers of people affected by mental health, romance novels play a part in empowering women.

by Sammy Sucu

 As someone who has suffered chronic depression and has a family history of anxiety and addiction, I decided to take it upon myself (once I figured out my career and made enough money to support myself and my family) to make a change in the world.

by Clayton Echard
Bachelor Clayton Echard shares his experience with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a mental health condition that involves obsessively focusing on a real or perceived flaw in one’s physical appearance to a point where it interferes with daily life. If you suffer from BDD, you can find information and resources at ADAA.
by Stephanie Buccella
This was my rock bottom anxiety attack which was frightening. Where I didn’t have control over anything in my brain or my body and realized I needed help. I’m sharing my story with you because I searched for so long to find professionals or anyone who could help me. Someone who didn't just tell me," don't worry it's just anxiety."
by Melanie Sims
After her death, I received countless emails and private messages from people all over the world who said she helped them with their mental health struggles. Her joyful antics helped so many people feel better and even if only briefly take their mind off their struggles.
by April Davis
This is something that I still battle with every single day. I am just now at a point in my life where my anxiety and depression are somewhat manageable. I do still have flair-ups, but I have learned how to manage them for the most part. 
by Cassey Dale
I made this video for others to see a different perspective of how suicide can impact a family. A widow's perspective. I want to share my story in hopes that it will give someone the feeling of validation and understanding.
by Chance Riska
I stream on twitch when I have the time and when I'm not working. When I started the streams, it finally gave me a chance to open up and talk to people, which is something I really needed.
by Adam Graser

 The Custom Journal is a wellness company that uses the power of personalized journaling to help mitigate the everyday feelings of anxiety and stress.

by Zara R
I wanted to share my story to let people know they aren’t alone. Emetophobia is a lot more common than you think. It’s fixable, and it’s okay to get help.
by Jason Jepson

Trigger Warning 

by Lat35 Rowers

 What do four female athletes who broke a world record rowing 2,400 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean and people who suffer from depression, anxiety and co-occurring disorders have in common?

by Taylor Brown
I’ve always been passionate about fitness. I think that it does so much good for both the body and the mind. My passion led me to become a personal trainer, which while it could be extremely rewarding, also exposed how degrading and selfish the fitness industry could be. Even though I loved helping my clients change their lives and find new self-confidence, I grew disenchanted with the industry as a whole and eventually had to get out.
by Winnie Rosen
My mental illness began to show signs the day I turned 14. Prior to this, I lived a good life. I wasn’t extremely happy but I was content. I had some friends, I did well in school, and my family relationships were ok. But on my 14th birthday, this all changed.
by Tiara Johnson
I was one of those “strong” friends - on the outside. And I realize now how important it is to check in on your strong friends. Check in on the people in your life that seem like they are handing the uncertainties of life with grace and poise.
by Waylon Griswold
I woke up that day in early September feeling okay at first but around 8am, I became very depressed for no reason I could say exactly. I told my mother (grandmother) that I was going to go for a walk, but I had another plan. There is a 15–20-foot lighthouse by a lake near where I live. It is a truly beautiful place but, on this day, it wasn't so beautiful. 
by Tiara Johnson
For me as a Black woman, the celebration of Juneteenth is much more than just a 24-hour long holiday. Instead, it painfully reminds me of the strength, trauma and extreme sacrifice my ancestors experienced in order for me to be afforded the opportunities I have today. It also serves as a reminder of the continued work we need to do to ensure future generations are provided the same, if not additional, opportunities.
by Elza Tomy
I was very sensitive as a child and was born as a twin. At the age of 15, my first panic symptom started when my neighbor suddenly passed away and I became afraid of death. For those reading my story, I can assure you that you can come out of this completely. Anyone can recover if you are determined and put all these things together.  
by Alberto Vota
Alberto has dealt with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) for five years. Here are four ways (combined with medication and therapy) that he has found helpful in managing his anxiety and depression.
by Gina Bell
My journey with anxiety has been a process filled with loneliness, shame, and growth. When we share about these things not only does it help us not be alone, but it normalizes something that is a common experience and challenge for so many of it. It can remove the shame and start the healing!
by Kristina Rudzinskaya

What is common between the Anxiety & Depression Association of America and a Posture Apparel brand? If you stumble to find the answer, you are not alone.

by Nate Seprosky
This is my story with stress and anxiety, two words that can affect so many. Although never truly understanding the meaning of these two words at a young age, the older I got, the more I understood the impact they can have on one’s life.
by Samantha Crager
Every day is a bit of a struggle. Dealing with anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, social anxiety, and ADD isn’t easy.
by Ruth
Over all these years I was taking care of everyone else and needed to take care of me. In my process of finding myself I found that I never got over my mother's suicide. In today's world we don't have to sweep it under the rug, there doesn't need to be the skeleton in the closet and very well we don't have to suffer on our own. We shouldn't be afraid to talk to someone. 
by Fawna Burgoyne
My story just started. About 3 months ago I started suffering from anxiety attacks out of nowhere. Of course, like so many others, I kept it to myself out of shame. I’m slowly doing better but I’m still having some ups and downs. It is going to be a long road ahead.
by Daniel Vanegas
The physical aspect of my recovery, though difficult at many times, didn't come close to the mental battle I was unaware and unprepared to face. I sought out therapy. It took an adjustment period for my mind and body to find a sense of balance as I began to dig deep into the psychosis of what had happened to me. By vocalizing and working with a community I am in a much better place and want others to know they’re not alone either.
by Stacy Pierce

Work It Towels is a San Diego, CA mother and son premium fitness towel business created to inspire everybody to move. Our gym towels are incredibly soft, absorbent and motivational. We strongly believe exercise plays a significant role in maintaining positive mental health.

by T.J. Bradley
Over the past 5 years, I have worked very hard not only to heal from the past trauma that I experienced but to become the man on the outside that I have always been inside. It's not been an easy journey at all, and it is not a choice, but it is worth it.
by Neal Sideman

I have chosen to focus on my healing, and to say only a few words about my long period of suffering. Chances are, you already know – firsthand or secondhand – more than you'd care  to know about the suffering! My own suffering had its unique form, but essentially, it was no different from what you probably already know.

by Andy

I created this video because, for as long as I can remember, mental health has been a daily factor in my life-- something which has weighed me down at times and made me want to hide from the world. I wanted to share this video because I thought maybe, just maybe, it could inspire courage and strength in someone else who struggles with similar hardships. If I could inspire just one person, then this video was a success and worth all the time I spent making it.
 

by Justin Bernardez
I prioritized reading, journaling, meditating and therapy as the first ways to get myself back on track. I used music and my voice to talk about my experiences and the constant state of overthinking and anxiety that I was in.
by Kealee Hohmann

I am Kealee Hohmann. A confident, courageous and ambitious woman who works in the construction industry. However, physical appearance does not tell someone exactly who you are or what you have been through. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in May of 2020.

by Tanaya Kollipara
Overall, the state of mental health in the AAPI community is dire. There is still much that needs to be improved, both in terms of how we approach and how we care for those with mental illness in our Asian American/Pacific Islander communities.
by Yasmina Rebani-Lee

You are sitting on a chair listening to a conversation between two people. One of them is your mentor—a psychologist with a specialty in clinical psychology—and the other is a voluntary participant in a clinical research study.

by Betsy Blackwell

Sunset Therapy Apparel is a Mom and Daughter business that was created to spread awareness and offer support for those who are personally affected or have loved ones affected by mental illness. In the United States alone, 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.

by Robbie Millward

I grew up in a "normal" environment. We've all heard it before; single mom, dad out of the picture, struggles, triumphs, smiles and tears. That's how it was for me too. Except I've always had this "off" feeling within me. Some people referred to it as worry—that I was a worrier—so much that a nickname I had was Worry Wort.

by Anahid Mantl
I’m now 16 years old, currently in Italy, and have been living with OCD and the fear of throwing up for so long that I don’t even remember how my life was without it.
by Yuliya Osyka

 

“Self Care” is a self-initiated social project, consisting of 12 illustrated posters dedicated to showing ways to take care of oneself in depression:

by Christine S.
...I feel that my experience in an OCD Treatment program with an ERP focus was definitely a positive one. I successfully completed exposures forcing me to face some of my worst OCD fears. I feel that I lessened my OCD urges and took some control back over my emotional well-being.
by Nikia Jones
I'm a School Counselor and I experienced anxiety and depression during my first year on my current job.
by Dominique Castro
I told myself I was just tired and burnout. I did everything I could to explain away my behavior, except ask for help. I didn’t know I needed it. I had convinced myself that once the people around me learned how to “communicate” with me better, then my outburst would stop.
by John
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has helped me through my issues. I have been a part of this community for a few years now, and when I was struggling, reading relatable stories other people have posted on ADAA has been comforting. Especially at a young age when I knew very little about mental health.
by Rebecca G. Feinberg
“They’re just thoughts, And I don’t need to believe them, right?.”
by Tiara Johnson
I believe that the true display of strength comes from being willing to discuss and lean into the uncomfortable moments in life. Whether that is understanding the stages of grief, discussing the darker side of depression or even learning how to cope with social anxiety that comes with racial trauma, there is strength in embracing Black mental health. 
by Jason Jepson
For me, medication, a doctor that I trust, and a good support system has helped me to move on, but I will never forget what those first years into my treatment plan were like. Time helps too. As time has gone on, I realize I have become a mental health advocate, and not a mental patient anymore.
by Mike Caprio
After all the physical trauma and pain I endured along the way, the most difficult and long lasting hurdle I didn't anticipate to struggle with was my mental health.
by Tommy Hua
When someone like me goes through these phases throughout my life, you feel very lonely, and nobody understands what you're going through. They see your milestone posts on social media, and they congratulate you and cheer you on, yet it only makes the emptiness much harder to fill.
by Charmagne
I want to start off by saying I never knew or really understood anxiety. I have always been someone who worries, stresses, and constantly wondered "what If." It became normal and a constant in my life.
by Melissa Lewis-Duarte, Ph.D.
Developed several decades ago by Michele McDonald, RAIN is a tool for practicing mindfulness when we feel overwhelmed by our thoughts and emotions. As someone who both lives with anxiety and practices mindfulness, I found this framework practical and implementable.
by Simran Pandita
The way they are helping me is admirable. They are teaching me to walk again in the beautiful and bumpy roads of life. I have started loving, living, dreaming, and caring for myself.
by Ella Moroz
I know what it means to have frequent intrusive thoughts -I know what it feels like to have a mental illness that is consistently stigmatized. I’m so OCD
by Emily Plajer & Heather Eastman
Bikini competitor and IFBB pro Emily Plajer faced tragedy early in life that gave her the perspective she needed to deal with her anxiety and share her strength with others.
Having won two world titles and spent 15 years in the Army infantry, Strongman Anthony Fuhrman can confidently say the strongest thing he's ever done is talk about mental health.
by Kitty
I’ve learned to cherish my time with my family. I’ve learned to reach out for help when I need it. I’ve learned no one will think I’m weak if I share my feelings or ask for help. I’ve learned the importance of being healthy and happy.
Bodybuilding.com has partnered with the ADAA to build an entire series of articles and videos dedicated to bringing awareness to anxiety and depression among athletes.
by Parker Foster
Allowing myself to open up to a professional really helped flush out everything I felt inside. For a while I thought sulking in my own thoughts would be healthy but you end up drowning. You need to give yourself to someone who can help correct the way you look at the world.
by Ryan "China" McCarney & Heather Eastman
A panic attack derailed baseball player China McCarney's plans for competition. Years later, he's learned how to cope with his anxiety and is inspiring athletes around the world to do the same.
by Melissa A. Lewis-Duarte, PhD

About the author: As an anxious mom in search of calm, Melissa Lewis-Duarte, Ph.D. writes about living with anxiety and mindfulness-based behavioral change in real life. Prior to founding Working On Calm, she enjoyed working as a business consultant, college instructor, and corporate trainer. Melissa earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. Currently, she lives with her husband in Scottsdale, AZ, managing their chaotic life, three young boys, and a barking dog.

by Hope Atlas
Depression and I have had a rocky, complicated relationship. Depression ran my life for many years. Depression still shows up unannounced and usually with no warning or reason, but I am now more or less at peace with where we stand. I have accepted that it is not IF Depression will come back into my life, it is WHEN.
by Molly Carroll

Why is it that artists so often depict two autonomous versions of the self? The self leaning on the sink and the self reflected in the mirror. The self pacing the kitchen in a frenzy and the self calmly seated at the table. The self barricaded inside the walk-in freezer at work for just a moment of solitude and the self leaning nonchalantly against the frozen french fries, without a care in the world.

by Kellene Diana
Healing from a mental illness is within our reach. We just have to reach for it!
by Jaymes Haugen
Trigger Warning: Suicide, Self-Harm | Included is part of my story and a small video about my experiences with anxiety and depression. I also discuss traumatic events I have been through which resulted in PTSD.
by Adnan Alkhalili
16-year-old Adnan Alkhalil created and unincorporated nonprofit association/foundation called Free The Bird which is run by youth for youth in an effort to break free of dysphoria.
by Robert Vickery
As a Twitch Streamer,  a live-streaming platform for gamers, I plan to give back to people who are feeling the same way I felt, and to create a safe place where people can come and hang out and talk about life. Because life is hard and we can't do it alone. 
by Amy Diener
After viewing my art and story, I want others to understand that we are not alone in this and should not be embarrassed of our struggles. Instead, acknowledge them and work hard to triumph over them.
by Oscar Mora
I miss my best friend. This is a given. But I cannot let his death keep me down. I must use it as an incentive to shoot farther than I ever have. And even though I wish everyday that he was still here, I know I will see him again one day, and when I do, I can tell him all about the things I accomplished in our name. Long Live the King.
by Jelisa V. - Owner/Founder, Ambient Wick

 My introduction to the stigma that surrounds mental health happened at a young age, and the topic was always so taboo in my community. However, ever since I started college back in 2007, general anxiety has been a regular part of my life.

by Angela

"Angela - Depression Personal Story"On June 17th, 2019 I founded The Tea Giver Project in the middle of the night while battling depression.

by Tizz O'Toole
When my first panic attack happened, I thought I was having a heart attack.  I went to the ER. The doctor said my heart was fine.  I was 40-years old and healthy.  I had never heard the term panic attack.  So, I set out to learn more.  
by Cassidy Walker
I used to pass out from anxiety... yes, you heard me. I actually would faint from stress. At one point in my life, I finally gave up and told people "Yes, I am lying about my fainting spells", because I had no idea what was going on.
by Emily Stetzer
Through years of sharing one anxiety-ridden saga after another, we’ve come to learn that, though our OCD came in many different forms or “flavors,” we shared very similar mindfulness techniques to help us cope with our anxiety.
by Joshua Beharry
Throughout my journey and the years since, I’ve tried many different strategies to get better including self-help strategies and websites like ADAA for information on what depression is, to formal treatment options including medication, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and peer support groups.
by Christopher Marcel
While many around me do not know, I am no stranger to anxiety myself. I suffer daily from OCD and I am in a constant battle to control it. I understand the importance of having the right resources and access to information to learn how to overcome mental illness.
by Kristian Ranta
My oldest brother Peter struggled for decades with depression. He could not find help from antidepressant medication or other available treatment methods. Eventually, he died by suicide, leaving many questions unanswered. For years, I wondered why he could not be treated effectively and how could people like him be helped in the future before it is too late?
by Kayla Barrett
The anxiousness growing in my chest was not because I was afraid or embarrassed by the diagnosis, but mainly because I had spent years searching for answers and in a matter of 2 hours I had found more than I could have expected.
by Brian Messner
Early in 2020 I experienced my first panic attack at the age of 34. I had entered into psychotherapy a few months earlier and things seemed to be getting better.
by Ashley Fisher
Ashley's story..."My life experience with anxiety and OCD has gifted me with so much empathy for other people. I know that many people walk around with invisible wounds and demons. The people who we think have it all together fight their own battles behind closed doors..."
by Sarah McKinnon
I wasn’t normal, but somehow, to the world and medical spreadsheets I was, “just an average kid with anxiety” and not a kid who desperately needed help.
by Manvi Tiwari
Manvi's Story... "I feel anxiety survivors should start to talk about their health issues. Here I am, an anxiety survivor, still striving to get better while talking about my entire journey. I want to let people know that mental health issues should not be stigmatized."
by Lisa Eagan
I am starting to see that I can find my voice by helping others realize they are NOT BROKEN. 
by Steven Gellman
It is my sincere hope that this new collection of songs brings as much comfort and healing to others who live with anxiety and depression, as writing them has brought to me.
by Maura Crowley
I felt ashamed and alone. The anxiety was like a dark shadow that followed me everywhere. I isolated myself from everyone.
by Melissa Bernstein
Founding Melissa & Doug sparked my first “dot moment” in realizing I had capacity to forge my profound darkness into radiant light.  I had believed that my innate darkness could only incite more darkness, but now saw that it could be channeled into engaging toys and unleash imagination.
by SpairTyme
I run my fundraiser as SpairTyme, the host of a small channel on the live streaming service called Twitch. I have seen how anxiety and depression has affected the lives of a number of people very important to me. So I decided to use my hobby to help educate and support mental health awareness.
by China McCarney
...I am a former professional baseball player. I am a best-selling author. Most proudly, I am a Panic Attack Sufferer and Mental Illness Warrior.
by Kaitlyn Fieseler
I want to advocate for stroke survivors to get immediate and comprehensive support for their emotional well-being. And I want to inspire someone battling depression to ask for help. I
by Tiara Johnson
Even before 2020, I dealt with my fair share of depression. I had recently graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and was forced to move back home, unemployed.
by Melissa Osburg

I have always suffered with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but really hit rock bottom about 5 years ago after my hysterectomy.  About 18 years ago after the birth of my first child I suffered some complications. To this day, I can replay every moment - this is when the doctors diagnosed me with PTSD.

by Antonio Liranzo
In the past year, I have been on my own journey with my anxiety. I discovered that I have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder),
by Carima J. Cassell
I believe my experience with anxiety started much sooner than I was able to understand what the word "anxious" really meant. As a child, I struggled with my weight.
by Erin Cosgrove

As a musician, my life is normally spent on the road performing, making music with people, and interacting with show-goers and friends. All of that got completely overturned when quarantine started. I was in a serious state of depression for 6 months, basically it began as soon as the pandemic started. The stress of everything happening in the world really made my mental state decline. I didn’t know how to deal with it at first and was really struggling. What helped me most was writing music.

by Justin Richards

One night I realized one of my truest fears was the idea of being quietly alone with my own thoughts. I would rather fill my time with any noise and distraction I could, rather than allow myself to slow down long enough to listen to my inner dialogue.

by Kay (prefers to remain anonymous), CA

I can remember it like yesterday, the fateful day when everything changed; the day that changed the course of my life forever. I was ten years old and up until that year my life was seemingly perfect. I had two loving parents, an awesome older brother, and tons of friends and even a cute school crush to swoon over. But, over that year, my easy-going life of no worries rapidly changed. My older brother started getting into trouble at school--hanging out with the “wrong crowd” and ostensibly overnight he changed from my hero to my enemy.

by Tyler Ellis
Story of Triumph written by Tyler Ellis "Mental health issues can be debilitating and isolating; you may feel like you’re alone in this, but you’re not. If someone like me can overcome panic disorder and anxiety, so can you."
by Hara Howard

I remember it like it was yesterday. My first panic attack. I was 8 years old, and I felt like I was dying. The worries in my mind had taken over my body and it was as if I had no control over what was happening to me. Growing up, anxiety was not talked about often or understood by most people. The stigma, embarrassment, and shame led me to keep this part of me hidden.

by Jordan Friend

Many of us involved in the arts maintain a complicated tango with our mental health. For someone like me, a theatre director, actor and songwriter with lifelong OCD and anxiety, an overactive imagination has been a source of both severe difficulties and some of my most creative work. The same impulse that makes me need to touch everything three times is the one that, when I’m staging a show, makes me meticulous about finding the perfect image.

by Kate Kalinowski
​Mama K Breaking Bath is a small bath and body company based out of Durham, North Carolina. Kate Kalinowski, owner and artisan behind all Mama K products, firmly believes in self care that takes place both mentally and physically. 
by Mighty Miniatures
I am Jaime Garcia, creator of Mighty Miniatures. Struggling with anxiety and PTSD, the difficulties of 2020 left me feeling trapped, alone, and in desperate need of an escape. In an attempt to get out of my own head and keep my hands busy, I decided to begin a felting craft that would unknowingly become a passion project that would pull me out of the depths of my own despair.
by David Miller
I thought to myself “there is more to life than this!” On a whim, I gave Louis a blank baseball cap to design with his freestyle artistry. After he completed the hat, I wore it in a shopping mall, and many shoppers asked to purchase the hat!
by Rebecca Rose
At 31 years old, when my therapist told me that I had OCD, I thought, Ah, I get it now. This is what it feels like to have a breakthrough in therapy.
by Yuliya Osyka

“Toxic Support” is a series of 12 illustrated posters dedicated to revealing the toxicity of phrases people say to someone with depression. This is a self-initiated social project, the idea for which came to me after experiencing the effects of depression myself as well as seeing them in a loved-one.

by Antonio Liranzo

I want to write this post to hopefully share some of my experiences with self sabotage & anxiety. I published my first book “Falling Angel : Rising Phoenix” as a therapeutic release, I woke up one day and realized that my life was starting to go down a rabbit hole, I looked in the mirror and didn’t like the person that I was becoming, I started asking myself, Who am I?

by Carlos Torres
“XIETY” was inspired by my very own journey with generalized anxiety. It’s an internal battle I’ve struggled with for years all while keeping it hidden from 98% of those who know me.
by Charles Phillips

In 2014, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder.  Although I received the diagnosis when I was twenty-seven, it was something I always struggled with.  In my book, Conquering Mountains, I share the experiences I have had that led to this diagnosis.  From the age of six when I heard the sound of my dad’s mighty right hand striking my mother.  To the worries of where we would live after evictions.  The stress of moving from place to place, year after year.

by Brittany Cissell

My name is Brittany Cissell. I am a Pre-K teacher in Springdale Arkansas, and I am the author and illustrator of Otis the Aussiedoodle. Otis is my 3-year-old Australian Shepard/Poodle mix. He joined our family in February 2020, after being re-homed. Otis was originally saved from a suspected puppy mill and was in pretty bad condition when he was adopted.

by Sheri Miller

When I wrote this song, someone close to me was suffering with depression, and I deeply desired with all my heart and soul to soothe them, give them relief.  This song was my gift, a message of love to them.  

by Edison Konan
This is why I’m so passionate about this topic. Imagine if there was a way to help the other 7.7 million youth suffering from a mental health disorder before it led to something as damaging as suicide?
by Manas Jha

 These are the words I could never say in school. Every day was a silent struggle... Praying my name wasn’t called in class, avoiding friends on the soccer field, and engaging in substances that I was far too young to experience.

by Amaranthia Sepia
“Discarded” and “Subjugated” are part of a series called "Surviving in Isolation: The Black Mental Health Experience." These pieces are featured in Atac160 x ARTivism Initiative’s activism art show “Postcard Project”. Both are about the feeling of isolation and abandonment many black people with mental illness struggle with.
by Rebecca G. Feinberg

“I’m fine; leave me alone” he says as I find myself, yet again, prodding, nagging, trying to help

The words hit me

So familiar

Not just in our own dance of push and pull

But also in that of another anxiety-ridden parent-child relationship, this one where I am the child

Was it only last week that I found my 44 year-old self saying these same words to my own mother

As she was expressing her concern about my own issue that I wanted to deny

And so it is, this game we play

by Adam Joel
What if your mental health came to life as shifts in the weather? I made this film because I loved someone with undiagnosed depression, and we never really talked about it. Dark days came and went like weather patterns.
by Sam Wickey

Growing up as a terrified Amish child was extremely difficult because I could not speak to anyone about my fears, nightmares, and personal illusions that were perceived as reality. My family did not believe in any form of expression or communication because we were in the strictest Amish sect. They did not even believe in hugging their children or saying I love you.

by Rebecca Feinberg

“You have no idea what it feels like inside my brain,”
My child once said to me, as I was losing my patience and compassion
For what felt like the millionth time in his young life
That he asked me if I had washed my hands before touching something
 
And, he was right, as much as I tried, I (and others) could have had no idea what it feels like to live every single day

by Marci Goldberg

It seems so unreal that back in 2000 when I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety that I could ever imagine I would have found the PERFECT tool for my toolbox and my BEST medicine; that would have helped me cope with all these important mental health issues that I face. I attend therapy sessions twice a month with my therapist but that’s not the way I cope best.

by Madison Jo Sieminski

I am currently typing this in bed as I’m trying to avoid getting up. It is 2:13 pm and I haven’t found the motivation to start my day. It is a gloomy, rainy day so what about this makes me want to get out of bed? These are the days you want to just relax and watch movies. The struggle with anxiety is, this never seems to happen. Anxiety makes you think you should be doing more, that everything needs to be perfect.

by Darren Kendal

Growing up in chaos is the greatest gift I have ever received. But, when I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder it surely did not feel like a gift. I thought my diagnosis would follow me everywhere I go and limit me in everything I do. Little did I know, my struggles with mental health would allow me to feel completely empowered. 

by James Kirkendall

Hello, my name is James and I want to voice my struggles and successes with others that are suffering from mental illness and developmental issues. Ever since I was little I knew something was off. I was always told throughout my life that I seemed like a calm person, however that was far from the truth. The wheels were always turning in my head. I was intrigued by the success stories on ADAA and reached out to share my story.

by Frederic Terral, Founder of Pockitudes
For years, I struggled with depression, anxiety, and a critical inner voice. From an early age, I remember feeling anxious and unhappy.
by DJ Chark Jr.
The My Cause My Cleats campaign is collaboration between the NFL and players where players represent hundreds of charitable organizations whose missions they are passionate about.
by Jasmin Correa
I directed my high school senior film, "Crooked Parallel Lines" based on my own struggles with OCD. I personally struggle with colors especially green and red, I see green as good luck and red as bad luck.
by Elina Radushinsky
My goal with Neverles is to create a network that we each could relate to. A network that honors our differences, our fears, our dreams, and goals. That celebrates it without judgment.  We all need to be a little easier on our selves and always remember that we are greater. 
by Trevor Hill
For my senior collection, I really wanted to bring those feelings to life. The feeling of everything is fine on the outside, but “I’m dying” on the inside.  People have basically shunned the idea that mental illness can be a problem as they say, “You’re fine!”, “Just deal with it.”, “There is nothing wrong.” But there is something wrong.
by Khing Ceaze

Mental illness is something that plagues Americans in each and every state within the country.  Depression, anxiety and PTSD are silent killers. They may not cause physical death, but they do cause each and every individual affected by them to lose a piece of themselves. As an individual who struggles with depression as well as anxiety, I myself am on the battle field in this fight against mental illness.

by Gilad from Anxious and Abroad

When I booked my trip to Asia, I was 23, fresh out of college, and a 100% bundle of nerves. I had just learned about my relationship with mental health (I’ve got that delightful combo of Moderate Anxiety & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and was working in sync with my therapist to manage it. 

by Briana Stanley
I am a college student who has dealt with depression for a long time. Growing up, I never had a name for it, but I knew I was off.  Within my community, things like depression and anxiety don’t exist.
by Kennedy Campbell

I was in the 10th grade when it happened.  I was in school and I had a massive anxiety attack. But for me anxiety affects  me differently and I ended up struggling in utter silence. My name is Kennedy and I have selective mutism.

by Deb Tokarz

It’s liberating to talk about my struggles with mental illness. That is now that I’ve come out on the other side. There was a time I hid my anxiety and depression because I was embarrassed and didn’t understand my emotions. I took solace in reading about others on the ADAA website — knowing I was not alone. 

by Amaranthia Sepia
My comic series featuring my character “Emo Bunny” is art therapy. It expresses the struggles of living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and my experiences with bullying. Pieces related to the first comic in the series, titled “Emo Bunny: Anxiety Monster” are featured in my mental health art show with SquidInk Art Gallery
by Alexander Lubinsky
 “I’m Fine” follows an unemployed college-grad as he battles his depression alone, sending him down a dark path. The idea for this film came to me from my own experiences struggling with depression.
by Adrian Sutherland
To be honest, I was reluctant to move forward with recording I Need Angels, because I felt it was a topic most people were not ready to talk about – especially people who have lost loved ones to suicide. But I’m glad I chose to move ahead with recording it, and including it on our third album, High Road, which was released last year. 
by Albert Dabah
Extra Innings tells the story of David Sabah, who pursues his dream of playing baseball while staying devoted to his Syrian Jewish family. However, a tragic loss makes reconciling the two worlds almost impossible.
by Trevor Clifford

“Hello, my name is Trevor Clifford, I am a video producer with 10 years of experience in corporate and commercial content. In 2014 I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”

I write that first sentence in messages and emails every day, this essay is the first time it’s been followed by the second.

by Brady Altland
AMG Presents: TRIUMPH - Anxiety and Depression Benefit Concert in support of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
by Maritza Navarro
’ve been struggling with panic disorder for 16 years. I still work every day to tame my incessant worry and paralyzing fears. I created Hyper-Ventilate, an immersive performance, to encourage people to air out their experiences with anxiety and hopefully transform the audience’s understanding of mental health. 
by Nicholas Nayersina

When I was a freshman in high school I had my first ever anxiety attack. I remember it was a Tuesday, right at the end of first period biology class. I faked sick that day, told my teacher I needed to go home. I had no idea what was going on or how to handle the way my body was acting. This happened to me the next day and then the same thing the next two days after that, until my mom suggested I see a doctor.

by Brittany Clarke
 I used to believe that I was alone. That every day was 3 am, with no one around to see me through a hard time. No one could possibly understand my inner turmoil. This is a little snippet of my story to discovering how wrong I was.
by Melissa Osburg
​I have suffered with anxiety since I was a child. It has come and gone until approximately three years ago when it rocked my entire world. ​
by Kavya Hemmanur

Kavya Story pic_0.JPGBecoming a scientist, having a doctoral degree had been my dream since I was a kid. I fought really hard, convinced my family that I would take up biotechnology as my majors in my Undergrad. They were little skeptical about my decision but on seeing how determined I was, they agreed. Back then, either becoming a doctor or Computer science engineer were the only career options we had in India. Studying biology in engineering was out of scope.

by Shane Gann

Sufferer was formed from a desperate need to hear the anxious and depressive voices in my head, separately from within. 

The thought spurred me to action, the first song fully written as soon as I picked up my guitar. After came an onslaught of ideas, and within a span of a few hours, I had a full song, parts for others, and the two basic concepts:

by Simon Bank
My name is Simon Bank. I am 12 years old and I am from Los Angeles, California. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Obsessive Thoughts and I am not ashamed of it. I was first diagnosed when I was 7 years old.
by Taylor Brune

Taylor Brune_0.jpgIn 2014, my life was completely turned upside down. Everything I had known before was never to be again. I had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and began treatment immediately. During treatment, my entire life was changed. I had to move out unexpectedly, my relationships with those around me were deteriorating rapidly, and death surrounded me as I grieved loved ones. I felt as if my life was over and I had nothing to fight for.

by MARE
MARE is a fashion label centered on owning struggles, failures, darkness, night’MARE’s and using them to drive success, growth and positivity. We urge our community to take action, pulling oneself out of a negative space and into a positive state. Life ain’t fair, but what are you going to do about it? 
by Sydney Franklin
In support of October being National Depression Education & Awareness Month, singer-songwriter Sydney Franklin will be releasing a new single, “Challenger Deep”, along with an official music video on Friday, October 26th. 
by Adam Carey

Adam Carey_0.jpg I am writing to share a personal story of how a young man close to me suffered from mental illness and saw no other way out and took his own life. He was a well-respected member of the community and was passionate about many organizations, ADAA being one of them. It was his wish, in lieu of flowers that donations were dispersed among those organizations. 

by Kellene Diana

KelleeDiana_0.jpgMy name is Kellene Diana and I used to struggle with anxiety and depression. Nobody understood or wanted to understand; in fact they called me names and passed judgment before they even knew what I was going through. It made me so afraid to speak up and speak out about it that it completely silenced me for years. 
 

by Putri Surya

putri.jpgI’ve been pretty much battling with anxiety and depression most of my life for various reasons. However, the reason I’ve realized that possibly made my mental health quite difficult to bare was the fact that my parents in the beginning weren’t all that supportive. I assumed because I was honest and upfront with them about my issues, it would be easier to overcome them. I definitely thought wrong.

TrapperHaskins_0.JPGMore than 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.” But...would we be human if we didn’t try?

by Sabrina Bruno

20180527_123207 (2)_0.jpgI designed my poster with the intent of showing that reaching happiness was possible; healing was possible. The bottom half of the poster represents the soul being trapped, surrounded by darker colors. I hoped to achieve what an individual might feel like facing a mental disorder alone. The luminescent light that surrounds the figure, represents when one is willing to take the first step in seeking the help they need.

by Emily Bai, MA - Mrs. San Francisco International 2019

Emily Bai%27s Blog Image (1)_0_0.jpgDoes this look like the face of someone who struggles with anxiety?

You never know what someone might be struggling with based on her or his appearance. Anxiety is a real issue that I fight to conquer every day. In the past, I hid behind my appearance to keep others from knowing about my war with anxiety on the inside. I no longer hide. 

by Topanga Brown

Topanga Brown (2)_0.jpgDepression and anxiety are widespread across the world. For too many, it is a difficult topic to talk about, and I know this first hand. When I was 15 and 16, I struggled with major depression and anxiety. It disrupted my school work, my athletics, and my friendships. It was embarrassing to talk about because of the stigma that is associated with the illness.

by Amy Lu, Misha Kennedy, Melanie Moy, Stella Wong, Helen Chen

I Was Here 1_1.jpg

The project that we were participating in was called the "I Was Here Project" where we and our peers (7th graders) research a topic and prepare an intervention. Then, we later reflect on what we did in a movie we made in class. 

This was one of our bake sales to raise money. And yes, we spelled depression wrong in this image, but we fixed it after.

by Tony Reali

Tony Reali_0.jpgTV HOST STRUGGLED WITH POSTPARTUM ANXIETY is not a headline you expect to read from your bubbly, toothy sportscaster. Maybe it’s not one you expect to ever hear from a man. Can be. Is.
 
I love kids. I used to be one. Everybody knows me knows this above all. I wanted to be a dad since I was 5. I’m a godfather to 6 right now, all girls!
 

by Robert Surrency

Artboard_0.png

Like many people, I deal with depression and anxiety. Some episodes are minor, while others are paralyzing. Throughout all this, I am always looking for opportunities to turn these struggles into something more positive. I found some of these opportunities to be through photography and the outdoors. Both allow me to explore a creative outlet that I love while disconnecting in nature. 

by Emily Schroeder

Count On Me_0.jpgWe are a group of filmmakers at the American Film Institute. We are in the midst of fundraising a short film, “Count on Me,” which is the inspiring and emotional tale of Sam, a young boy with OCD trying to survive in a world that looks down on him for his disability.

by Tony Reali

Tony Reali_0.jpgNational Peanut Butter and Jelly Day is April 2nd. International Talk Like A Pirate Day is September 19th.  Ask a Stupid Question Day is September 28th, but there’s no such thing as a stupid question so maybe there’s no such thing as Stupid Question Day.
 

by Matthew Woods

Matthew Woods 3_0.jpegHello everyone! My name is Matthew Woods, I’m 28, and I suffer from Panic Disorder. This disease once dominated my every waking moment with excessive false alarms that sent me to the emergency rooms more times than I can remember. Something as simple as a cramp would be misconstrued by my brain as a life-ending condition, sending me into a tailspin panic attack.

by Adina Young

Adina Young_0.jpgWhy can’t you just be happy?

You know, you have it better than most people? You should be appreciative.

These are things I have heard since I was officially diagnosed with depression in 2000. It’s insane to think that in 2018, I still hear this from friends and family.

by Stephanie Cardamone

Stephanie-C_0.pngLast year, I shared my personal anxiety struggles with the world. I talked about the importance of self-love and acceptance. I wrote that I accepted where I was and what I had been through. Looking back, I was a little ahead of myself. Acceptance for me is truly a journey. Vital, but never-ending. Last May, I had 263 people reach out to me.

by Caroline López-Martinez

Picture_CLM_0.jpgI was locked down in my dreary studio apartment one Saturday morning in Midtown, Sacramento. The curtains had all been drawn, and sunshine inevitably trespassed through the thick patterned glass of my steel door. What were once empty bottles and cans, had visually manifested themselves into hideous statues and mounted towers. Medicinal marijuana was recently delivered to my door, and containers of strains lay lifeless by a pack of half-empty cigarettes.

anxious1_1.jpegI never intended for depression or anxiety to be a part of my platform. When I was writing my EP I was speaking purely from my personal experiences, while writing it and speaking honestly I found a lot of what I had to say was about me not being ok in that particular time in my life.

by Bella King

Bella King (2)_0.jpgMy name is Bella, and I’m 10 years old. Last year I was diagnosed with OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A lot of people think OCD is just about having to keep things clean and organized, but that really isn’t the whole picture. 

by Now the 'Why?' - Part Three

Chicago_0_1.jpg5 months later

by Samantha Thornton

Chicago_0.jpg3 months later

by Samantha Thornton

March 25, 2017 – 6 weeks later

by Justin Goldman

Lift the mask_Full_Colour_BLK_No_Date_0.jpgFor the past 24 years of my life, I’ve been wearing a mask. 

Not just any old flimsy mask, either. No, this is a true military grade bulletproof battle helmet, complete with a stainless steel cage, high-density foam padding, and some screws to hold it all together. It’s even custom molded to better protect, perform, and intimidate. 

setmo (2)_0_0.pngAnxiety is something that affects so many of us to varying degrees and is too often overlooked. When we wrote our track Nightmares in London with Scott Quinn the darker mood of the music made us explore this idea of anxiety and how it can feel suffocating. Scott had some great lyrics that really capture different effects that certain situations can have on people. 

Lularoe1_0.jpgThe weekend of October 31, 2014, I was hit hard with Panic Disorder.  Panic attacks one after another, all weekend long.  Even my throat "fell asleep".  You know, that feeling when Novacaine is about to wear off.   Before that, it was gradual.  It all started while driving to Virginia for my Uncle's 50th birthday party. I never made it there.

5 months laterChicago_1_0.jpg - Well, it’s shocking to believe that it’s been 5 months. I feel like I am living in a completely different lifetime than I was just a few short months ago, but this loss also feels so painfully fresh.

3 months laterChicago_1_0.jpg - Wow, I can’t believe I am finally mustering up the strength to being writing about how things have been these past three months. We’ve made it through Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and our first two family vacations. All three were complete hell. My parents and I often talk about how the “firsts” will be some of the hardest, and that’s all there is right now. Everything seems so dampened by his loss.

Chicago_1_0.jpg March 25, 2017 – 6 weeks later: My name is Samantha Thornton. I've always had a passion for others so I decided to become an elementary school teacher to plant the seeds of a love for education into little hearts. I am currently a 5th grade content literacy teacher. I graduated from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!) and I'm currently living in South East Florida.

by Abigail Hills

ADAA2_0.jpgMy name is Abigail Hills and I am an illustration major at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.  I was in a car accident, a few years ago, and suffered a hit to the head.  Since then I have been dealing with varying degrees of anxiety and depression.  At first I didn’t understand what was going on.  All I knew was that I was constantly worrying about things that had never bothered me before, and sometimes I did not want to be around people, or d

by Eileen O’Meara
I’d be stuck in traffic, and these irritating voices would take my brain hostage “Did you leave the coffee on? The house will catch on fire, the neighbors will burn!”

mindswimmers_0.jpgmindswimmer is an experimental jazz quintet committed to using our art to improve the world around us. We have each faced anxiety and depression, both personally and with those close to us. Unfortunately, one of our past collaborators and dearest friends took his own life when his burden became too great.

Laundry Should be the Only Thing Separated by Color

Ally Wong and TShirt Project_0.jpgWe are 6th graders from Orchard Hills Middle School in Irvine, California. Our names are Katie Vu, Jacey Hwang, Gia Patel and Ally Wong. Recently our CORE class has been involved in service learning, where we learn by helping others. Students in our class researched organizations that help to solve problems in our world in learning groups.

by Alexander Crawford

18765582_10210450578195324_4449012371890568036_n.jpgWhen I was about 22 years old, I had, what they call in Shakespearean studies, hubris. I had recently graduated from a competitive public high school, and had been accepted into the University of Chicago, undergraduate studies. Little did I know what was in store for me.

by China McCarney

ChinaMcCarney_0_0.jpgADAA has partnered with Healthline.com to share China McCarney’s personal story of triumph “I Embrace My Anxiety, Because It’s Part of Me” with both of our communities.

by Zac Hersh

ZachJourney_0.pngMy name is Zac Hersh, but I go by “Z.” I am a 23-year-old recent college graduate, certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, mindfulness and meditation coach, and an accomplished distance runner, and triathlete. I am also the co-creator of the Mood mobile app.

by Allison Kugel

allison kugel standing shot_0.jpgAt 3 AM on a July 2012 morning, I lay helpless on an emergency room cot, unable to experience any emotion other than fear and the physical sensations that racked my body. My extreme levels of anxiety did not cease; my body showed me no mercy, perhaps because my racing mind did not extend that courtesy to my body. I was wrapped in a backless hospital gown and meagerly strewn blanket that had been nuked in a microwave to keep me warm.

by Rivka Bennun, Shulamith High School for Girls

Rivka.pngRivka Bennun is a fourteen year old freshman at Shulamith High School for Girls in Cedarhurst, NY. She loves to read in her free time and  play piano. She had to research something to write about for a class research project but also wanted to research something she was familiar with, as she definitely feels stressed on a day-to-day basis. Her is what she wrote...

PCORI.jpegResearch is no longer solely the province of the lab coat-wearing scientist. People diagnosed with mental illnesses, their family caregivers, healthcare providers, and social workers all can play a role in the research that affects the treatment of mental health.

by Kayleigh Ballantyne

KayleighPic.jpgI have battled more at the age of 25 than most humans do in a lifetime. Take a moment to think of the most dreadfully painful experience you have had – I can empathize with you. In my life, I have overcome two near death experiences. One at the age of 11 which left me in a coma, the other at 21 where I was fighting against a collapsed lung and losing a lot of blood. My suffering has not only been painful physically but mentally. 

by Stephanie Cardamone

Stephanie-C.pngStephanie generously shared her story and her struggle with anxiety and depression with the ADAA community last year (and has been very grateful for the support she received) and since then has been actively involved in helping raise awareness about the importance of speaking out and finding help.

Glow-AganTEAM.JPG"My name is Mariah Dellinger and I am a junior at Lake High School in Stark County Ohio. I am in a two year Health Tech Preparatory program with about 24 other students.

by Mark Bermudez

MarkBermudez.JPGMark Bermudez, an art student at Florida International University, reached out to ADAA a few months ago to let us know that he was working on a project for his Graphic Design III class where he would create a series of posters that explain how mental illnesses can affect people through the use of metaphor. His designs are all related to the different themes that represent ADAA’s outreach and educational efforts around anxiety, depression and related disorders.

by China McCarney

ChinaMcCarney.jpgI have lived with anxiety since 2009. I was 22 years old. My first panic attack occurred that year. About 45 minutes into a car drive I felt as if I was going to die. I could not breathe and had to pull the car off the road and walk for hours to try and catch my breath. That was my introduction to anxiety and I had no idea that I was about to embark on a back and forth journey for years to come.

by Marisa Herrera-Keehn, Lance Rodriguez, Stephen Terry, and Bethany Martin

ScarlettGarden.pngMarisa Herrera-Keehn, Lance Rodriguez, Stephen Terry, and Bethany Martin created their senior thesis together - a short film called "Scarlett Garden" that tells the story about a girl named Scarlett who tries to help her brother out of his depression. When they receive the news about their stepfather not being able to recover from a liver disease, her brother turns to alcoholism and locks himself in his home for days at a time.

by Erika

Erika-StressBalls.JPGErika is a distinguished scholar at the Grosse Ile Middle School in Michigan. For my 7th grade year here at the middle school, I chose to research about anxiety because some of my friends have it and I wanted to try and help them out. I have only been researching about it for a few months and I already know so much about it!

by Ryan "China" McCarney

Ryan McCarney Baseball Photo.JPG

When I last sat down to reflect on my journey with anxiety I was nervous, timid, and YES even a little ANXIOUS. I wanted to share my story with the “right” spin or the “right” perspective. I gave just enough details to get the point across and deflect the focus away from me and my “issues”. This is what came out.

by Bailey Kay - Miss Sandy City International

Bailey Kay.JPG I was in seventh grade when I discovered I had anxiety. I didn't go to school for 2 months because every day my mom would take me, and I would end up on the floor of the car sobbing and hyperventilating. I was a sophomore in high school when I was diagnosed with depression. I skipped class a lot, I would cry over everything, and I would never leave the house.

by Jenni Schaefer
After lots of falling down and getting back up again in the process of recovery, I now know that PTSD is not a life sentence. Today my nightmares are gone, I rarely startle, and incredibly I have fallen in love with life. The world isn’t out to get me after all, and I feel safe. Finally, I am living in real time and not trapped in the past.
by Meredith Arthur

Meredith-Arthur-websize.jpgGeneralized anxiety disorder can be hard to recognize because you may not think of yourself as worried or anxious. But if you are having physical pain, or waking up in the night, or sensitive to sounds, or overthinking things, you may have GAD. That's what happened to me.

by Tobias J. Atkins

TobiasAtkins-personal-story-social-anxiety-website.jpgFor most of my life I’ve struggled with social anxiety disorder, along with generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, and depression. During the worst of it, I was on strong medication and medical disability benefits due to my fear of job interviews. I would feel uncomfortable or awkward in public 90 percent of the time.

by Michael E. Reagan, Jr.

MikeReagan_personal-story.jpgI wish my breakthrough moment wasn’t when I thought "I'd pay good money if I could feel better." I am cheap, so the path became clearer once cost was no longer a concern. After I decided to get help for my depression, one challenge was telling a receptionist why I wanted therapy. I had never told anyone I felt depressed.

by Doug Duncan

Doug-Duncan-webcrop.jpgDepression can affect anyone — men, women, and children — at any point in their lives. And its debilitating effects show up in many different ways. Doug Duncan tells us how depression changed his life.

by Steven C. Hayes, PhD

What can we do to prosper when facing pain and suffering in our lives?

Pschologist Steven Hayes describes psychological flexibility in relation to his own harrowing panic disorder

by Chonda Pierce

Chonda Pierce, comedianEver wonder what depression feels like? Here’s a hint: Take a pillowcase full of rocks and strap it to the top of your head. Now put on a dark pair of sunglasses — indoors. Leave those things on for about a week. Until you begin to see the world through a dark film that never gets lighter, and it takes a very conscious effort to hold your head up. That is what depression feels like on a good day.

by Kristle Lowell

I amKristle Lowell a world champion of trampoline gymnastics, and I have suffered from anxiety for many years. Having anxiety is like having diabetes or asthma: They are all illnesses. But in 20 years as a trampolinist, I have yet to see someone yelled at for having diabetes or asthma.

by Rita Zoey Chin

Rita Zoey ChinThere was a time when basic things—like driving, climbing a flight of stairs, taking a shower, or going through the checkout line at the grocery store—landed me somewhere between mortal unease and full-throttle terror. It all began with a single panic attack that seemed to strike out of the blue. Mistaking it for a heart attack, I called an ambulance, but I quickly learned that there is no ambulance for an alarm of the mind.

by Wills Murray

Wills MurrayMy earliest childhood memories are of constant fear. A skinny kid with crooked teeth, somewhat shy and reserved with social anxiety, I was an easy target for bullies, which made my issues even more difficult to handle. I never spoke to anyone about my feelings because I felt they were my fault.

by Hanne Arts

If anyoneHanne Arts had told me several years ago that everything would get better, I would have nodded while screaming disbelief inside my head. I thought things simply could not get better, that I'd be forever feel imprisoned in a dark room.

by Alexandra Lewicke

Alexandra LewickeNothing could have been worse for me than being a teenager in high school — until I became a teenager in high school with depression.

by Scott Stossel

Scott StosselChildhood anxiety, even severe and chronic, doesn’t necessarily stand in the way of success and achievement. But caring parents will do anything to help relieve their children of misery. Scott Stossel, the editor of The Atlantic magazine, tells his story of struggling, coping, and living a very productive life.

by Marc Kohn

Marc Kohn“I’m back!” That was the phrase I’d said to myself starting in middle school when my malaise lifted and a cycle of joy came around. I seemed to live in a world moving in slow motion. It was only when “I was back” that I returned to normal life speed. This slow-to-normal oscillation went on well into my thirties. But I had no idea I was depressed.

by Ashley Erickson

A lot of things scare me. Right now, those things include my first 20-mile run of marathon training that I have this weekend and sharing this post. That’s the thing with fears, though. Embracing them usually makes you stronger.

by Josh Lewin

Josh LewinI have learned that anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand, and there is no shame in having either — although it’s tough for many people to get their arms around that concept. When I struggled with both in my last couple years as the Texas Rangers’ baseball play-by-play announcer, the few people in whom I confided expressed genuine shock. “Depressed? About what? You’ve got a great job! Legions of adoring fans! A wonderful family!

by Kara Baskin

Kara Baskin familyBack in 2006, I had it all: A loving fiancé, a coveted publishing job, a supportive network of friends and family. I was living in Washington, D.C., where I went out almost every night to press parties and trendy restaurants. In my spare time, I delivered meals on wheels and counseled Alzheimer’s patients at the local senior center. Perfectionistic and ever so vigilant, I could’ve won the Perfect Life Olympics.

by L.A. Nicholson

L.A. Nicholson GAD Story of HopeMy descent into GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) began the morning I received the call bringing the news of my mother's accidental death. It was the same week that my husband was laid off. We had moved across the country for his new job, and eight months later he was laid off. After only two months out West, we moved back, and I had a nervous breakdown.

by Craig P.

I had my first experience with severe long-term depression at age 23 when a series of events converged simultaneously. I couldn't sleep, and my lack of appetite had me losing such a significant amount of weight that I feared I would end up in the hospital. I forced myself to eat and eventually gained back the weight, and later an appetite. Being on my own at this age in the late 1980s with limited knowledge of depression, I wouldn't realize what was happening to me until years later.

by Solome Tibebu

I’m 21 years old, and besides my busy schedule as a full-time student the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, keeping a regular running and yoga schedule, work, and trying to balance a social life, I am also the founder and Executive Director of Anxiety In Teens Non-Profit, LLC.

by Holly Kammier

Holly Youmans Kammier GAD Personal StoryI've suffered from generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, coupled with panic attacks for more than two decades.

My first major attack struck during a bathroom break in the 7th grade. As I fought waves of nausea and shaky confusion, I feared I was the same as my bipolar father.

by Janet Singer

Janet Singer-OCD-personal-storyMy son Dan was in college, and by the time I arrived at his dorm, he had not eaten in more than a week. He was spending hours at a time sitting in one particular chair, hunched over with his head in his hands, doing absolutely nothing. He could not enter most of the buildings on campus and could only do minimal amounts of work at specific times. To top it all off, he was self-injuring.

by Diance

The anxiety and shame started when Diance was 25. She was sitting in a pew at her church, where she is active in the ministry. It seemed to come out of nowhere. She felt as if she were going to jump out of her skin.

Diance doesn’t know why she felt so anxious. But she knows what she saw when the feeling overwhelmed her: a nearby woman wearing a v-neck sweater.

by Melissa Binstock

Melissa Binstock-websize"Books, pencils, pens; books, pencils, pens." This was my mantra at age 8, when I sta

by Felicia

It started at the onset of puberty, when I was 11 years old. I was at school, watching my older sister load the school bus to be taken away to 6th-grade camp. Suddenly a wave of panic overcame me. I don't recall my physical symptoms other than a racing heart and nausea.

by Michael Timmermann

Michael Timmermann, personal storyAn excellent student, a talented singer and musician, a competitive athlete. That’s how I appeared on the outside as a young child, but I felt as though I were trapped in a nightmare that would never end. Years later, and after a lot of hard work, my bad dream is finally over.

by David H.

As a child, I was gregarious, outgoing, and happy-go-lucky. Then something went horribly askew at about age 12. I did not know why I was unable to focus when I had been the best reader in school. I had been talkative, but I kept to myself, remained silent, and let bullies pick on me. I hadn't the slightest idea what was going on with my body and mind. Eighth-grade was probably my worst year because I was taunted, harassed, and bullied.

by Stacy Gregg

Looking back, I recall first experiencing a panic attack in the sixth grade. I remember getting so nervous that I would have to leave class and go to the counselor’s office. Until I was 16, I was in and out of psychiatrists’ offices. It was a challenge to find a psychiatrist that I could connect with. Throughout junior high and high school, I still experienced anxiety and panic attacks. And when I started college, my anxiety and panic attacks intensified.

by Sharon L. Longo

My 5-year old boy has a cherub's face with a hint of mischief in his beautiful green eyes. Brian dances to silly music and entertains us with his antics. He tells his brother to leave him alone and he teases his sister while she does her homework. The only difference between Brian and most other children is that while he is at school, he is mute.

Many people know Ricky Williams as the Heisman Trophy-winning running back who had it all — fame, money, and talent. Selected as the fifth NFL draft pick out of college, he became a celebrity overnight. With a successful career underway, who would believe that this football sensation who played for crowds of 100,000 dreaded the thought of going to the grocery store or meeting a fan on the street?

by Rob Fischer, PhD

The summer before my senior year in college, my mother died of lung cancer at the age of 57. I dealt with my loss privately, as I had handled most of my problems throughout adolescence: I repressed my grief and kept moving. I avoided talking about my mother's death and I continued my college work and social schedule as if nothing had happened.

by Rita Clark

Rita ClarkAfter more than 20 years of not going to a grocery store, restaurant, or public place alone, not driving out of my safe area and not attending school functions for my children, I began my difficult recovery from panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder.

by Robert Clark

An evening spent playing bridge with other couples was always fun for Rita, but one time it became a nightmare. Dealing the cards, first her hands began to tremble, and then her body shook uncontrollably. Terrified, she ran to the bathroom where she fell to the floor crying. She didn’t understand what was happening to her, so she told her husband she was ill and needed to go home.

by Jordan

My name is Jordan. I am 11 years old.

About one year ago, I began experiencing a feeling of terror and panic during everyday situations. I was scared of everything, from going out to eat to going to a friend’s house. I told my parents, and we thought it might just be that a lot was going on. So we waited. As months went on, the anxiety and panicking didn’t get any better, and everything started to go downhill. I sort of figured I was going to be like this forever.

by Jack Hagge

“Hi! I'm Jack. And I have an anxiety disorder.”

Merely talking to other people makes me anxious. I often experience "phone fear." I avoid social gatherings (particularly parties), which I find excruciating. Crowded settings, especially without a perceptible escape route, cause me uneasiness, sometimes panic.

by Samantha Pacaccio

My experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) began in the summer I was seven years old. My father was planning a vacation to Florida with his girlfriend, my five-year-old brother, and me. I was so excited about seeing the beach and feeling real sand for the first time.

by Melanie Higgins

I had all the typical life stressors of a married working mom. One spring I had a birth control device implanted that apparently threw my hormones and mental well-being out of whack. I switched to part-time work that summer because it allowed for a bit more rest and less stress. But when I returned to work full-time in the fall, I began having odd flashes of fear. And when people around me felt sick, I did, too.

by Cynthia Kipp

I have suffered from social anxiety disorder since I was about 10 years old, or about 34 years. I was a very intelligent child, but when teachers noticed a difference in me, I started trying to be invisible. Social situations, including school, were torture. I bulldozed my way through life, including dabbling in alcohol and substance abuse for relief of my anxiety and depression. I find it very interesting that the disorder is marked by a morbid fear of authority figures. And here I thought I was just being a rebel!

by P.K. Philips

It is a continuous challenge living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I've suffered from it for most of my life. I can look back now and gently laugh at all the people who thought I had the perfect life. I was young, beautiful, and talented, but unbeknownst to them, I was terrorized by an undiagnosed debilitating mental illness.

by K. Waheed

I am a middle-aged woman, married with two children. I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at age 25. I am grateful to say that I have had tremendous support, terrific professional help, a strong will to recover, and a resolve to do whatever work necessary to overcome all of my trauma. Other miraculous help has been my spiritual beliefs and practices.

by Amanda Leonard

Looking back, I can see that I had symptoms of an anxiety disorder even as a small child. I remember going for weeks at a time waking up, unable to go back to sleep. Then, as if by magic, I would go back to sleeping normally.

by Kathryn Tristan

Fear is an unseen enemy that can emotionally cripple and turn your life into a nightmare unless you learn, as I did, how to stage your own “anxiety rescue.”

by Clare M.

Two years ago I wondered if the horrible feeling, the gnawing in my stomach would ever leave. Inside my freshman dorm room, I lived in my own mind, fixated on my thoughts and tormented by irrational messages and faulty fears.

by Veronica Feeney

My struggles with emotional and mental problems began at age 12, when I experienced my first nervous breakdown. At age 20 I was diagnosed with major depression. By the time I was 30 that diagnosis had changed to chronic major depression with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Later, ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were added to my diagnoses. At age 40, and after three suicide attempts within two years, my therapist began to suspect that I suffered from bipolar disorder.