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.

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 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

JenniSchaeferPTSD is an invisible monster. It disguises reality. When I was sucked into what I learned to call the trauma vortex, I often couldn’t distinguish between what was real and what wasn’t. I thought I was going crazy.

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.