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. 

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 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 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 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 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 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.