Mental health stigma doesn't solve issues, it just makes them worse

So where do I begin?

I've been told since I was 12 that my constant stress, sickness and weakness, and panic attacks were nothing more than attention-seeking behaviour.

I didn't want to make friends, but I didn't want to be alone. I didn't want to leave the house, but I couldn't live with the idea of me being a failure. I didn't want to admit something was wrong, but at some point I had to.

Don't judge me just because you don't understand

I've been a "worrier" for as long as I can remember. I worry about things that may never even happen. I worry about a minor quibble or mistake until it evolves into an apocalypse-style scenario. Logically, I know what I'm thinking is implausible or even impossible, but in that moment, the fear is incredibly real.

My family didn't believe I was struggling with my mental health

For a long while, I've been having issues with mental health. I remember asking my mum one day years ago if hearing and seeing things was normal and her response still sticks with me. "You're too young and don't know what REAL mental health problems are."

I have anxiety, I'm not "crazy"

My battle with anxiety started during summer 2018. From when I was diagnosed I knew I was about to embark on a tough and challenging journey. Not just me, but everyone who was close to me as well. It was really hard to come to terms with the fact that it would take time to be okay again and even harder to accept that it could hit me again at any time.

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