Posted on 09 September 2019
From the outside, my life looked perfect. I was in college, playing tennis at the NCAA level, and surrounded by friends, coaches and peers. I’d checked all the right boxes and yet I was struggling. I was depressed, drinking too much and abusing drugs. I knew something was wrong, but I stayed silent. For years, I struggled alone. I was sure that no one would understand. I lived in a perpetual state of fear; fear of judgment, fear of alienation and fear that I was permanently damaged. I thought asking for help would make me seem weak, but it was only through reaching out that I began to recover. My relationships grew stronger, I developed an intricate support network, and perhaps most importantly, I realized I wasn’t alone. My struggles were a part of me, but they didn’t define me. I realized that recovery was possible, and that through a willingness to be vulnerable there was a way through. Today, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I’m living life in a way I never thought possible. Having come through the other side I feel compelled to carry the message forward. I want to end the shame and stigma that causes people to suffer in silence. It’s my hope that through advocacy, education and outreach we can start a conversation, create a platform and ultimately shine a light on mental health.