You're so happy.' I'd hear all the time, from friends, family, strangers. I was taught early on that in order to be liked by others, I had to be likeable. When I was bullied as a kid into a near suicide attempt, when I lost my job and cancer took my mom too early, I smiled - nobody likes a negative person. I knew what mental illness was in theory, but didn't truly understand or identify that I was suffering from it myself. You mean not everyone spirals into worst-case scenarios, tears, panic breaths and physical shakes? It took a while, many mistakes, some broken relationships and support from new ones to finally understand what I was truly dealing with - and that it was ok (to not be ok). This year I took the helm and decided my anxiety and depression were no longer going to be the Captain. I got into therapy, stopped medicating the wrong way (drinking), started medicating the right way (doctor-prescribed), began a meditation practice, have journaled every day and am exercising regularly. I'm throwing everything at this, I'm better for it and I'm so glad we're finally talking about it.