From the outside, my life looked perfect. I was in college, playing tennis in the NCAA, surrounded by friends, coaches, and peers. I’d checked all the right boxes and yet I was struggling with depression and anxiety. 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 struggles are a part of me, but they do not 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.