"To anyone who feels alone, who feels unloved, who doesn’t feel whole: it gets better."

"I’ve always struggled with mental health, but covid made everything so much worse. I had significant trouble for months before I started medication, but even after months on new med after new med, nothing seemed to work. I grew weary and everything looked a little grayer with every passing day. Last December I tried to complete suicide, but i didn’t. This made everything worse, as now i felt like even more of a failure. I attempted suicide 2 more times, neither of which worked, and ended up in intensive therapy for months. It was hard, really really hard. But it got better. I started to see the little things that made me happy so long ago, and bit by bit my world got a little more colorful. 4-5 months later: i’d like to say i’m doing really well:) I’ve been trial-and-erroring medications but I think i’ve found a winning combo! To anyone who feels alone, who feels unloved, who doesn’t feel whole: it gets better. I would have laughed at myself saying that, but after going through all of this, I promise you. Advice to anyone going thru it: the little things. The times when coffee is just the right temperature, when you have fresh, clean sheets, when you eat your comfort foods, early spring mornings, you name it. That’s what’s gotten me this far, and I truly can’t explain how much it’s helped me. It gets better, so so much better, and it’s worth it to stay- I promise." -KG

" I am now 63 days clean of self harm, and on the way to more."

At a very young age I had very high levels of anxiety. This untreated anxiety turned into depression. With another factor of abusive parent, from a young age I never felt good enough. At the young age of 8 I started self harming, first it was once a month, every other week, every week. Soon enough I was self harming every single day. When I was 11 I planned, what is now, my first suicide attempt. Now I have 9 total. I would self harm every single day to feel, something, anything. Until the age of 14, I lost my best friend to suicide. Before she took her life I was struggling with my addiction to self harm. For the first couple months I was in total shock, didn’t know how or what to feel. I quickly spiraled into a depressive episode where I was going to attempt again, but someone intervened and send me to the er. After that I was sent to a partial hospitalization program. Where I learned how to deal with grief and was on the road to recovery. The php saved my life showing me how to deal with my emotions in a positive way. I am now 63 days clean of self harm, and on the way to more🤍 -LP

"If you are struggling silently, alone, please tell someone."

Here’s my story. I started having thoughts I did that made me feel uncomfortable when I was in eighth grade (14). I remember it so clearly because I was on Spring Break vacation. I was supposed to be having a relaxing time, yet I kept having thoughts that made me anything but relaxed. I didn't know what to think of these thoughts. I didn't have any reason to be depressed or sad, but all of a sudden I was having anxious feelings but it also felt like self harm thoughts. I never acted on these thoughts, but that didn’t make them go away. I went through periods of thoughts like this for years without telling anyone. A few years later, I was having trouble falling asleep due to anxiety. My doctor started me on an antidepressant, sertraline, to help with the sleeplessness but I still didn't tell her about my thoughts. All she knew about was the sleeplessness. Fast forward a few more years and with all that was going on in my world, my anxiety increased again while in college. I was 21 when I first told another person about my anxiety. All of it. 7 years of locking it all up inside and I am very glad that period of my life came to an end. I never want to hold it in again. Telling someone you can trust is a feeling of freedom and a weight lifted. I told someone who knew how to help, a good friend. She encouraged me to see a counselor on my college campus. She also shared with me then that she also goes to counseling. It helped to not feel alone. Going to counseling for the first time can be scary because you’ve never done it before. You have no idea what to expect. I can tell you if you’ve never been, that it is not scary and I wish I would have done it 7 years sooner. It helps to just talk through things with someone and get them off your chest. And therapists have studied mental health issues and are trained to notice things that you do. I still have anxiety, but I know how to deal with it better. I know what may be the cause and what I can do to help it. Those are the tools that therapy gives. You also don't have to feel really bad to see a therapist. You don’t have to have suicidal thoughts or be self harming to see a therapist. I think that’s really important to know. Therapists will help you no matter how brief or mild your symptoms are. People want to help you. You do not have to be diagnosed to seek counseling, and going to counseling does not give you a diagnosis. They’re just there to help you navigate your mental health struggles, that’s it! I wanted to share my story because I am a teacher. I work with young people now, and I see some of them struggle with mental health. And those are just the ones with visible signs! I worry for the ones who keep it hidden like I did. Tell someone! Tell someone you trust, who you know won’t judge you. Tell your best friend, a trusted adult, teacher, parent, or IGYSP Ambassador. If you are struggling silently, alone, please tell someone. That’s the first step to getting better. - A teacher

"I am 2 months clean!"

So- this is my story. In fifth grade I had really severe anxiety and a fear of throw up that prevented me from going to school or making it really hard to do normal things like go to the dentist or eating or even being around other people, luckily I had a great teacher and friend, I also got a therapist and started taking meds which we’ve been upping since then. Sixth grade was ok while I was online and seventh was not as bad but I was still anxious. This year (eight grade) I started feeling really sad and wasn’t looking forward to things I used to love, I felt numb, lonely, like a robot. I struggled with lots on suicidal thoughts and attempted once but stopped myself. I started self harming and ofc my parents found out, I talked to my therapist a lot and tried to make sense of things, it wasn’t easy but I took steps towards being better. I slip up sometimes and have breakdowns but that just shows I’m human. As of now I go to school everyday and have at least two therapy related appointments a week, but most of all I actually want to feel ok. I am 2 months clean and I am so proud, please reach out and know that you are loved💚 -Sasha