“I am here to let you know…”

“I wish that when I was younger and struggling, a speaker such as a Minding Your Mind young adult speaker had come to my school to let me know I wasn’t alone and that I had a voice.” That’s what I always wanted but unfortunately I was never blessed with that experience. Instead I was told to hide the things I was going through because they weren’t things that others accepted. This led me to having issues with self worth and working to fit in because I was afraid of being judged by others. After being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Depression, I was devastated because I couldn’t let anyone know that behind the girl that played sports and smiled there were demons that she had to face everyday. I felt so alone.  I felt like I didn’t have a voice and always had to work to please those around me. My mind would make me believe that I was useless and that I would always be defined by my issues because mental health is not something we talk about lightly in society. I reached a really hard time in my life where I felt like nothing could ever get better and this was when a friend really started noticing that I was struggling. She became a huge support system and gave me the strength to realize that I wasn’t defined by the things I went through and I could get help and still live my life. For the first time, I started feeling the strength to use my voice because I did not want anyone else to feel the way I felt and I thought it was my job to help those around me just as my friend did for me. When I finally started using my voice and volunteering for the cause, I felt empowered and for the past nine years I have had the best job in the world; speaking to young adults. Now when I go into middle and high schools I make sure to tell the students this, “I am here to let you know that you are not alone and to let you know that you have a voice and that is a very powerful thing!”

-Melissa H.