When i grew up, I was alone. I had to be my own parent. I had to learn to trust my instincts. My father was there but he got into drinking. I have a brother but he was only 13 when my Mum died, so he was barely a teenager. He was in a really bad place himself so he did his own thing. I had to find my own way to cope.

I think I became the rational one, the responsible one. I’m always responsible. I never go wild. Of course I drink and go out or whatever, I know how to have fun, but I’m always present in the back of my mind. I’ve never had the experience when i let go and flow, 

I spent my childhood literally at the graveyard. I think it made me appreciate people a bit more. My mother was just 36 when she passed away. My grandparents were only in their fifties, but they both also passed away in a span of two years after that, probably of sadness. They were both healthy until that point.

You start to get scared of somebody else dying. It’s made me more aware. I was hugging people more and telling them that I love them and appreciate what they do. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise. We’re all going to die, maybe even tomorrow, and I’m okay with that.

Death isn’t scary to me anymore. It’s just a part to all of this…

When I was seventeen, I suffered from really bad depression, anxiety and panic attacks. My first panic attack was simple. I was sitting in my bed, my dog was with me and only three or four months old at the time. He’s been a major part of my wellbeing actually. He helped me through everything. He was only very small, I had to take care of him, and it really helped.

We were just sitting there watching TV show. I don’t know why but I started to feel really bad. My heart started pounding and I began to shake. I fell on the ground. I thought I’d be better by morning but when I woke up it was worse. I knew it wasn’t physical. I was so afraid and I was on edge, but I couldn’t explain it. I thought I was going crazy and that was the main thing I was afraid of – going crazy.

Then I chose to go to therapy. It’s a big part of my character. I went there for 8-9 months and it really helped me. It was the turning point in my life. I spoke out about the things I had carried around for so many years. Nothing changed, what happened happened, but I spoke about it and wrote them down. I accepted so many things just by getting them out. I forgave people I needed to and started to move on.

I think the fact that a professional hears your most perverted thoughts about life, death, family, your dysfunction and she says that it’s alright. She tells you that you’re not crazy. Somebody professionally tells you that you are not a nut job! In fact, she told me I was doing really well. She knew I was more logical and she told me that statistically kids who have these problems go down a bad path, yet I was doing a good job.

I felt broken. I felt like I could never be whole or fulfilled because I had this part missing from me. Then she helped me to understand that I was hard-working, strong and intelligent. She made me feel powerful, smart and strong. I was all of those things anyway but I just couldn’t see them.

“When I’m feeling really upset I tell myself that I’m just one person and my feelings and my life are so insignificant in the whole universe. It gives you perspective.”

When I was deep in anxiety, I found a forum that really helped me a lot. I thought I was going crazy. At the time I didn’t even know what anxiety was, I’d never heard of it. But when I read there, there were pages and pages of people just explaining the same thing I was going through. And then, a weight fell off my shoulders. It was no longer unknown.

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