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My name is Allyson.  I am 29 and have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for as long as I can remember.

I was born different, with a huge birth mark on my face. My parents were emotionally and verbally abusive and extremely controlling. I was severely bullied in grade school and spent most of my childhood alone and miserable. I developed serious self-esteem issues combined with emotional eating that negatively affected my weight. I had little to no personal identity, as most of my time waking moments were spend trying to please my parents in an event to avoid their volatile outbursts. Both are functioning alcoholics and have serious marital issues, of which I was frequently put in the middle of. I was too young to know something was wrong and by the time I got to high school I couldn’t understand why I was so severely depressed. In my late teens I was misdiagnosed with ADD and put on amphetamines, which only made my anxiety worse.

I see a therapist weekly and am currently taking medication to manage my symptoms. I have not been treated well being open about my conditions, so I have never sought government support or that from other agencies. Long story short, I was suicidal in college and the disability office tried their best to get me out of the dorms as soon as possible, with little to no regard for my wellness or future plans. I’ve mostly taken care of things on my own, developing an acute self-awareness that has been the key to managing my symptoms.

Sometimes, it’s still hard to get out of bed every morning. I am constantly struggling against my inherent desire to please everyone and be perfect. I put a lot of pressure on myself and can fall into a depressive episode if I don’t live up to my own expectations. Social situations are very difficult as I become hyper aware of my conduct and am constantly overthinking every small detail.

The important thing that I remind myself, and that I want everyone else to know is that you shouldn’t be afraid to share how you feel and be vulnerable-whether to a friend, professor, family member, or mentor.  I promise, they will help you push past the tough moments and move on to better days.

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