The sound of my morning alarm awakes me. I refuse to go back to reality. I sleep in a little longer. The alarm goes off again. I look at the time, 6:20 am. I sigh, and force my dead body to resurrect from the coffin I call ‘my bed’. Before I shut my front door I take a deep breath. I try to relax on my way to school. Forcing myself to ignore the millions of thoughts racing through my head. I get to the parking lot. One deep breath. The bell rings. I feel my heart begin to race. I force myself out of my car and open the doors that I fear. I try to ignore the mass group of teenage possies’ in the hallways. Throughout the day I struggle to fit in. I keep my thoughts to myself. I feel like a ghost. Like, nobody notices me but can feel my presence. And when I do get noticed I feel shivers run through my back. I look at them and spot judgement on their face…

Anxiety is not fun, neither is Depression. And having both is something unbearable. You feel like your souls being drained, you feel black and white, and yet you still manage to panic about every little thing you see and do: What you just said, what that person’s thinking of you, If you look okay, talking in front of the whole entire class and knowing that you will mess up — because you’re scared. You’re not like the rest of them; Comfortable and confident. Your brain goes faster than the speed of light, yet you feel like your sinking into the ground, and you panic even more because you feel like you’re crazy and you just want it to stop. But you keep going. You prove to yourself that you can do this! That you can get through one more day. You prove your demons wrong, and at the end of the day you feel proud that you faced your fears and told those demons ‘no’. You begin to take control of your life and not let the thoughts of demons and fear be the ruler of you. You are the royal ruler of your life, and once you notice this you will begin to feel a change in your life. You get the help you need, you talk everything out. And you begin to feel something you’ve never felt before: Happiness.

I can now spot the sun through the grey clouds, and I can feel the warm breeze of a blue sky on my face slowly awakening from the sad clouds. I have achieved my goal of becoming the ruler of my life. Yes, I still have anxiety and depression at times, but it no longer consumes me. I have managed to accept these mental illnesses. And they’ve helped shape me into a stronger and braver person than I’ve ever been before.

(We asked Ms. Newbold to elaborate on her resilient practices that she used to overcome her difficulties.)

Thank you for giving me the chance to elaborate. What has helped me survive through these trials of mine are multiple things: Journaling, Therapy, prescribed medication from my doctor, an Emotional Support Animal, and being around my family.

Firstly, I find it very helpful to write down anything and everything that I’ve been thinking and feeling. To have writing as an outlet is a very useful and helpful tool. Writing your feelings down is a personal way of communicating without having to share how you feel with others. Writing is a way to process and ponder all the things you’ve been feeling.

Secondly, Therapy. I use to think I had to be embarrassed about going to therapy, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I think everyone should have a therapist, or at least someone they can go to so they can get things off their chest. Having a therapist is as important as having a doctor. One of the worst things you can do as a person with anxiety and/or depression is to keep to yourself. Holding everything in only makes a time bomb out of yourself, you think it’s for the best but really deep down it’s only causing you more pain than there needs to be. If I could give any advice to people who have struggled like me, I would tell them that there are people out there who care about you. There are people out there who want to help you! You don’t need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. You’re not the only one going through these challenges. If anything you should be proud of yourself for getting help from someone, because that takes courage and it means you’re trying to move forward with your life. I have learned so many things from therapy. It’s helped me develop into the person I am today. My therapist has helped give me tips on how I can better manage my anxiety and depression. For example, We’ve talked about changing our perspective on how we see things, If there’s something you don’t agree with about yourself then you can either change it or accept it — there’s no inbetween. We’ve talked about embracing who you are, to not worry so much, especially if it’s things you know you can’t change. She always reminds me to think positively and to not be so hard on myself. Setting goals for yourself everyday and reward yourself when you accomplish them is also very important and awarding. It’s important to look at yourself in the mirror and saying positive messages to yourself, the more you hear and speak positively the less you will hear negativity. Living a healthy lifestyle, spending time with nature, listening to music, and taking deep breaths are some of the things that’ve really helped me. My Therapist has also taught me how to identify my emotions. When identifying your emotions you have to ask yourself “why am I feeling this way?”, “What’s the underlying fear?” and “Is this emotional or logical reasoning?” . This method helps you to think through your emotions, and to ask yourself if what you’re feeling, or fearing, is valid. It’s important to ask yourself if this emotion is worth my time, and to always ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to help yourself. The list can go on and on… With these skills I’ve found many of them helpful. And although some of these skill have’t seemed to personally help me, I find some better than other. I’ve learned that some of these skills aren’t easy, some of these skills take time. With certain skills, you won’t see results automatically, you have to keep trying and working on them.

Thirdly, Getting an emotional support animal has helped me out a ton! I believe animals were put on this earth for a reason, and one of those reasons is to have them as a companion. I have a pet rabbit, named Quinn, and she can change my mood in a blink of an eye. She helps me see a light towards life, She helps me to not feel alone. She’s someone I can talk to and love. Having her is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

And Lastly, being with your family and loved ones. There’s something about being with the people you love that makes you feel warm and bubbly inside. Family helps heal the loneliness inside your heart. Family is there to help you with anything you need, Family is there to talk with you, Family is there to love you for you.