Hi! My name is Kiley McCracken and I am currently a senior at Logan High School. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was about thirteen years old. A few years later when I was fifteen, I was also diagnosed with depression. Mental illnesses sadly run very strong in my family because my dad has also been diagnosed with those illnesses as well as a few others. These mental illnesses have caused me to really struggle throughout high school. My GPA dropped to about a 2.3 and I would fake having headaches or being nauseous just to get out of school most days. I have two amazing parents who eventually got me into therapy to start working through these crippling fears and terrible coping mechanisms. I have been to see two or three therapists throughout my high school career. I have tried two different antidepressants and am currently taking three medications every morning to help with my brain. Through the many years of therapy I have finally been able to develop healthy skills to take care of myself. The biggest being to do the things that usually make me happy even if they do not spark joy in the moment. I have always loved art and painting. I was able to create beautiful things while getting my mind to stop running at a million miles an hour. Another example is, I would hang out with people who would not drain my social battery and those who understand what I am going through. This became quite the challenge once COVID-19 hit. Of course everyone was affected by this crazy pandemic but during the first lockdown I fell into another depression. There were some days where I just wanted to give up and not try anymore. But, I remembered the hours of therapy and how I have wanted to end it all before but I am still here to this day. I slowly started to do the things I loved again and I showered and fed myself properly. After a few weeks of working hard to stay afloat life became a little easier. I still have my down weeks but I am still here today and that is something I am insanely proud of. I have even maintained a 4.0 GPA my entire senior year. I have been accepted to Utah State University and plan on attending there in the fall. I also am employed part time. My life sure has had the ups and downs but I have made it through what I thought were the toughest years of my life and am still here to tell the story. My story is also why I want to study psychology! I want to be able to understand what is happening in my brain and become educated enough to eventually help people just like me and help them feel less alone.

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