The biggest lie OCD and other mental illnesses tell us, is that we are alone. That could not be further from the truth! There are so many people around us that struggle with hidden demons. 1 in 4 people struggle with some form of mental illness. Some have decided to open up and share their struggles with others- you will find a summary of their stories here, and their entire journey found under the blog section, under the tab survivors. Here is proof that you are not alone in your battles, and that there IS hope!

Mia oliver, california

My name is Mia, I check my alarm clocks 18 times to make sure I will wake up. I lock the doors over and over until it feels right. I hold my hands in front of myself because I am shy at times. I have to color coordinate, or I won’t leave my house. I stop and stare at the mirror every single time to make sure I look okay- not because I am conceited but because I am obsessed with trying to be beautiful. But you know what? That’s how I am, and I will never change. All we want in life is to be loved and you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. You have to tell yourself that everything is going to be okay. It may feel like the end of the world, but you have to remember it is all going to be okay. Take a moment and breathe, cry a little if you need too, talk to a friend, your family, or your dog. Whatever it takes. Vent, it’s good for you. Someone will listen- you aren’t alone. Do the best you can. I can promise you that there are so many people in the world who haven’t met you yet that will absolutely adore you and will never have you apologize for being yourself. You aren’t like anyone else and that is amazing.

Taylor urmston, utah

I'm not perfect and I know that I have a long road ahead of me but I also know that I have a huge fan club full of friends and family who are there to help me. Exercising a few times a week and natural light may seem like small things but they are two factors that have been a huge help. 

 On days when things are more difficult, lying on a hard surface or writing about what I am feeling in a journal seem to help as well. At the beginning, I was scared to talk about my struggle but I've realized that hiding from it only makes it worse. This is part of who I am and I know that through my struggles and hardships, I will only be strengthened.

amie pixton, idaho

Today, I am a wife, mother, and a college graduate. While I still feel a little down about my body at times, I do not obsess over it. I enjoy good food, I enjoy having fun, and I enjoy my life. I did experience severe post-partum depression after I had my daughter, but because of my past experiences with depression, and the support system that I had, I was able to quickly get the help that I needed. On days when I do feel a little bit down, I remind myself that my body has done amazing things and that I am surrounded by so many people that love me. I also talk to my husband about how I am feeling, and he helps me work through it all. Every day, I take my antidepressants and try to stay positive. It's impossible to pinpoint what exactly has helped me through the dark times in my life, but I know that God, my support system, and modern medicine have all been key players. Now, I look back at what I faced and am grateful to have gone through it all. The things I experienced taught me compassion and understanding, and they've helped me appreciate the beauty of life. Today, I know that there is so much more to me than my mental illnesses. I'm grateful to finally see that.

bethany mccaa, california

Personally I found I need to use my mind, I need to read, I need to make time to create, and I found exercise helps me.  I’ve learned that life changes and it never goes quite as planned, these time can be hard but if I don’t make my mental health a priority it affects so many people and so many areas of my own life.  I hope that anyone reading this understands that everyone is very different but it is important to care for their own mental health in their own way.

Alexa McFarland, arizona

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety, ADHD and claustrophobia. I didn’t listen to all the others saying I was “fine”. I knew myself and I knew there had to be better things out there for me then having panic attacks three times a day.

With my therapist I was able to learn new coping mechanisms, how to set up people in my life to support me and how to have healthy boundaries for myself.

kaitlyn williams, California

I’m not mad or regretful or ashamed of having to be hospitalized for my mental illnesses. I feel stronger that I could come back and overcome such a difficult time in my life. I’ve become more open with sharing my story with others to help them to know they aren’t alone like I felt I was. I know there will still be tough times ahead in my life but I know that I can overcome them

Ariel williams, Oregon

My dad helped explain it to me once and he said it’s like any other medical condition. Take diabetes for example. Someone who doesn’t produce insulin doesn’t try to muscle through their glucose spikes, that can put them into a coma or worse. They go to a doctor, and figure out what their body needs to function properly. They just take the insulin and no one thinks less of them for it. Simple as that. Depression should be the same way. It’s not always an easy fix, but with therapies and so many medications out there, most people can find relief. If you’re struggling, please don’t try and get through it alone. Talk to someone about it who can help you find the answers you need. You don’t deserve to feel bad, you deserve to be just as happy as the next person. 

Andrea sanders, idaho

I haven’t found a “cure” for these specific ailments and I never will. They are apart of who I am and that’s okay. I do things to help soften the blow, like breathing exercises, journaling, painting, exercising, medicine, and etc. I try my best to keep my loved ones close and in the picture at all times. I inform them of my struggles and let them help me through it. Confiding in someone is scary, of course, but it can be so worth it.