Jamie Showalter

From a young age, I've always loved the written word. From Austin to Hemingway, from Frost to Poe, from King to Crichton, the ability of these amazing authors to express themselves was something I wanted to do myself, but never had a real way to do so. Being an introvert growing up, I found writing gave me the voice I needed but never had before. Expressing ideas, creating new worlds, following characters on their journeys, all of these were ways to broaden the world I felt was small and unkind.

When I was about 14, I started exhibiting symptoms of depression and anxiety. Harsh school environments and a set of parents who loved but didn't really understand didn't help. I finally got diagnosed around 18 but didn't really think I "needed" any help. I took medication for a while, but never stayed with it.

After losing the best relationship I'd ever had (and trashing many more friendships along the way), I realized something was wrong. The reality I was dwelling in through my depressed and anxiety-ridden mind wasn't reality as it is. I finally went back to my doctor and got on medication permanent. After some tweaking, I found a mix that helped both mental illnesses I have. I also found a therapist that has been wonderful in helping me work through myself and rebuild the person I that I am instead of the facsimile I thought was me.

Seeing how much mental illness is still stigmatized really gets to me. I'm not ashamed of it, and I'll regularly tell anyone who will listen. No, I'm not crazy, no I'm not insane, no I'm not a freak or a weirdo. I am a person just like anyone else, with these issues I also have to balance in order to live the best life that I can. The brain is like any other organ and when it gets sick, it needs help.

My goal here is to share a few things that I've learned along the way in my 31 years and some insights I feel I've gained through this perspective. If I can help even one person realize that they're not alone, that help is available and that having these illnesses does nothing to change their worth as a person, then that's what fulfilling my goal looks like.

Welcome to my profile. Thank you so much for being here. I welcome any questions and my email is open if you need to talk.

**Be as kind as possible. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about**