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Learning to Ask: Saving Your Own Life

Mental health has become a topic watered down over the years by over-discussion and pills. What was once the mark of madmen, the kind of demons that haunted the minds of men like Mozart and Van Gogh is now characterized as moodiness and eventually “another committed suicide,” and it shouldn’t be. Everyone gets sad, everyone has ups and downs, but depression is a seed constantly in the back of your mind, a pit constantly tempting you to fall in, yearning for and pulling you. It means seeing the parts of the world and the people in it for what they are, the parts of them that others either don’t see or shy away from, constantly. It doesn’t cause a lack of motivation for me; it’s not being able to sleep at night because you’re screaming and crying and unable to turn away from the horrors you see. It’s maddening, but it's not all there is. And at Freedom K9, we know that, and our goal is actually finding solutions instead of merely masking symptoms.

I never asked for help; until recent years, I didn’t think I was worth the time. I grew up told nonstop, and by professionals, that I was some white kid who wanted attention, so why would I ask for help, when there are so many other people out there who really need it? I tried to internalize my demons, turn them on myself and avoid hurting others, and then finally, finally, four years ago, after having self-harmed for the same amount of time, I was diagnosed. My therapist saw the destruction wreaked by the lack of proof in my life, so she made it happen for me. Barely still on the scales, they said, depression and anxiety. For some, a diagnosis might feel like a prison sentence, but for me it was a breath of fresh air. I’d always known I was depressed, and I could finally believe myself and move the hell on. If someone is blind, you give them glasses; depression felt the same way.

Moving on, it seems, is a bit easier said than done. I did it for a while; I was blessed with a really great couple of friends in high school (cough), and I felt armed and ready. College, however, has a way of changing us, and a lot of pain built up for me until I started trying to numb it, going down a self-destructive spiral that broke many of my most precious, weaker friendships. I was always me, though, and I’ve come out of it kicking and screaming and singing hallelujah.

So, I want to warn you guys. Was it worth it? Yes. But, would I save another from the same pain if I could? Yes. There has always been so much love around me, in the world and in its people, and if I hadn’t taken advantage of the help I did have, I don’t know where I’d be. Asking for help is hard when you don’t want to burden others, when you want to be able to handle it, but I’ve been doing it more, and I’m learning that it can be the first step to truly saving yourself. We want to help. We are here. You are heard, and you are loved.

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