Empty. The word that describes what my heart felt during middle school. A once bubbly, passionate girl suddenly had the life sucked out of her. Peers and parents constantly asked me, “Where did our Anna go?”, and I had no response. I was left feeling unmotivated, fearful, and unworthy. These feelings grew worse as the transition into high school and a broken home life pulled me further away from my old self. My freshman year was the beginning of my journey with discovering mental health. After attempting suicide and self harming, I was admitted into the Lindner Center of Hope and continued outpatient care.
I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder and my past year of darkness was finally given clarity. With my diagnosis came months of outpatient therapy, and continuing years of struggles. I had to learn how to view my world with my old positive outlook again, and most importantly I had to learn that depression and anxiety could not define me. I have to battle them everyday, but I will not be empty. I lean on my supportive family, friends, and faith to remind me of my true identity and my strength through these difficult times. I have lived with depression and anxiety, and still am living a full and joyful life.
Today, I am a sophomore at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and writing my story gives me so much hope for the continuation of my future. I hope young woman like me can see they are not alone. Your diagnosis does not define you. Getting help does not mean you are weak. You are strong and You can live life to the fullest.