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This is what battling mental health looks like

These are your stories.

Mental health affects so many of us.

Whether struggling with their own mental health, trying to get their child or another loved one help, or just wanting to better understand a friend, people you would never expect are fighting mental health battles.

This week, so many of you were willing to share your stories of mental health. We heard stories of struggle and triumph. Stories of people still finding their way.

Thank-you to all of you.

Each person who shared their story did so with one hope: that their story may help inspire someone else. That their story may help someone else realize they are not alone, or that they can reach out and get help, or to help break the stigma that has surrounded mental illness for so long.

These are your stories:

If you don't see the posts below, click here.

"I am 17 years old and a Junior at Arvada High School. I struggle with PTSD and depression. I wrote this to share my story hoping more people will speak up . I wrote this to let people know they can reach out to others because someone out there is fighting similar battles. I wrote this to let others know they aren’t alone. I’ve always been so good at putting on a mask and hiding my feelings. Walking around the halls with a smile pretending everything is okay, but sometimes pretending gets exhausting. Sometimes I just need a shoulder to cry on or a ear to listen. So then here I am sitting in a small room next to about 7 girls that all hide behind this same mask, in some sort of way anyways. From just the looks of it, the only thing we have in common is our school and our gender. However we have a lot more in common than expected. The first day we were invited us to this group it was very quiet. The counselor did the majority of the talking. Over some time we have became not just a group, but a family, and each other's support system. Now the group is led by us, seven girls. Around each other we have learned to slowly take off the mask and show our true feelings. What is discussed in the group stays within the group, including who the members are. This allows us to be more open. Within the group, we talk about past experiences or what is currently happening. We shed tears. We crack jokes. We give advice, and we take advice. Personally, from being in the group I honestly can say that I have grown as a person. Members represent all grade levels, showing that we all need each other. Being in a group full of such understanding similar people has lifted the weight off many. There are people who are there for us with welcoming arms. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get help." For more information about being a part of the Girls’ Group, contact Matt Teegarden in the counseling office at Arvada. All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #depression #depressionawareness

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"I was diagnosed with depression when I was just six years old. I got it from my mother, who got it from her father, so on and so forth. I’ve been in therapy programs for 17 years, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a rough journey. At 16 I made an attempt on my life that resulted in months of rehab. During that time I was diagnosed with panic disorder. Imagine being afraid, like the moment right after a scary monster pops out during a movie, but feeling that way all the time. My heart rate spikes, my palms sweat, I shake and I can’t catch my breathe. It’s like a heart attack. They pass in 30 minutes or less, but, those minutes go by like hours. But this is a story of overcoming. I’ve seen the damage mental illness can cause both emotionally and physically, I’ve lost more people I can count on two hands to mental health problems. People need to see it like a disease. Because it is. Without proper treatment, most people don’t make it. But I’ve learned. There are tools and ways to help yourself and others. I’m 24 years old, I’ve almost got my degree, and I’m living happily with my partner. Some days are hard, but it fuels me to get better. Medication is a tool, along with proper therapy and coping mechanisms. I just finished my college thesis on art therapy, and I learned a lot about myself and ways to help both me and others. At the end of the day, for those suffering, please just remember, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you, our brains are just...poorly wired. We just need to work on re-wiring. Never hesitate to reach out. We aren’t alone." All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #depression #suicide #suicideawareness #panic #anxiety

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"We all get anxious. We all get stressed. But not everyone lives with an anxiety order. I do. I haven’t always, but now it’s just part of life. I had my first panic attacks senior year of high school. They’re just part of life now. I never know when they’re going to come, but when they do, it’s hard to do anything but cry. I’ve had then while driving, and I think that’s the scariest time to have a panic attack. It helps to just cry to my mom or my dog and then take a nap. Recently with all the gun violence and school shootings, it’d made my anxiety a lot worse. Panic attacks were more frequent and so was the constant stress of going to school and taking the lightrail downtown. I started seeing my doctor about my anxiety. She suggested I see the social worker who worked in the building too. I didn’t want to. I hate talking about my feelings, especially ones that are negative. It felt weak-like there was something wrong with me. I did start seeing the social worker, and she’s really helped me come up with wide arsenal of things to help with my anxiety. Yes, I still have panic attacks; yes, I still worry that maybe Auraria could be the next tragedy on the news, but I have things to help me out. There’s nothing wrong with having anxiety. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just took me a little while to figure that out." All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #panicattack #breakthestigma

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I was first diagnosed with depression at 15 after an attempt but no one really knew what I was dealing with. Dealt with wild mood swings, irrational or inappropriate behavior and difficulties socializing for many years which included spells with antidepressants that didn't really help much. About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, anxiety issues, and a long list of other issues. Waking up each morning wondering who you're going to be today is not fun to say the least and fighting off the mood swings really wears me down. The racing thoughts, wandering around in a daze half the time due to the meds and the desire to just find a place to hide from everyone to take a nap just makes each day a challenge. Getting depressed and staying there for weeks or months at a time makes socializing a dream, even going out for groceries feels like climbing a mountain. Of course having Bipolar affects relationships, which is why I don't really have many and even have troubles with my own family at times. I have had a habit of pushing people away even when all they want to do is help, not good for building a support network. An example of how bad I can be at times: having a discussion about something small, someone starts telling me that I missed a small detail, and I get mad then storm out of the room. But, hey, I do have a full time job (even though I change them about every 5 years) along with medical benefits and a pretty nice place to live. From the outside I appear like everyone else but on the inside, well I'm a prisoner in my own head (literally). All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #depression #depressionawareness #bipolar #borderlinepersonality #breakthestigma

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"I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression for the majority of the last 10 years. I think on some level I’ve found it really hard to have grace for myself, like I shouldn’t be “dealing” with this. I should be “over it” or have it “figured out” by now...I’m 25 and I’m beginning to realize that I have to allow myself the room to recognize that I’m okay. I’m not less than anyone, I’m not worse off, I’m not worthless. I have to fight everyday to remind myself that I am still living my life and moving forward. I haven’t given up yet.I have to fight for my life. I guess my journey with mental health is still going. I haven’t figured out how to heal. But I have figured out how to be okay with myself while I figure it out. Grace upon grace. Day by day. Small steps after small steps." All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #depression #depressionawareness #breakthestigma

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"I always had the impression that I couldn't work, that the symptoms would get in my way. No one told me any differently. No one was like have you ever looked for work. Until I found Clubhouse. Then I realized I could do anything, no matter what my mental illness was, and I've held a job for over a year and have never looked back." All this week we are sharing your stories of mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com #9NEWS #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #breakthestigma

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"Three years ago, the news of your death came around the time I wanted to give up my fight with depression. Several sessions with various psychologists and psychiatrists, months of trying out different anti-depressants to find the one that would actually work... I was so unbelievably exasperated and convinced I would never be able to feel like myself again. You inspired me to keep fighting. To stay strong. To not be ashamed of the monster I was constantly battling. To realize that the people who truly cared about me weren't going to go away just because of my mental illness. That I had people who loved me unconditionally even when I tried to continuously push them away. To realize that there was nothing "wrong" with me. To learn to be courageous and realize that depression was not my fault. That it did not disqualify me. That having a mental illness did not make me any less worthy of love and belonging in this world. Aleksey, to say you were a beautiful soul is an understatement. You were different in all of the best ways and you were unabashedly you 100% of the time. The world needed - and still needs - more people like you in the world, and instead they lost you.I am forever so grateful you were in my life, even if it was for a short period of time. It pains me to know that you will never know what an impact you have made on me. Had I not been in denial for so long about my mental illness, had I just spoken up and been open about it years ago... it makes me wonder if we could have helped each other out, that I could have somehow helped you out when we were both living in Erie." All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #depression #suicide #suicideawareness

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"I've made love to my "anxiety". I've married my "depression". I'm a 24 year old recent college graduate. I decided to study psychology for a number of reasons, one of which was to better understand my own psyche and life journey. I use quotations because those words are so widely popularized and often times vague and inaccurate. No one understands my battles but me. I was in an unhealthy romantic relationship and began to see, with clarity, where I really was at mentally. This gauging/assessing period was very uncomfortable because I had to be utterly honest with myself. Breaking up with my best friend right with around the time of college graduation was one of the most difficult things I've ever experienced. It's easy to love someone else but to love yourself is a whole other terrain. I became infatuated with psychology books and poetry, perhaps because I was finally prepared to open myself up to them. I shifted my perspective and asked myself how I could use this experience as a catalyst for change. I sat with my feelings. I made goals. I embraced who I truly was and that wouldn't have been possible if I didn't force myself to be alone. It'a one thing being alone, it'a another feeling alone/lonely. Distractions have never been for me and I knew these inner experiences weren't going anywhere. I'm still learning to coexist with all these feelings and being my true authentic self. I accepted the responsibility I have to myself for the construction of my reality. I'm constantly checking in with myself and learning to just be. To simply feel. I've made tremendous strides in the recent months and am eager for what the future holds. I love connecting with people and lead my life in a way that encourages growth and embodies emotion and relationships. I mean what else do we really have?" All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #depression #anxiety

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"My boyfriend and I have been together for about about 8 years now. When we met in college I had no idea he had struggled with fairly severe depression in the past. He just seemed like such an easy-going, kind and fun person. The first time I saw him go through the depression was more than a year into our relationship when he was stressed about something with school. It was scary. I didn't know how to help him and he almost seemed like a completely different person. It's happened a little less than once a year since then. Sometimes I think I deal with it well. Sometimes I'm mad he won't do things he knows help. Sometimes I get upset because I don't understand how I'm not good enough to keep him happy. It always scares me still. I never know when I will get the person I know back. But he always comes back. And I try to remember that it's all part of him. The reason he is so level-headed and calm most of the time(which is one of the things I love most about him) is probably partly do with what he's been through other times. It's been good for a little over a year now. I'm optimistic it won't come back again. I always am." All this week, we are sharing your stories about mental health in your life. If you would like to share your story in the hope it may help someone else who is struggling please e-mail us: webteam@9news.com. #9NEWS #MentalHealth #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthawareness #depression #depressionawareness

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If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help. Here are are some places you can reach out to: https://on9news.tv/2w1mgD9.