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Depression hits me like a storm. Sometimes it’s light, dull and persistent. Other times it’s violent but fast, and then there are the hurricanes in life. Regardless the duration or intensity as the clouds roll in and the light around me darkens I begin to struggle.

But there is hope in knowing your lifelines.

In my most recent storm. I called a counselor associated with campus here to get suggestions on what I could do to take care of myself in healthy ways. I scheduled out my time in thirty minute to one hour increments so that I felt like I had control over what was happening (even if just a little). I reached out to a couple of people who I knew cared about me on the phone. Finally, I distracted with some art work.

My life is full of storms of depression and mood. So for me to be me and all that I want to be, I’ve had to come up with ways to navigate those storms. The storms used to be worse before I was in treatment, before I was on the right combination of medication, before I committed myself to wellness in my own life, but mental illness does not just go away. Depression is not something we can instantly fix.

My storms come and go, and with every single one I become better able to get through them. I prepare before, know what to do during, and continue with life after. Depression, Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Personality Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, PTSD etc. are not death sentences.

Living with a mental illness means you have learn how to live in a way that works for you. Then you go out and be who you were created to be, anything you want to be.

My storms have definitely taught me one thing: I am strong. I bet you are too.