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Mental health is not easy for most of us. Navigating the world as queer people, as people with other marginalizations, as people during unprecedented times like the one we’re dealing with now, it can be even trickier.

I always knew I had problems with anxiety and depression. As a kid, I would get worried about things like appendicitis (I read a Madeline book that mentioned it and freaked out), the world suddenly ending, or something happening to my parents. I would also have periods of sadness and despair I couldn’t shake, often following the anxiety.

Related article: Queering Mental Health 

It took me years to finally admit to myself that I had a problem and actually go get help. I’d heard some awful stories about medication for anxiety and depression, and there’s something about mental illness that is so hard to actually define. It took a lot to convince me that it was all in my head, and that’s OK.

I’m still not all the way there on my mental health journey, but I am so lucky that, despite being queer and female, I overcame the stigma and got help. For other folks, especially people of color and trans people, the journey is even harder. Being able to be myself and be confident has helped tremendously.

There’s no right or wrong way to take care of your mental health, and there’s no one-size-fits-all option. But everyone deserves to get the help they need. Stay strong; hang in there, and acknowledge what you need.

-Addison Herron-Wheeler