Leah Pollick
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The Year That Changed Everything

This has taken a lot of guts for me to sit down and write this, but my hope of being able to help others was enough for this to all happen. I wanted to write this to share my mental health story that has been an ongoing struggle for the past six months. I have always prided myself in being a rock for my friend's and constantly being the friend to cry to, to lean on, and that can "handle anything." This year, however, was one like none other and has changed me in more ways than one. After losing two of my best friend's parents, one of which was a second mother to me my entire life, and both grandparents, my perspective on life, death, and mental health changed forever.

The main reason I am writing my story in a series of stories is to emphasize that it is okay to not be okay. If you knew me even one year ago at this time, you would see me as a strong, stable, and stubborn (at times) girl with a rational head on her shoulders. Now, I have embarked on a journey with anxiety, which for me became a constant, reoccurring fear of the worst possible scenario which eventually took over me.

The moment that started everything was June of 2018, after a whole semester of suppressing my grief and feelings about my best friend's mom's death, I had a major panic attack in the park and ended up in the hospital. I will never forget the moments leading up to it, feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest and that the world was going to end. However, throughout my journey I have promised myself to never let my emotions and feelings get bottled up to the point where I explode, ever again.

This blog is to address that I am not ashamed of my mental health struggles, and have every intention on using my journey to help others. I'm here to tell my story not after the fact, but during the struggle. Every day is still a journey, sometimes good and sometimes bad—but during this time in my life I realized that every day is a new chance to learn and grow to be a better, stronger person. So for anyone out there struggling, I hope my stories and experiences can help you and encourage you to reach out for help. One of the strongest things you can do for yourself is to know when to reach out for help, and to accept it.

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