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Today is world mental health day. This photo is from right before I started OITNB. I’ve struggled with mental health my entire life. I was first diagnosed with depression at 13, then major depressive disorder at 16. When I was 18 I found out I had Dissociative amnesia . I had a few years entirely erased from my memory and a chance run in with my best friend from primary school was the first I learned about it. She remembered me but I didn’t recognize her at all. She remembered our teachers, things we did and my monkey backpack.. things I didn’t remember even when she said them with such innocent conviction. I went home and asked my mum “Did i have a monkey backpack at school?” That is when it all started to unravel and my life changed...I started asking questions. I found out I went from a smiling laughing child to a quiet mute who sat alone and stared off to the distance during recess after one of many traumatic events that I didn’t remember. One that my mum had to tell me about but hadn’t for so many years because the doctors at the time said I was too young to process what had happened and that it was for the best. I was also diagnosed with Bipolar for a long time until it turned out I just had depression.. the pure sad depression without the fun and not so fun parts of mania, it was an overactive thyroid that created that misdiagnosis. Cut to many dark times. On medication, off medication, on and off and on and off per each wrong diagnoses. There were hospitalizations, suicide attempts as young as 12. Cut to therapy and meditation, cut to seeing me at ever self-help section of every bookstore. Cut to a brain scan which showed I had severe PTSD... cut to more therapy and tests that led me to my final diagnosis... C-PTSD. Complex PTSD. What I have learned from the struggles of mental health is just how strong I am. It’s how amazing people are because they love me and support me and yet you can’t judge those who don’t understand and don’t know how to do that either. It’s that you cannot judge people at all because you can never know what they have been through. It’s that self love and self care is more important than anything else.