Let me just start by saying thank you to everyone again for reaching out to me and sharing their stories. Knowing that I am, unfortunately, in good company is somehow relieving to me as weird as that sounds. I have always seen myself as the imperfect person living in the perfect town. Everyone in town appears to be gorgeous, well dressed, successful, and uncomplicated. Uncomplicated will never be the word to describe the contents of my mind. Regardless of my Depression and Anxiety, I am the ultimate people pleaser and over thinker. Every situation, even as simple as going to Whole Foods for eggs, becomes a process. ‘Should I dress up or wear makeup? I hate to do both so why would I? But what if I see someone from high school and they look amazing and I look like I just woke up? But I did just wake up so why would I care? Damn it, I should have gone to the gym yesterday like I promised myself, now I’m going to have to wear leggings instead of shorts’. That’s real life people. Depression and Anxiety on top of that just add a layer of guilt, for feeling all those things, and apprehension, to even step outside the house. Getting out in public on a daily basis is an absolute battle and I think that is something that those who don’t suffer don’t realize. I look completely normal and act happy and bubbly but I’m not on the inside. Don’t EVER judge a book by its cover. Another layer of Depression is lack of motivation and interest in anything. This includes intimacy with a partner or anyone for that matter. There was a good chunk of time when I couldn’t even get myself to feel intimate or close to my partner. I love him so much and always have, but for some unspoken reason kissing, cuddling, or anything else seemed like too much work. Taylor, the gentleman that he is, never uttered a word or complaint, though he did show concern for me. I felt so numb. Numb is the only way to describe it and even saying the word now I can still feel the remnants of it lingering. Just because I am being treated doesn’t mean it doesn’t linger in my bones and lay heavy on my heart. Intimacy has always been a touchy subject for me because of my past relationship in which I was mentally and emotionally abused. Nothing I ever did seemed good enough and I never felt worthy for my ex-boyfriend. A part of you is torn apart when your significant other, at the time, cheats on you with multiple girls regardless of the fact that you gave him what you thought was the most precious gift in the world. These girls couldn’t offer you that and I willingly gave that to you… yet you still chose them? I was broken. I am still healing from that gigantic fissure in my soul today. It eats at me like maggots on a festering wound every day. I do not regret but I also cannot forget. Intimacy is much easier for me today with medication. I finally feel like myself again, my old self…the self that wasn’t broken. I want to be clear that it had NOTHING to do with Taylor or anything he was doing, it was purely the chemical imbalance in my brain causing Depression and Anxiety. I wouldn’t have been able to get through anything without his support, love, and stubbornness to make me feel worthy again. I would be lost without him. Sitting here at the computer writing these words, I have no clue how any of you are going to take anything I have just talked about. It gives me the heart pounding and sweaty palm beginnings of a panic attack. This could fail miserably and no one could relate to what I say but I have to get it out anyways. It’s funny because I’ve become so accustomed to my panic attacks that I can sense them coming now and so can Taylor. Apparently there is a certain face of fear that I give to him right before and he knows to rush over. I know I keep comparing it to drowning but that is honestly the most accurate way to describe it. Like the tide is sweeping me under and then it becomes terribly hard to breathe and I start shaking like a leaf. The pounding of my heart thumps in my ears and I can’t hear anything else but that. The only way I’ve found to control it is to slow my breathing and listen to noise-cancelling headphones at high volume until it passes. It is the worst feeling and there is no way to stop it usually. While all my other symptoms have improved, the panic attacks continue to ravage my mind often. I am hoping that over time I will be able to control them and rationalize whats happening. Regardless, I feel very positive and excited for my future. I have recently began picturing my children, which I didn’t before, and I think this is a sign of improvement. Seeing your future in front of your eyes is just like finding your “happy place,” it makes you excited and gives you hope. Don’t ever give up because you are important and will be even more important to others in your future, whether it is parents-in-law, children, or nieces and nephews. They will want to know the strong, persistent, lovely person that you are.