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This NAMI Linn County supporter is a half-Hispanic/half-white, senior undergraduate college student who identifies as a pansexual female. Here is her story…

“Growing up, there was a lot of stigma against having mental illnesses. Those with them were seen as weak or cowards depending on what it was they faced and the same thought process stuck with me for awhile, making high school difficult when I started struggling with suicidal ideation and self harm. It wasn’t until college that I realized that having these thoughts didn’t single me out or make me weak, but rather, made me human. I still struggle a lot with suicidal ideation sometimes, especially when I can’t keep to a routine, which is something that went away when the coronavirus hit. It took months to finally get into a new routine and it will take more energy to get into a routine with all of the precautions being taken into account by my college for the next semester. I’ve found that having a constant routine has allowed me to keep my mental illness in check and it is something I will always strive to have in my life.”

Was your family supportive?

“My family doesn’t know that I suffer from suicidal ideation, I don’t tell them. The only one who really knows fully is my fiance, everyone else either knows nothing or only bits and pieces. I didn’t want to tell my family because my sister has anxiety that tends to get brushed away a lot and the one time my brother knowingly suffered with self-harm years ago it seemed to get brushed away (not sure as I don’t always get told things). I told my fiance because we reached an agreement of not hiding anything from each other and he’s had the fun of walking into my apartment while I was mid panic attack before, so it was only right to tell him”.

If you could go back and improve the situation what would you do differently?

“If I could go back and change anything it would be teaching myself how to stick to a routine earlier in life. Other than that I wouldn’t change anything because I am where I am today partially because of the battles I’ve faced and I don’t want to think about what else would change if I could remove the mental illness”.

Any advice for people dealing with mental illness?

“My advice is to keep fighting, find something that helps you ground yourself whether it be music, art, a routine, whatever. Find that grounding thing and utilize it as often as you can. Between constantly listening to music and having my routine, my battle feels as though I need to fight less than I did in high school”.

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