Interview Fourteen: Unlearning Shame and Self-Blame

“Having a community of people who experience mental illness is so important for those who experience it. Because without it, a lot of times I felt like I was going through something that was completely abnormal. Why was I thinking this way? Why was I feeling this way? Why couldn’t I just shape up and go back to being a normal person? It’s like, well… it’s a little more complicated than that.”

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Interview Twelve: My Illness is My Responsibility

“I don’t want to be thought of as a victim, as this sufferer. I want to be thought of someone with agency. Should I define myself only in reference to my struggles? What does that signal to other people? I’m trying to grow and become stable enough to have functional relationships, so is talking about my mental illness signaling to others that I am dysfunctional, impacting my ability to have those relationships?”

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Business as Usual (While Drowning Inside)

Interview Three: Business as Usual (While Drowning Inside)

“I thought I was having a heart attack. The doctors told me there was nothing wrong, but I was so anxious that no rational thought made sense. I had them do more tests. They told me, ‘Cardiac arrest is rare in a 20-year-old. You’re fine.’ None of them ever mentioned stress or anxiety as a possibility for how I was feeling.”

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