Hard Work is Worth It My name is Lexi. I am a runner and a junior in high school. A couple of years ago during my freshman year, I was struggling immensely with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I remember going to my first appointment with a therapist to get help. As the bubbly, energetic and active teen I had always been, I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so uptight and worried and having no energy or motivation to do anything. No terrible event had taken place during this time in my life, so I was confused about what was happening to me. Most of my days were spent either stressing out to the point of having panic attacks or spending the whole day in my room. Then at night, I wouldn’t sleep much. I either stared at my ceiling for hours or I broke down silently in tears, crying into my pillow until I finally fell asleep. I had been going to my therapist for help for a few months after my first visit. While I improved in certain areas, I struggled in other and got even worse in others. I had started to engage in self-harming behavior since I thought it would help me feel better. It helped me feel better for a short while, then I regretted it and felt so guilty about my actions. It took weeks for me to build up the courage to tell my family about my biggest secret. Once they found out, my therapist and doctor were informed of it too. As a result, they had wanted me to take medication. Although it took a while to get used to the medicine, I was feeling a little better each day. During the summer of 2016 in July, things took a turn for the worst. I had been thinking about suicide. I knew deep down something wasn’t right and it wasn’t like me to feel this way. I was terrified. I was taken to a psychiatric hospital for five days, where I had to stay as an inpatient. I was so overwhelmed with many emotions, but more than anything, I felt fearful, since I’ve never experienced anything like this before. After the intense therapy treatments I received there, I was finally able to go home. I then completed an outpatient program at the hospital for two weeks. From that point, I got to see my friends and some family members who were very supportive through this, and I began 10th grade in August. I felt nervous going back to school, since everyone would be talking about their summer and how much fun it was. I had not wanted to discuss mine, since it consisted of mainly therapy visits and then going to the psychiatric hospital. Some days I felt good. Other days, I felt worse again. I had my struggles and relapsed a few times. As months went by, I started going to therapy twice a week and I felt a million times better. I was going to individual therapy and a DBT group. Although it took so much hard work, it was so worth it and helpful. I knew I was getting better when my anxiety and depression was decreasing and I wasn’t engaging in self-harming behavior anymore. I joined track and field at school, clubs and I started to feel like my normal self again. It turns out that I had no control over my depression and generalized anxiety disorder and both happened due to chemical imbalances in my brain. It was hard to accept my mental health conditions, but I am grateful that all of this happened, because I’m stronger than I have ever been before. I began my junior year a few weeks ago after a great summer this year and I’m really enjoying school so far. I am social, relaxed and enjoying each day. I look forward to participating in clubs at school again and being a member of the track team. My advice to anyone struggling is to never give up and to know that there is always help out there. You don’t have to face your struggles alone and the hard work put in to getting better is so worth it in the end. Share your story, message, poem, quote, photo or video of hope, struggle or recovery. By sharing your experience, you can let others know that they are not alone.