My name is Leah. I am a 29 year old female living in North Carolina (we’ll see for how long, I’ve moved so many times trying to escape myself.) I have lived with mental illness for most of my life. It started when I was little, or so I’m told, with night terrors. I’d be awake, eyes open, but somehow still in the throes of a horrible nightmare. I don’t remember much before I was 12; that’s when I began self-injuring. I cut almost every day throughout junior high and high school. Finally, at age 14, my parents got me into therapy. Not the best I’ve had, as far as therapists go.. I’ve had so many. I was misdiagnosed at age 15 with major depression and put on antidepressants. I went into a tailspin and was hospitalized for the first time then. Since then, I’ve been hospitalized at least 15 times, mostly voluntarily. I have attempted suicide twice… That last time was almost 10 years ago. It broke my heart to see how my actions really affected those who love me. I am recovering from the self injury issue; it’s extremely difficult at times, but December of 2013 was my 3 year mark of not having cut myself. I am currently receiving disability for my mental illness. I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, traits of borderline and schizoaffective disorders, chronic anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and ADHD. I commonly hear (when I’m doing well, stable, etc) Oh, but you seem just fine to me! Or when I’m not: Oh, why can’t you just snap out of it, Leah? Many don’t understand what those living with mental illness deal with on a daily basis. I’ve been in relationship after relationship, married and divorced, dropped out of cosmetology school twice, and had countless jobs. Sometimes I am scared I wont make it. Then, I realize that though I have brain disorders/ mental illness, I am still me. I still have something to live for, I have to. I just have to fight my demons. Reach out, and last but not least, let others know they are definitely not alone.