Follow me on Instagram @carolinegleich

A lot of people don’t know that I struggled with substance abuse during my teens and early twenties. I abused alcohol and drugs and went to rehab. I spent a lot of time going to therapy. Those years are a part of my life I never really talk about because they are a time I want to forget. When I was in those dark times, I didn’t think I would live until I was thirty (and yet here I am, at thirty-three).⁣⁣⁣⁣According to the World Health Organization, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among 15-19 year olds, and half of all mental health conditions in adulthood start by 14 years of age.⁣⁣⁣⁣It’s taken me my entire lifetime to learn that it’s ok to talk about what’s bothering me and to be able to speak as openly and candidly about mental health as I do about having a cold or an injury.⁣⁣⁣⁣We don’t need to hide what’s hard. I’ve learned that our greatest struggles can become our greatest gifts. We don’t have to be tough and power through. We should wear our wounds, our scars, and the chips on our shoulders proudly. They don’t need to be hidden.⁣⁣⁣⁣Depression lurks in the back of my mind and I am always terrified it will come back and I won’t know what to do. Whenever life seems to be going well, I have a nagging fear that things will change because I struggle with self-esteem and have this inner narrative that I don’t deserve happiness. I have gone through most of my life, guarded and cautiously optimistic. Maybe that’s why I smile a little too big. Because I’m afraid the happiness won’t last.⁣⁣⁣⁣But talking about these issues and seeking help has given me so many amazing tools to cope, and the more work I do on it, the more tools I seem to have. It’s been a lifelong process. ⁣⁣I know I'm a few days late for world #mentalhealthday but I felt it was important to share my struggles so that others can open up too, so we can destigmatize mental health and create a future where mental health care is supported by schools, employers and insurance.⁣⁣⁣Photo: @jaybeyerimaging

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