I dreamed last night of being back in college in a dorm room by myself. Quickly, however, it turned out my dorm was an integrated part of a psychiatric hospital, and they would have access to me at all times. I had no freedom, and some truly frightening things happened to friends on mine. It got more and more horrifying as the dream went on.

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I was hospitalized twice in college. The experiences weren't this kind of nightmarish, but I was in a locked down ward. I did spend an afternoon locked in a padded room.

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The first time I saw a therapist, I was in sixth grade. Since I was 18, and went to college, I've been almost constantly in therapy. Mental illness runs in my family. It's a part of my life. It always has been. I've spent a life trying to cure it. What I need to do is cope with it. It's a lifelong companion. I need to live with it without being ruled by it.

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I'm coming to understand that for some people, mental illness is episodic. It comes, and then later, it goes. For others, it's a part of our constitution, and we'll always work on living with it.

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Our journeys are individual, both through the valley of the shadow of anxiety, and in life. I blog here not in hope of soliciting the bit of advice that will fix me, but out of a need to bear witness to my challenges and to speak my own truth. I've got a therapist, a psychiatrist, a support group with two doctors,and a case manager all working to give me the care I need. I'm well cared for by mental health professionals.

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So don't try to fix me.  I love you for wanting to, but it makes me sad when you try because I've got some wonderful, experienced professionals tending to my mental health and that's not what I need from my readers. Instead, if you're so inclined, be my companion on this dark road. Together, we can shine more brightly than we can seperately. Let's light the way foreward for all of us through the simple act of mutual concern.

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