As suggested in the guidelines, I thought I’d introduce myself. I’m a person with chronic depression, anxiety disorder and PTSD. Finding it difficult to explain what goes on in my head during ‘episodes’ I explained it as a mind, in other times capable and curious, filled with white noise and razor blades. I think William Styron said it best though, ““Depression” is indeed way to wimpy a term for this soul-crushing disease: how about something like “malignant mood deformation”?” So I’ve adopted the word madness for the life threatening condition I must learn to manage. I’m currently on medications and in therapy. I am getting better but still have a long way to go. Though my amazing&supportive family knows all too well how my condition has worsened and improved over the years, most people in my life have no idea that I have mental health issues. I have a good job and generally well liked. When I am myself, not the mad version of me, I am creative, kind, out going, determined, and adventurous. When I am less myself, I become terrified, paralyzed, uninterested in my art, sex, food, anything. I also withdraw, to the point of agoraphobia. I am working to be educated, confident and stable enough to come out of (what I call) the “padded closet.” I am guilty of thinking that even I should “get over it” or “pull myself up by my own boot straps.” It was not until I was at my lowest that I realized I was ill; that if anyone could’ve gotten off that couch by force of their own will alone, it would’ve been me and that if I didn’t get help whatever was wrong with me would end me. Luckily my family is an amazing group of people who love me and were there for me when I finally had the courage to reach out. While in the hospital, I was so comforted to hear that other people felt much like I did. It was funny that we all said in one way or another “I’m sorry you are sick but I’m so glad it isn’t just me.” I’m doing better but it’s still such a struggle. While I do not expect to have my problems solved, or solve anyone else’s, I hope to find and give when I can insight and support here.