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Feeling for Those Who Cannot Feel

Sometimes people with mental illnesses fail to recognize they are ill or that help is needed. But in moments like that, there are people who feel for us what we cannot feel for ourselves and those are the people who will help us save ourselves.
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As a sophomore in college I was a rock. I was the stable foundation that my friends fell down on when they were having a crisis, as I simply failed to suffer from any setbacks. I figured I had suffered enough in high school and all valuable life lessons had stopped after I "Eat Pray Loved" my way out of depression from a high school break up. I was so optimistic, so stable in fact that I used to wish for tragedy, something to shake my stability.

As life works, everything we wish for comes around and I got my chance to fall apart and I unknowingly seized it with all my might. I developed OCD the day after I returned home from college in May. The first OCD thought popped into my head and seized me into an endless and vicious cycle for months on end. It was not until July that I figured out what my unwanted thoughts were, that there was a real condition to explain the anxiety that had developed seemingly overnight.

However, I failed to recognize a second condition that had come into my life. Depression slowly infiltrated my life, stealing my appetite, along with my ability to sleep past 6 AM, and stealing my passions. By the end of the summer my only wish was for my bed to become a black hole and for me to vanish into it. Despite all of this, I felt I was strong enough to go to India for a study abroad program. I had committed to a plan therefore I believed I should carry it out, not because I wanted to (I wanted nothing but that black hole), but because people expected it of me.

The realization that I was actually in need to help was when my friend posed a question to me after I explained my inability to decide what to do for the next four months. She asked me "What would you do if you had a broken leg?" The answer is a simple one -- get help.

Sometimes people with mental illnesses fail to recognize they are ill or that help is needed. But in moments like that, there are people who feel for us what we cannot feel for ourselves and those are the people who will help us save ourselves.

In any moment you can choose to be one of those people.

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If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.