Mental health conditions were present in my life before I understood what mental health meant. For example, from a young age, I struggled with the anxiety that caused the state of vasovagal syncope. “Vasovagal syncope happens when the part of your nervous system that controls your heart rate and blood pressure overreacts to an emotional trigger” (2018, Mayo Clinic). In other words, I started fainting whenever my anxiety spiked. This reaction, typically triggered by heavy fear, the sight of blood, injury, or illness, created a vicious cycle of anxiety and fainting.

As time progressed and therapy sessions continued, I found a passion for solving this problem by understanding my triggers, my grounding techniques, and the psychology behind it all. I found strength in my ability to stay grounded and mindful, despite the thoughts invading my mind. Though my anxiety management kept consistent and lessened this condition from occurring, I faced a new kind of mental health condition. Depression. 

I'll save the details for another day, but mental health became a foreign concept when I began battling this unfamiliar condition called depression. Eighteen years old, a freshman in college, and with a new level of independence. Some might think this is the ideal setup, but most fail to acknowledge that this is one of life's most challenging developmental phases. First time on my own, away from home, not under my parent's roof, I am figuring life out one mistake or lesson at a time.
For a while, I saw this condition as a weakness. I felt hopeless, alone, and weak. These feelings, coupled with others, made me feel like there was nothing I could do to get stronger. But, once I hit rock bottom, I had my epiphany. The battle I fought throughout my first year was not my weakest point. It was my strongest. When each day felt like an eternity of pain, it was my strength that kept me going. When I felt alone, my strength kept me company. When I started losing hope, my strength reminded me of the light at the end of the tunnel. The most vital point of my journey presented itself when I felt my weakest. The turning point of this condition came when I realized that my strength was more significant than ever.
My strength gave me the power to do the 180 I desperately needed.
Looking back at this time, I feel stronger, better, and wiser than ever imagined. 18-year-old me would be so proud and grateful for the present. Even though my mental health condition forced me to fight a battle I often felt like running from, I am happy I had the opportunity to face it. I remember questioning everything I was experiencing and complaining about my state. I remember wishing it was a bad dream I would wake up from every time I fell asleep. I will never forget the pain, struggles, and emotions I felt during this time. I will forever be grateful for this experience, my strength, my development, and my support throughout my mental health journey. Because without these low times, the high times would go unappreciated. 
Mental illness is not a sign of weakness. Mental health is strength. My mental health journey ignited my passion for the field of mental health and promoted my desire to help others. For years, I brainstormed the best way to utilize my knowledge, research, and lived experience to deliver resources in the mental health space. I am so excited to have the opportunity to do this through Simply So + Co., and I look forward to all of your success stories that come from this work. 
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