The other day, an NYU film student contacted me via email. She’d seen my Huffington Post article Fighting Against the Stigma of Mental Illness  where I revealed the fact that I have been living with panic disorder and depression for my entire life. There was a time, however, where I wasn’t vocal about my life with anxiety. I was afraid of what other people would think of me. So I kept it a secret.

I finally broke my silence and told my story online and to an International audience to boot. Hello Huffington Post! It was liberating to reveal that I am human. I don’t have to hide the fact that I live with and manage anxiety and depression every day.

When this lovely woman contacted me and revealed to me that she too manages anxiety, I felt like we were kindred spirits. She asked if she could interview me for this documentary, which I believe is a senior thesis project. One of the main reasons I shared my story about living with mental illness was to help others feel less alone. When you have a psychiatric condition, it can feel isolating. I felt like I was the only person dealing with intrusive thoughts. It seemed like the people around me were functioning just fine. I want other people to know that they are absolutely 100 percent not alone.

Here’s to being mentally ill and owning it. Let’s speak our truths unapologetically.  There is no “normal.” As far as I’m concerned, “normal” is a dirty word. As a dear friend said to me: “be who you are.”

Be who you are.

I look forward to sharing my story with you again and again. Hopefully, it will help some of you. Peace.