On the surface, Juice Wrld and I would not appear to have all that much in common, but therein lies the beauty of great music.

I have dealt with Major Depression and Anxiety for years and have really struggled to put words to how I was feeling. So much of how I would feel just did not make sense. On paper, my life has been great so I can’t possibly be depressed, right? When things would get bad and the emptiness/ numbness would take over, how could anyone else understand how those feelings are worse than any pain? Emptiness feels permanent. I think that the scariest part of the illness is that it tricks your brain into knowing, with complete certainty, that you will never feel better. I could not believe how I could be so sure about something and end up being 100% wrong.

When I finally got the strength to admit that I needed help and started therapy, my first therapist was not a good fit for me at all. Fortunately, I have worked in the behavioral health field and knew that was not how therapy was supposed to feel and I tried again. It took me three therapists to find someone who helped. That lasted a couple of years until I changed jobs. Then it took me two more therapists to find the person who has been the catalyst to my recovery. If I would have just accepted that my first therapist represented what therapy was supposed to be, I would have never found the right fit.

My journey toward recovery was definitely not always a smooth one. Multiple therapists, multiple medications, and a hospitalization were all part of it. One of the more significant barriers was forcing myself to do little things that I knew were positive. I often felt like I needed to feel better right away and small things like going outside, reaching out to a friend, or going for a run were too meaningless to make a difference. It took a lot of patience to realize that there is no magic cure but all of the small things add up, even when it may not feel like it at the time.

Juice Wrld’s music has helped me so much along the way as well. It has been a connection that helped me better express what goes on in my head, serves as a reminder that my struggles are not unique to me, and that I’m not alone in how I feel. The line in Rich and Blind, “This is dedicated to you if you felt the lowest of the low, I know how it feels, you don’t wanna struggle anymore”, has helped me in some of the darkest times by not just identifying with the feeling but reminding me that if I can really root for him and everyone else to feel better that I should be able to root for myself as well.

One of the most important things I have learned is that having the vulnerability to share that you are going through something is in no way weakness and can truly help others by normalizing those feelings. Regardless of how many people you can reach or how large your audience may be, you never know how sharing your story could inspire others or be the message someone needs to save their life.

The most recent year has brought a lot more ups than downs which I never thought would happen.

“Made it this far, if I can then you can too” – Screw Juice