People ask me how I changed my life around. Short answer: I had to. Something happened and not changing was no longer an option. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I reflect on the last few years! After suffering from anxiety and depression starting in high school, not knowing what was going on at the core, things began to spiral. It wasn’t until about two years ago when I was diagnosed with OCD and in a dire position in life that I felt the immediate need to figure this all out. There had been signs from when I was younger but at that time anxiety was rocking my world with my most valued part of life: relationships with people, and thus, my mental health was tearing my life apart. This May, I reflect on what has occurred over the last few years and can now honestly say I am so much healthier mentally. I dedicated time to understand where my struggles stem from, got the help I needed to find myself again, and had the mental and inner strength to dig through the dark. I developed extreme self awareness-no longer running away from things but facing them head on, asking “why?” and working on ways to change them. I tried running and it failed miserably in more ways than one, but once I was able to learn how my past affected me, why I reacted and acted the way I did, and how my external expectations were causing friction with my internal desires, I was able to shine! I still struggle and have my days, but don’t we all! It’s now knowing how to handle certain feelings, communicating my feelings and reminding myself where they are coming from, rather than running, hiding, and denying. I can say I am stronger than ever and hope to inspire others to reach their potential, sift through, and soar. Never give up, don’t run, and trust that bettering yourself will always result in what’s meant to be!