I am a survivor. A survivor of tragedy. From my father's suicide at 13 years old to multiple assaults, physical, mental, and emotional abuse...the fear of dying has resonated throughout my life. Personally, I suffer from bipolar 2 disorder and anxiety. I have times where I'm sluggish, a little down, and others where I'm euphoric, energetic, and happy. I've also been on both spectrums. I've contemplated my own suicide too many times to count. My anxiety didn't show up until my early 30's after my spouse passed away. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder and PTSD in my late 30's. Within the last few years, I've felt the stigma against mental illness more strongly than ever. I don't want to go into much detail, but it's been extremely painful. I've been shamed, embarrassed, and discriminated against. It is clear that many people don't understand these illnesses. We are people, normal people. We need medicine just like people with high cholesterol or diabetes. Some of us were born with a chemical imbalance. Others had such extreme stress or trauma in their lives that their mind and body reacted. Or both. We can't help what we feel. We can't help what's happened to us or what we've lived through. There is so much that is misunderstood about mental illness. Please help to fight the stigma and bring awareness, education, and help to tearing down the veil.