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May marks Mental Health Awareness Month and every year, I’m quickly surprised how we’re here yet again. My story of origin hasn’t changed, but it continues to grow and evolve. Everyone needs to tell their mental health story. This is mine. 

I think what a lot of people are unaware of is not that mental health exists, but how to deal with it properly. Growing up in the late 90s, anxiety was common but heavily dismissed. According to a 2023 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy, people born in the 1990s have the worst mental health of any generation before them.

At first, my anxiety seemed “normal”. I was anxious about going to school, forgetting my locker combination, and taking tests. When it started interfering with my sleep and overall stability, however, I should’ve suspected something was wrong. 

Pretty much everyone in my family is on medication for anxiety and depression. They’ve been that way since before I was born, and there’s no shame in seeking medical help for mental health problems. While my anxiety could be genetic, much of it is also attributed to my upbringing.