One of the coolest parts of my job is meeting some pretty incredible people. Whenever possible, I love to post articles written by people other than myself. This week I am very proud to post a blog written by Sarah Fader. Several months ago I wrote a piece for her blog, Stigma Fighters.

Sarah Fader is the creator of the popular parent-life blog Old School/New School Mom ( Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Additionally, like about six million other American adults, Sarah lives with panic disorder. She is currently leading the Stigma Fighters campaign which gives individuals with mental illness a platform to share their personal stories. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to show the world that there is a diverse array of real everyday people behind mental illness labels.

Presenting Stigma Fighter Extraordinaire Sarah Fader

Stigma Fighter Sarah FaderWhen I was 15 years old, I had no one to talk to about anxiety. I was sad, scared, depressed and alone. The only person my age I could talk to was my best friend because she was also anxious. We didn’t know what panic was at that time. When I had panic attacks, I called them “freaking out.” It seemed reasonable to me, I didn’t have control over my emotions, hence I was freaking out.

For much of my teenage and adult life I suffered in silence with my mental illnesses; anxiety and depression. I didn’t know how to cope or who to talk to. I had a therapist, but that wasn’t the same as speaking to a friend who understood what I was going through. At school, I learned to hide my pain. I faked being “okay” when I was suffering inside.

When I entered my 30s, I began to embrace being open about living with panic and depression. I’ve written about these topics for The Huffington Post and on my column on Psychology Today. I want other people to know that they are absolutely not alone. Many people are living with mental illness.

One of the great things that happened after writing candidly about mental illness is that I made friends online. People who are also dealing with a variety of mental health issues have become close friends, one of which is Gabe Howard. I consider Gabe to be one of my close buddies. We discuss anxiety openly and I appreciate his candor when it comes to living with bipolar disorder.

I also have a handful of other buddies who allow me to feel like I am not alone. One of which is my editor for my upcoming anthology of mental health essays, Stigma Fighters the book. Her name is Katy Young and she is a beautiful person living with bipolar disorder.

So if you are living with mental illness, I encourage you to seek out others who are living with similar issues. It helps to be part of a community. We are never alone even if we feel that way.

Editor’s Note: Show Sarah some love and post your comments below!

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