We received this incredibly heartfelt story from the lovely Kristen Leeb. Being so moved by her words, we asked if we could share it with all of you…
“A few years ago, I was diagnosed with an illness that is almost as deliberating as cancer. It can tear you apart, and turn you into your worst enemy. It can wreck any relationship or friendship that you have. It can make you into someone you never wished to be. This is depression.
When I first found out that I had depression, I tried to fight it. But, eventually the overwhelming emotions start to control you. They make you say things you wish you hadn’t, and do things you regret. I’m not going to go into great detail of what I have turned to over the past two years, but let’s just say that it’s something not good. I will admit that I became addicted to something, that would temporarily release any pain or stress I had. Through many failed attempts to over come this, I have realized that the only thing that helps me is to help others.
My dream is to finish my schooling and achieve a masters in psychology. I hope to use my experiences, the good and the bad, to be there and support others just like me. I know what it’s like to be alone, but I also know what it feels like to be feel good and happy again. I want to be able to make that happen for someone.
Say, you had one year to live. Would you be doing what you are doing right now? Would you be stuck in your hometown working a 9 to 6 shift at a drug store? No. Well, that’s where I am at right now. I have even contemplated quitting my job of three years, and travelling. Anything, to be able to find my purpose in life. I want my life to mean something, and I want to make a difference. I truly believe that I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t called to help others.
When I first heard about To Write Love on Her Arms, I couldn’t believe the story. It was similar to mine in a way. This was also the first organization I had heard that meant so much to me. It was dedicated to raising hope and awareness from exactly the things that I was dealing with. I bought my first shirt, and wore it with pride. I am not my scars, or my past. I am not ashamed of my scars, and I do not regret them. I wouldn’t be who I am today without going through what I have. And for that, I thank my diagnosis. 121 million people suffer from depression worldwide. I am not ashamed to say that I am a part of this statistic and I am a fighter. Some may think that I regret my addiction and what I do. I don’t, because it has made mea stronger person today. It made me a fighter.
I started a fundraiser through Crowd Rise where I am hoping to raise money for TWLOHA. You do not have to have gone through anything like this to support people dealing with self harm, depression, or suicidal thoughts. Sometimes all people want to know is that they’re not alone. Don’t judge someone based on the marks they have on their arms. You don’t know what they’ve beenthrough. Rather, be proud of them for making through it.”
You can donate to her fundraiser for TWLOHA here: http://www.crowdrise.com/mentalhealthawarenes/
*To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.*