The only thing worse then suffering from mental illness or the loss of someone to suicide and addiction, is suffering alone. My entire life, from my earliest memory, I kept my fear and pain inside. I didn’t want to be a burden or thought of as an annoyance; so, I kept quiet. I started drinking instead which led to my addiction to alcohol. Eventually I found it was something I couldn’t manage without hurting everyone I love, and that forced me to ask for help. Recognizing that I was struggling and couldn’t keep going on like this by myself anymore is what saved me. It led to me learning how to ask for that help and being open to it. I ended up going to Rehab. While I was there, I went to Groups and everyone would share about their own mental health, connected loss, suicide and addiction. I could relate to their stories even if it was a different circumstance or stage in life. This broke down the fear I had of trusting and being vulnerable and willing to accept help. I have lived with severe PTSD, generalized anxiety, and depression. I’m a suicide attempt survivor and if I never sought help for my addiction, my mental health would still be untreated. It was the sharing that happened in those Groups where I found that I could relate to everyone and that helped take the fear out of knowing myself. I wasn’t alone. I was learning that to be honest, I needed more help beyond just alcohol. I have a beautiful family and I’m living with mental illness because with treatment, I can now live with a purpose. I still have bad days and I speak openly about them because it’s one of the many ways to break the stigma. It’s powerful to fearlessly be honest about needing help and not being ok.