This week's story from a mental health warrior is about living with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and is being shared by Brynne O'Toole. You can find Brynne on Instagram and YouTube. Want to share your Mental Health Warrior story - submit your story here
Brynne is a 19 year old college student living in Boston, MA. She currently attends UMass Boston as a double major in Business Management and Psychology. She grew up in Central Mass and travel frequently to Naples, Florida to visit her dad. Brynne works as a fashion stylist at a small boutique in Boston, MA. She aspires to be a full time Youtuber and public speaker on mental health.
In Brynne's words from our interview below:
What Mental Health Challenges do you face? Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder
At what age were you diagnosed? Age 15
How do your mental health challenges affect your daily life?
Everyday can be a battle. Getting out of bed, brushing my teeth, taking care of myself. However, I have learned through many courses and self-help books, videos, and documentaries, on the best ways to combat this. However, I still struggle everyday with a lot of social anxiety (mostly meeting new people my age), and having significant feelings of imposter syndrome for the majority of my day.
School is hard, especially since the pandemic. I loved being in person in my classes and engaging with my professors. However, I feel very comfortable at my job and it is one of the things that make me extremely happy. I love fashion and, I believe, have a good eye for it :). Doing YouTube and Instagram that is mental health based brings me a lot of joy as well. To see that my posts or videos have impacted at least one person makes me feel so fulfilled and makes what I do every day so much easier!
What positive aspects do your mental health challenges bring to your life?
I now have the experiences to share about my growth and my battles. I also now have learned so much about self-care and self-love - this way I can help others who are similar in age to myself!
How do you see your particular mental health challenges being stigmatized?
People can tend to stigmatize depression in a way that is attention seeking. It is also generalized among others by people of cutting and frequent thoughts of suicide. Don't get me wrong, those kinds of thoughts are common, however they are not among everyone who has depression 24/7. We have good days and bad days.
What do you do for self-care?
Hang out with my mom and my pets (two cats and a dog), see and hang out with friends, do my makeup, cook/meal prep, journal, reading self-development books (currently on Think Like A Monk), meditation (I do this every day), listening to music, exercising at the gym, drinking lots of water!
What would you say to someone who was just diagnosed with the same mental health diagnosis as you?
This does not define you. This is one aspect of who you are among thousands of other things that make you, you. It feels like the whole world is caving in on you, but that is simply your mind telling you that. There is no one else like you in the UNIVERSE. That is powerful. You may not feel your potential yet, but that is simply what is going on in your brain. You will find it and you will get there.
Befriend your mind. It is going to try and knock you down again, and again. But, once you discover the power of your brain, your life will feel limitless. You will rise above this. There is hope. But there is also pain and suffering. This isn't the end, this is just the beginning. I love you and the Universe loves you back.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I am so grateful to have come across this organization. I absolutely love your stuff and am looking forward to working with you in the future. Thank you Lindsey for creating such a relatable clothing brand that brings great messages along as well as positive quotes and affirmations.
Thank you Brynne so much for sharing your Mental Health Story and helping to create more awareness about living with Major Depressive Disorder & Generalized Anxiety Disorder I appreciate you and your willingness to share!
Want to share your Mental Health Warrior story to help create more awareness around living with mental health challenges? - submit your story here