If you would like to participate in our Life Unlimited feature by sharing your story, please submit your contact information. Having grown up a country boy in Oklahoma, I was transplanted to the city―a typical kid enjoying my youth, hanging out with my friends, and playing sports.Of course, I knew everything and was untouchable, though actually I was probably a pain in the rear for my parents!

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I gave a speech right before I graduated on “Fight or Flight Mechanisms.” The whole speech was about my passion for running cross country and track, of running away from problems at home or in school, of spending my healing time playing video games instead of coming to terms with emotional loss.

In short, the speech was about how I choose “flight” as my instinct mechanism.

I saw the value of peer-reviewed journals, books, and online social media.

I began to learn about “early warning symptoms” like insomnia or rapid speech, and developed support and self awareness to help me detect these signs before they occurred.

I started treatment that day―actually, I started my RECOVERY that day.

I started medications and classes, and began to spend time in the world outside.“I'm a runner, I run from everything, instead of facing my fears,” I said.Looking back, I realize that I am a fighter: I fought for 10 years to complete my bachelor's degree; I fought through dropping out of schools and multiple visits to the mental health unit; I fought to reconcile my past and accept who I am as an individual; and, lastly, I fought to obtain the healing necessary to reconcile the stigma that accompanied my diagnosis. It wasn't until after I was diagnosed that a sudden, severe depression accompanied my high anxiety. I had neglected myself for so long that I was almost beyond repair. I started to write down my thoughts and, when there were only fragments, I wrote songs or poems.I am passionate about giving back to my fellow Veterans and my community. Is there a tipping point in a person’s life where the drive to be better, to never quit, and to throw off doubt enables that person to move forward with more momentum?To not look back in fear, to refuse discontent, to reject complacency, and to cast aside regret?I had an older brother and my parents are still together, so life was good, except for the part where I got my General Education Diploma.