Dakota. Jacksonville, FL

Hello! My name is Dakota and I’m 24 years old. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I moved to Florida in 7th grade, about 12 years ago. I also suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (which is a psychological disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with imaginary defects in their appearance). I was always labeled as “different or weird”. I got made fun of all the time for being depressed, people would tell me “oh you have nothing to be depressed about; you have a great life.” As time went on, in high school I still got made fun of for being anxious about tests, big band competitions, band auditions, etc. I figured by college’ people misunderstanding me would go away, but honestly it just go worse. As I was in college, I was self-loathing because I couldn’t make all A’s, I would study for hours for test and be upset if I made less than a 95, to my friends and family they thought i was ridiculous, they couldn’t understand why I had test anxiety. I have tried explaining to them how traumatic of an experience it was to have to sit down and take a test.

Second, living with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD, is no fun. I find things about myself that I hate that people don’t even know exsits and it contributes to my depression. I used to hate everything about myself, my scars, my stretch marks, my hair length and color, eye color,…down to my finger nails not growing strong enough. I know it sounds crazy but that was how I used to see myself.

I am slowly trying to find ways to love myself and overcoming depression and anxiety. I’ve been going to the gym to help with my BDD, and I have been trying to not dwell on things for my depression. As for anxiety…I still have a long way to go, but I am trying to come out of my comfort zone and meet new people and put myself out there. It has gotten easier but I still have a way to go.