Hannah Allsop

Instagram: @hans_head

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"One day at school when I was 14, we watched a video about euthanasia. Suddenly out of nowhere I started having an out-of-body experience. It was the day that changed my life as I knew it. I started suffering from nervous breakdowns which consisted of daily severe panic attacks, derealisation & suicidal thoughts. The weird thing is is that when I experience these derealized panic attacks I feel just like the woman from the video who was seeking euthanasia. I feel completely helpless in my existence & want to die. For me without the option of euthanasia I consider suicide. I describe derealisation as feeling trapped between life and death. Both staying in your terrifying reality and committing suicide are equally as terrifying so you’re STUCK. I’ve gradually gotten better over the years, drug free somehow. I don’t know how I did it but my mum was very anti-drugs so they weren’t even an option for me and I thank her for it now. Over time with plenty of therapy as well as a clean diet & listening to my body I am in a totally different place. I have a LONG way to go, but I FINALLY see the light at the end of the tunnel having experienced a spiritual awakening after some set-backs last year. I can feel myself lifting & shifting from someone learning to cope with mental health problems to someone who will be rid of them one day & actually LIVING life. I now have complete faith in my path & know that bad things happen to teach us things so actually it’s a blessing - as much as it’s hard to resonate with that most days. Spirituality is available to EVERYONE and I feel it is now my mission to wake people up through everything I’ve learnt. Sending love to all sufferers."

Sahar Aker

Instagram: @ichoose.beauty

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"One morning a few years ago, I woke up and found myself curled up at the bottom of a deep dark hole of depression where I could barely breathe, wondering what happened. Wondering how I got there. And not really caring if I ever saw light again. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but so many things had happened over the years that pushed me there. Little by little, until I hit the bottom. I finally found the strength to go to therapy, and get the help I desperately needed. It was a long tough climb for me out of that dark hole. I kept slipping back down. After months of raw excruciating work in therapy, I was feeling better, but still very vulnerable. My therapist suggested I look for something beautiful every day as part of my treatment. He told me how positive psychology researchers have found people who notice and appreciate beauty are more likely to find joy and meaning in everyday life. I didn’t actually believe it would make much difference, but decided to give it a try anyway. I started documenting the beauty I saw each day with pictures, and posted them to Instagram using the hashtag, #ichoosebeauty. After about a week, I felt a glimmer of hope I hadn't had in a long time! So I kept going. That was in November 2013, and I haven’t stopped since. In fact, February 2 marked my 1900th day in a row (more than five years)! Taking a picture every day has really helped me to shift my focus to an entirely new frame of mind, and just notice all the little things every day – whether it’s the clouds, a text from a friend, or just a hot cup of tea. I’m noticing beauty everywhere that I had overlooked before. As someone with depression in her genes, I still have occasional episodes, of course. There are still tough days when I can barely get out of bed. But #ichoosebeauty has become my life preserver, and my daily images keep me afloat."

Laura Maloney

Instagram: @lavenderlifeblog

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“I'm Laura, I'm a twenty-something year old blogger from Denver, Colorado. I've dealt with Anxiety and low self-esteem for many years. There were times in my life where I felt like I was anxious more often than I wasn't and I often doubted my self worth. Self-compassion and counseling were the two major things that later improved my mental health. I created http://LavenderLifeBlog.com to share honest dialogue and advice on the topics of mental health and personal development. My goal is to show someone out there who may be in a low place in their life that they are not alone.”


Instagram: @hafsahmalik14 and @shreya.drizzle

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"It happened when I was 4, 5, 6 till I was 9. He worked with us, sang to me in front of my family, abused me when they weren’t around. I would scream, protest, kick around but I was much smaller, my screams were muffled under his large hands, my body was pinned down. It happened repeatedly. I didn’t know what was happening to me, but I knew it was wrong. Soon my screams just became repressed silence. I was SO scared. He was found stealing in the house and thus fired. My parents never knew what he did to me... I never thought I'd be able to share details of the event or be able to look at my body in the mirror and not feel ashamed. That experience took from me something I'll never gain back, but my attempt to hide the scars trapped me in a heavy darkness. It happened to me. It's part of my story. My childhood was a very very happy one, but it also had pain. And the entire thing is part of my story. It’s time to face the monster and let the pain go."

Chelsea Kemp

Instagram: @cheerfulchelsea93

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“I hid my mental illness from my family and friends for 5 years. Delaying getting help for depression made the illness much worse than it was initially. It can be hard speaking up to a doctor or therapist, but I’ve never heard someone say that they got help too soon.”

Read more about Chelsea's journey on her blog: http://cheerful-chelsea.blogspot.com/?m=1