Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of uncertainty. My parents had a brutal divorce around age 5 and no one wanted to talk about or acknowledge the things I saw: raised voices turned into thrown objects, violence and threats. I was learning to juggle very adult feelings with adolescence. At 12, my family saw another dramatic and violent incident that resulted in a lengthy court incident. At no point did I seek extended therapy treatment beyond one or 2 sessions, I tried to push it down and be an average, happy child. Looking back, there was a pressure from my family to be focused on "strength." While I believe in perseverance, the focus on only strength gives the illusion or impression that weakness and vulnerability are pejoratives causing me to see tears and sadness as failings instead of healing.


As an adult, I've had to reconcile guilt and anxiety around expressing my feelings. To advocate for myself and feeling safe enough to say that "I'm not okay." I still constantly struggle with the anxiety of feeling less than or not enough with acknowledging that anxious moments are okay and that takes a lot of power out of anxiety and depression. Acknowledging that I am an anxious person who struggles with depression helps move me past those moments that used to swallow me whole. Instead of believing this narrative that my depression lays out: "I'm not okay," "I'm not enough," "I should be able to do it"; I acknowledge that I might not be okay at that moment but I am getting better, healing and I have to be nicer to myself.



Transparency is a shared journal that is curated by Tiana Petrullo in collaboration with a beautiful community of contributors who have offered to share their personal experiences with mental health. To encourage a contribution of the most raw and real experience, minimal guidance was given. All stories have been willingly shared and are written to reflect what is personally most prevalent to the writer. Together, we offer an expansion of knowledge, awareness, and acknowledgement.