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About eight years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic depression, extreme anxiety and severe obsessive compulsive disorder. While the diagnosis came during my late 20s, the symptoms of these illnesses began much earlier, and included panic attacks, nightmares, years of insomnia and episodes of intense mental anguish.

Every day brings challenges — I'm on meds, in therapy. I run, do yoga and meditate, and try to watch what I eat and drink. I have to — but today's challenge is different.

Friends of mine will read these words and learn about my struggles for the very first time — and, admittedly, I'm worried about what they'll think.

But the interviews I've conducted over the past few months for this cover story with professionals in the mental health field and the loved ones of individuals who have completed suicide have convinced me that we've all been hiding these issues away from others for way too long.

Yes, discussing suicide and related factors — depression, bullying, substance abuse, unhealthy relationships, family history — is uncomfortable. But so many of us suffer that we all have to start talking more. Including me.

No one else needs to die.

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