This is one of my favourite songs, and has been for the past couple of years. In fact, I’m performing a cover of it tonight at an event for queer performers with disabilities.

There’s always one line that sticks out for me:

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? Well, I’m here with you.

With my mental illness, I often feel alone. Sure, there are a lot of people my age with depression or anxiety, but a lot of them seem to be on anti-depressants and more or less fine on the first drug they try. Or they’ll have depression, but it’s hard to find someone my age with something like bipolar disorder. In a lot of ways, I feel a lot older than my peers; mental-health wise, I’ve been through more than a lot of the people I know, just in terms of medication switches, misdiagnosis, and feeling absolutely god-awful.

I don’t see myself in a lot of portrayals of mental illness. In every antidepressant commercial I’ve seen so far, the people in it seem to be at least 10 years older than me. On all the websites for psych medication – again – it all shows people in their 30s and beyond. A lot of the stories I hear about mental illness involve people who, again, are not diagnosed until they are much older than me. Which begs the question – where are the young adults with mental illnesses? The typical age of onset of many mental illnesses is late adolescence or early adulthood.

Oddly enough, sometimes, I relate to children with mental illness more than adults with mental illness. Depression came on early for me – around the age of 13 or so – but the hypomania didn’t show up until around 15 or 16. I’ve always been anxious as all hell; at my recent assessment, my mom pointed out that I was even anxious as a toddler. I’ve been reading More Than Words lately, and I really feel for Brenna and Ailish. Like Ailish, I’m prone to depression and anxiety, and am sensitive and intense. Like Brenna, I have had total screaming/crying breakdowns before. (The family was on 20/20 recently, and there’s a video clip of Brenna in the middle of a psychotic breakdown. I would never post it because, while I’ve never been psychotic, I’d hate it if someone captured one of my breakdowns for the whole world to see.) Reading this blog has made me feel not so alone; I feel like someone knows what I’m going through, even if it’s two 12 and 14 year old girls from California.

If you’re reading this, I’d really encourage you to comment. Not because I need validation (although this is also true – ha!) but I think, if you’re out there, we could really support each other on this journey. I know you’re out there.

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? Well, I’m here with you.