Meet Leah.

Mental Illness
Ohio

“I want to be in the dark, alone, and I want to be unconscious.”

Leah traces her depression and anxiety directly to her childhood. She moved to Ohio at eight years old when her father passed away from cancer. Her mother had a difficult time coping with the loss and Leah was always afraid something bad was going to happen.

It did.

Her mom fatally overdosed on prescription drugs, leading Leah’s aunt and uncle to adopt her. Her childhood trauma has had lasting effects.

Leah says she has always been anxious. But in her sophomore year of high school, Leah’s depression hit what her aunt, Jami, calls a crisis point. She came close to hospitalizing Leah for suicidal ideation.

Leah’s mental illness impacts her entire family.

“The hardest part was just feeling so helpless, like nothing we could do would really help. I’m sure depression is like this for anybody.” Jami explains that it pulls the entire family in “like a black hole.”

Mental illness also carries a stigma.

“It’s something that real that people don’t understand. It’s like a monster—something in the back of your head,” Leah says.

With treatment from Nationwide Children’s, Leah has learned to manage her anxiety and depression. She will need to manage this for the rest of her life.

But her future is bright, and she knows she is strong.

Leah's Story
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