Stephen King: 'Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us.'

Anyone who has ever suffered from a mental illness can especially relate to what author Stephen King says — "Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win."

Sometimes mental disorders do feel like a monster living inside of our heads, trying to overtake us.  And, when someone loses their life to suicide, that's when the monster wins.

For the longest time, I couldn't watch scary movies or read horror novels because they felt too real and would make my anxiety spin out of control.

While some kids thought a monster was living under their beds, for me, it felt like a monster was following me around everywhere I went. This monster manifested in night terrors, an irrational fear of death, the walls closing in on me, and a racing heart.

I couldn't comprehend what was happening. So, in my 6-year-old mind, I thought that it was a monster, a demon or a ghost that was with me, causing me to feel that way.

Cut to today, where my favorite TV shows are "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story" and I'm halfway through reading "It" by Stephen King. Now that I have my anxiety under control and now that I understand what it is, horror stories don't scare me anymore.

Treatment became my wooden stake and my silver bullets. It gave me the tools I needed to overcome my monster. Now I know that I am stronger than the monster in my head. It didn't kill me, and I believe that I am a better person today for having battled it.

If you are struggling with mental illness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness' website for more information on finding a mental health professional. For those living in Michigan, call the nonprofit Common Ground at 800-231-1127 for a referral.

You are not alone. You don't have to lay down and let the monster win. There are so many options available and so many people who are willing to help if you just ask.

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