Mental illness is not who i am. It’s a sickness that cloaks my vibrant being in darkness; like being dropped in mid-air onto a bleak landscape engulfed by the suffocating atmosphere of desperation and despair—eliciting a kind of pain that is beyond words. There is no rhyme or reason to it, no making sense of the distorted universe it forces me to face, each and every day. So i put on my war paint and i fight. I fight for my dreams. I fight for my life. I fight for everybody out there silently facing the same demons and courageously boxing the same shadows. And that makes me more than my illness and the stigma attached to it. It makes me more than the labels society slaps across my face. It makes me brave.