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Rising From Tragedy — B.

From gymnastics to tennis to figure skating and soccer, B. has been an athlete since she could stand on her own two feet. She settled on softball 13 years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

It wasn’t always an easy choice, however. Her passion for the game she loves has waxed and waned with the intensity of her mental health, much like the moon and the tides.

For now, she has found her footing and is more passionate about softball than much else. She currently plays collegiate softball in California. B. also loves helping people and traveling.

“I feel as if this world has so much to offer and I’d love to explore it all,” B. proclaims.

If someone told B. a little over a year ago that she’d be speaking about life like this right now, she wouldn’t believe them.

A little over a year ago, B.’s father was hospitalized and she was thousands of miles away. She felt helpless.

A little over a year ago, 17 lives were lost in the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Some of her friends’ lives were taken and B. felt hopeless.

A little over a year ago, B. tried to die by suicide.

Long before this attempt in December of 2017, B. remembers visiting a few psychologists as a young teenager.

“I tried to hide it for so long,” she says. “I denied having any issues due to embarrassment.”

While she was struggling as a younger athlete, B. was also struggling with some coaches who she says “ruined [her] love for softball.”

Unfortunately, for many athletes, this isn’t all that uncommon.

Things have changed, though, since B. decided to bravely ask for help after she graduated high school. This was when her depression was at an all-time high, she admits. She learned to reach out for help and how to use some self-care techniques.

But, just because someone is feeling well and making progress doesn’t mean that relapses won’t happen. They are always a possibility and oftentimes make seeking help harder because they seemed to be doing so well.

After the February 14, 2018 tragedy, B.’s father decided to get her a puppy as an emotional support animal. When she talks about how her puppy has helped her, she is elated. This doesn’t eliminate feelings of guilt, however.

She says her life changed “drastically” after the shooting. Guilt riddled her because “the thought of [her] friends not wanting to die and [her] wanting to felt really selfish.”

With the help of her new puppy, B. embraced the power of positive thinking and worked on her recovery. Her depression isn’t gone, she says, but she is on the road to better days.

These days, B. is still playing softball collegiately at a school in California. Her love for the game has returned. She credits her college coaches for helping her get back to a better place with softball. Both her coaches and her dad have been there for her through her roughest times.

Now, she is confident that she is putting herself first, and she urges others to do the same.

“You’re not alone. I promise you it gets better.”

What does “normal” mean to B.?

“I don’t believe there is a normal. Everyone has a story and everyone has dealt with different things.”

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