Tuesday night, the world witnessed the courage of a 20-year-old young woman, Anna Clendening, perform a deeply powerful rendition of “Hallelujah” during the “America’s Got Talent” auditions. Her performance mesmerized judges and audience alike, evoking an emotional response from all who watched. It was made even more poignant by the story she bravely shared with the audience and judges.
Anna revealed that she suffers from anxiety and depression. Four months ago, she reports being bed-ridden, unable to leave her house and no longer wanted to be alive. Her story inspired host Howie Mandel to share that he too, suffers from an anxiety disorder – OCD – and emphasized how big of an accomplishment it was for Anna to be at the auditions. Anna shared that she has gotten where she is from the support of her parents and her love for music.
Anna, You’re Not Alone
Almost 60 million people a year suffer from depression and anxiety, more than many other medical conditions. Yet, stigma still exists in this society. Depression and anxiety are illnesses that need more acceptance and understanding. Telling your story is a good start.
I know I speak for many when I say, “Anna, thank you for sharing your story.” The courage to come forth on national television and share your struggles and talents will undoubtedly inspire hope in others.
If you would like to tell your story, be sure to visit Healthshire’s “Telling Our Stories” section. In an effort to bring mental illness out of the shadows and reduce stigma, we are especially interested in hearing about you and your stories related to mental health. Spend some time reading the stories or submit your own!
More: Howie Mandel discusses living with OCD