Thursday, June 12, 2014

Anna Clendening

I don't usually watch America's Got Talent, but a few days ago I knew that Anna Clendening, one of my favorite people on Vine, was going to be on, so I searched the interest for her audition clip. I found it, and I am oh so glad that I did.

Please take the 8 minutes to watch this audition:



If you didn't watch, let me recap for you:

Anna has suffered from anxiety/depression for several years, resulting in her becoming bedridden and unable to leave her own home. Anna's story is important. It is unique. Not many people with that terrible of an anxiety disorder can go on to audition for a talent competition, much less one that is filmed in front of hundreds of people and shown to millions on TV. For her to do that, took every ounce of strength and bravery she had in that little body. You could literally see the relief in her face when she finished her song. She knew that she had just taken a huge step.

I got a little teary during Anna's audition, but I totally lost it when they asked her how she got the courage to come to the show, and she said "my parents". I want to hug her parents so tightly for that. For encouraging their daughter, for loving her through her darkest times and for pushing her out of that tunnel and helping her to the other side. They didn't ignore it, they didn't assume she was an emotional teenager, they listened, they cared, and they encouraged. My parents have done the same for me, and I credit them for most of the confidence and courage I have mustered over the years.

A lot of people are questioning Anna's story, which just makes me sad. Some are saying there's no way she suffered like that, because she is so "Vine famous", and how can she make Vines if she is so anxious? Perhaps, my friends, Vine was her outlet. Perhaps that is how she began to heal. And even if she is "Vine Famous", that does not mean she is not human. That does not mean she is not allowed to have suffering. I think sometimes people doubt that things like anxiety and depression really exist. I feel sorry for those people. They must have very closed minds and hearts. Anxiety and depression are all too real. They vary from person to person, and each who suffer from them deals differently- but they exist. Let me just put it very straight forward for you: when you are that full of fear, you begin to hate yourself, and the world you live in. Facing it becomes the most difficult task you could possibly imagine. It's not as simple as "getting over it". It takes months, years, of therapy, of self love, of finding your outlet, to be able to begin to heal. Anna is healing. We should be applauding her, not doubting her.

Anna, thank you, for helping people like me know that we are not alone, and that we can beat this.

Anna, I have never met you, and likely never will. But I feel more connected with you than I could ever express. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, for sharing your story. I can promise you that you touched many hearts with that audition, and that you will only continue to do so by spreading your music and your message. Keep showing that brave, girl, it looks really good on you.

Here is Anna covering a song that has meant a lot to me with my personal struggle of anxiety:


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