This is the first story of many in a blog series called, “Your Story: a conversation on mental and emotional health and disabilities.” Please read with a heart open and understanding -free of judgement.
Please be aware that the interviewee mentioned struggling with suicidal thoughts and self harm. If these topics affect you in any way please stop reading, talk with a someone you trust, or contact a mental health professional immediately. You may also call the Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255).
A Note on Editing
Minor changes were made to the interview to bring clarity to the reader.
By way of Introduction
I am so grateful for the bravery of this individual in sharing her story. She wishes to remain anonymous at this time, yet the words she shared are so powerful. One thing that stands out about this interview is how short and simple her responses are. There is power laced with courage in making one’s story short and succinct. Simply by saying, “I struggle with depression and anxiety.” is enough to open the door for conversation.
When did you realize there was something mentally or emotionally wrong? And what did you do about it?
When I was 14.
I would use music or horses to cope: piano, violin, sing along horribly to the radio as well as working with horses.
Are there/were there moments in your life where this mental/emotional struggle becomes more present and you’re more aware of its existence?
Yes, after I had my son.
How has this experience affected your relationships with others?
I struggle with trusting others and developing relationships. I self sabotage.
What methods have you found are beneficial for your treatment and healing?
Time. Everything comes in waves and around certain times of the year, but I usually find distractions to physically and mentally wear me out.
What keeps you from receiving or accepting treatment and healing?
I have tried therapy, church, as well as medications, yet I find the most comfort in my family and friends.
What symptoms or behaviors of your mental/emotional health experience are the most difficult for you to handle? For example: self harm, disordered eating and/or sleeping, suicidal thoughts, loss of motivation.
I have had suicidal thoughts as well as self harm, but the most difficult to handle is lack of sleep. It’s been hard to fall asleep as well as stay asleep.
Have you shared your struggles with family and friends? If yes, what have their reactions been? Are they supportive, or do they wish to keep your struggles hidden?
I have reached out to my sister, and she understands it the most. She has similar struggles, and we are able to talk about our challenges with each other.
What inspires you to stay hopeful through this experience? Or how do you find hope during this experience?
My son keeps me going every day. He’s my number one priority. My goal is to keep a smile on his face.
If you could travel back in time and visit yourself just before or just after recognizing there was something amiss, what would you tell yourself?
I would tell myself to listen to my gut and to never forget who you are.
If you met someone else going through a similar experience as yourself, what advice and words of courage would you give them?
Don’t forget who you are. Find what you love to do and get lost in it. Write your thoughts down, and read about the good days.
Is there any final part of your story or thoughts of encouragement you wish to share with the readers?
Thank you so much for sharing!
Continuing the Story
The final question I asked as part of this interview was whether she was willing to connect with others about her story. She agreed and said that she would be willing to talk with those interested over email. To continue to protect her privacy though, I will not disclose her email in this post. If you are interested in connecting with her, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will forward your message to her directly.
Feel free to continue the conversation on mental and emotional health in the comments below. But please understand that your comments are being moderated and will be deleted if they are hurtful, hateful, or inappropriate in any way. This is a safe space to share your story about mental and emotional health and disabilities and find support. Please do what you can to keep it as such.
A Note for Readers
If you feel inspired to share your story, please click here to be taken to the introductory post where you will learn where the inspiration for this blog series came from as well as how to participate.