This story is part of 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 mentions her struggle with suicidal thoughts, OCD, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. 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 help make the interview easier to read.
A Word of Introduction
My next story is about a woman who has asked that she be referred to as Marie. As I traced her story down through my interview questions, it became apparent that her religious beliefs play a major role in the treatment and healing of her mental and emotional health concerns.
I think it is helpful to anyone to know that faith, hope, and love can override feelings of fear, doubt, and depression. These negative feelings may not go away immediately, and they may linger in the shadows for the rest of our lives, but it is important to know that they are powerful additions to any form of treatment.
When did you realize there was something mentally or emotionally wrong? And what did you do about it?
Trigger Warning: This answer contains details about the suicidal thoughts Marie was experiencing.
I realized that something was wrong when I realized I was facing so much fear. I would imagine myself dead at the bottom of the stairwell as I went down the stairs, so I would have to remind my feet to go left, right, left, right, etc. Or I didn’t care if I got hit by a car when I was crossing the street. My OCD played more of a role if I was out of my schedule. I would have anxiety attacks. Like, if I had to go to the bathroom during class or even if I was hungry and my stomach growled.
I saw a counselor who then referred me to a doctor to get medication.
Are there/were there moments in your life where this mental/emotional struggle becomes more present and you’re more aware of its existence?
Well, my OCD affects my anxiety. And my anxiety affects my depression. And if a change of plans affected my day, then, school affected a lot of it.
How has this experience affected your relationships with others?
Lack of motivation. I get super emotional, and it’s hard to articulate words.
What methods have you found are beneficial for your treatment and healing?
Making lists, thinking things through with a loved one, breathing, exercise
What keeps you from receiving or accepting treatment and healing?
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 sleeping, suicidal thoughts, loss of motivation.
OCD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression
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?
Yes, they are super supportive. However, some family members don’t understand it fully.
What inspires you to stay hopeful through this experience? Or how do you find hope during this experience?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, family, prayer
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?
What you’re experiencing is not normal.
If you met someone else going through a similar experience as yourself, what advice and words of courage would you give them?
God knows you. And it’s okay to ask for help
Is there any final part of your story or thoughts of encouragement you wish to share with the readers?
Be kind to yourself. It will get better.
Thank you so much for sharing your story!
Continuing the Conversation
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. 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.