Wednesday, October 10, 2012

World Mental Health Day

Did you know that today is World Mental Health Day?  I didn't, at least not until I read a tweet about it from Psych Central.  They are actually hosting a blog party in celebration of the event!  Those participating are encouraged to share their story, experiences, or anything related to mental health.

I thought I'd start with a few facts from the World Health Organization.
  • Depression affects more than 350,000,000 people, nearly 10% of the adult population?
  • Depression doesn't discriminate by age, community, race, religion - anything.
  • Only one-fifth of those with mental illness will receive treatment and care needed for the condition.
  • 75% of visits to the doctor are due to stress-related ailments.
  • More than three out of four employees who get the care and treatment needed for their condition see drastic improvement in work performance.
(more facts here)

My story is no different than thousands of others... and you can read about it throughout the pages of my blog, as it's an ongoing life experience for me.

I was 14 the first time I journaled about suicide.  I was 16 when a clearly laid out plan was thwarted, thankfully.  I've been in and out of therapy ever since, thanks to a teacher, who finally got my parents to see how much help I needed.  They weren't capable of understanding me, no matter how much they tried.  I don't blame them any more, but it doesn't make the longing for what could have been hurt any less.

I was 13 when my anorexic tendencies took over, though at that point, no one noticed.  Graduating from high school sucked, it was a very traumatic summer.  College was rocky as well, though I found my true calling as an educator, and while anxiety nearly cost me my college education, I managed to graduate and get an awesome job teaching in a school where I've now spent the last 10 years.

Fast forward through several other therapists (seen anywhere from 4 months to 18 months) and many, many visits to a variety of doctors for a variety of ailments (some were legitimate medical issues, others completely anxiety related.)  With all those doctors appointments, it's kind of odd that no one picked up on my eating disorder until just last year.  I kept it well under wraps, and it kept my emotions well under control, or so I thought.

Being blessed with multiple mental health issues, including major depression and anxiety, definitely has it's challenges.  It is a constant struggle to take care of myself, and to do what needs to be done to lead a fairly productive life.  Some days are obviously better than others, as I do have a great job that I love and often times, it's the only reason I do get out of bed.

But some days the depression takes over, and I want to roll over and stay buried under the covers until the weekend is over, and I get to go back to work on Monday.  Strange, I know.  I've learned over the years that I thrive on structure, and structure is very strong at work, but nearly non-existent at home.

Thanks to an incredible treatment team, including my doctor, therapist, and dietitian, I am doing better than ever.  While I am not "cured" nor will I likely ever be completely rid of my depression and it's pals, I am more able to sustain good days, and not let the bad days suck me down as deep as they used to.

Don't get me wrong, I can still (and do) fall off the face of the earth for days at a time, especially when I have time off work.  I can't even say that those days are few and far between, because right now, they're pretty regular weekend guests.  But I can finally say that I know what it's like to trust people, as I have complete trust in my treatment team and I am forever grateful for their support.  It is worth every penny, every minute, every tear of my being to work with them. 

Cause without them.... without my doctor (who is amazing,) who sent me to my therapist (whom I adore,) who sent me to my dietitian (whom I also adore,) I'd become another negative statistic.  And that is something I'd rather avoid.


  1. Wow. very powerful! So great to see a story like this come out of the mental health awareness day.

    1. Thanks Julian! I'm so glad I was able to participate in the blog party to celebrate mental health day. It really is a celebration, too, as hopefully people will finally be brave enough to seek the support that is out there!

  2. How great that we managed to blog about the same subject :) Could I have your email if possible. wont be offended if you say no. can pm me on fb xxx

    1. Hey, great minds think alike, right? Email has been messaged to your FB inbox :)

  3. this is a brilliant so happy and proud of you even though i dont know you...its hard sometimes trust me i know but with people like you who are living proff that you can get through the worse part of depression/mental health and be able to sustain with the correct support is brilliant.


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