What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
As far back as I can remember, I didn’t feel safe. I felt anxious, depressed, and like I was walking on eggshells. When you combine this with the intense pressure to perform academically, socially, and physically, I was a ticking time bomb. No one was talking about mental health in the early 2000s, so I thought the way I felt was normal. How can I be checking all these “good” boxes and still feel this way? My suicidal ideations became more frequent in my early 20s, when I turned to anything to feel a glimpse of happiness as a coping mechanism. By 25 those ideations turned to action. After years of counseling, medication, and addiction services, I am now free from those chains!
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
At 22, I started seeing a psychologist and began my 5–year journey of trial and error for medications. I started seeing a therapist at 25, and that changed my life in a huge way. I still see her! At 29 I gave up alcohol officially, and have been sober for two years. I am now off my medications and have never felt better!
Think about the system that affects our mental health in our society, including aspects of it that are damaging to mental health and aspects of the system that improve mental health. Based on your experience, how might we improve that system to build resilience and better address the mental health needs of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities?
STOP THE COMPARISONS. Social media can be a beautiful way to connect, but can also be so nasty. You are the average of the content you consume, and who you surround yourself with. Start consuming POSITIVE content, with POSITIVE people, and watch your life flourish. I also know people use social media as a coping mechanism; to get attention, validation from others, to avoid arguing with their spouse, to escape from their screaming kids. If you face your feelings head on, and sit with them, you will unlock a new level of you! But it’s effing hard.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
My past doesn’t define who I am now.