What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
My biological parents went through a difficult divorce when I was very young. Immediately after that, I endured neglect and severe physical abuse within the household. Going into my adolescence and teen years, I was also a victim of multiple sexual assaults and rapes. My first sexual assault was when I was 14, and soon after was my first rape. I struggled with depression and low self-worth at a very young age, which trickled into young adulthood. My relationship choices reflected how I put up with my partners’ treatment and how I felt about myself. I had multiple sexual assaults in my twenties as well. Depression has never left me, even as a social worker/therapist myself—it doesn’t discriminate.
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
Honestly, I was too proud to reach out for help until this year (2023) because I thought I could just deal with it on my own. I knew I had never properly dealt with my trauma or how it continued to affect me in my adult life, and I finally decided it was time for proper self-care. I found a great therapist and began the difficult journey of processing through everything and facing my demons.
Think about the system that affects our mental health in our society, including aspects 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?
Therapy is expensive. Waitlists to get into psychiatrists for proper medication management are way too long. Treatment for substance abuse is also expensive and isn’t near long enough to actually treat the cycle of addiction. Law Enforcement needs more extensive training on mental health crises, also the way suicidal and mental health patients are treated in our jail system needs to be addressed.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
It’s not something I wish on anyone. It’s a very excruciating silent struggle that people go through, and it’s just so hard to really explain to someone who has never had a thought of literally wanting to not be on earth anymore. I can be a fully functioning adult and put on a smile all day but internally, I’m screaming and aching in pain because I’m just so exhausted about “being.”