BENEFITING: Mental Health America
Mental illness is the same as any other illness. It doesn’t care how you grew up, how lucky or not you are, how much faith you have. Like cancer or a cold, it's just there. I grew up in a good, middle class family with parents who always supported me. However, I have been dealing with depression and anxiety since I was 14 years old. I self harmed for four years and have thought about ending my life in the past.
I grew up very insecure and over analyzed everything around me. In college I started having panic attacks that were so intense I just wanted to black out so I didn’t have to suffer through them any more. Through it all was my high school sweetheart. We married in 2010 and were blessed with a twin pregnancy a year later.
But I didn't see it as a blessing. At times I wondered, I wondered, “What did I just do?”
“I don’t want to put them through a mind like mine."
Two months into the pregnancy I wrote my husband a suicide letter. Luckily he got home from work and stopped me before I attempted to end my life.
Since my twins entered my life, the constant demand for attention hasn’t been the hardest part. It has been the paranoia I get at night. When the girls were little and waking in the middle of the night, I had to get up and tend to them. But when you have paranoia to the point that your mind makes you believe that someone or something is going to get you or hurt you, it is paralyzing to face the task. With a husband working the swing shift, I had to face it. It was horrible but… I did it. I found a way for my children.
I felt so stupid for acting like a three year old afraid of monsters under her bed. But, I know now that it isn’t stupid. It is a part of my illness. The brain can do amazing things and one for those things is to shift reality and make us believe that something fake is real. Even TV shows can trigger my depression and anxiety.
I’ve learned to cope and to calm myself down pretty quickly. I’ve turned to my faith more, trusting in God to protect me and my girls when I was faced with heavy paranoia. It has been a daily struggle… or nightly struggle, I guess. I took it moment by moment, talking to God, finding ways to distract myself.
Through my faith and my husband’s support, I got through it. I just had to; I’m a mom. We do what we need to do to take care of our children and husbands.
To encourage me through my recovery, my husband once quoted a bible verse to me in high school that all things are possible with God. It is a verse that comes up often in my life. It helps remind me that I am stronger than I know. God has greater things planned for me then what my fears limit me to. Trust and obey.
I want other women to know that it is okay to be afraid and to struggle with mental health issues. And it is okay to have children; despite a mental health diagnosis. You need to know yourself and triggers and be willing to work on yourself while taking care of those around you. Not everyone can cope with having children but that is okay too. It doesn’t make you a monster or anything less than me. God created each of us for a different purpose. When you find that purpose, you’ll shine. You will be a light in the darkness; a light no paranoia, depression, or anxiety, can ever overcome.