May is Mental Health Awareness month and what better way to open this often not talked about subject is to talk about it! I have teamed up with the gorgeous Instagram blogger Shayna @fashionbeforefunction to tell our stories and to share a sweet giveaway as well. One in five adults will be affected by mental health issues so if you are suffering you are not alone in your struggle. This is a health issue that is very near to my heart as I suffered from mental illness for 15 years and had very bad postpartum anxiety after my son as born.
I was a very sensitive child born into a chaotic family. My Father was an alcoholic and my Mother struggled with mental health issues. I had no confidence and didn’t love myself. I was nerdy, shy, and was teased all the time by other kids at school. I remember coming home crying just about every single day. Having very few friends and no one to talk to was very hard. I always had ear infections, strep throat, tonsillitis, lung infections, mono, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma problems, throat infections, Epstein Barr, staph infections, parasites, cytomegalovirus, or just weird neurological symptoms that made no sense whatsoever. In my teen years I struggled with crippling PMS and menstrual cycles with pain so bad morphine only put a dent in it. And that’s around the time my depression started. I also suffered from debilitating migraines and had Seasonal Affective Disorder.
As I got older, it seemed that every time I got sick with something, my depression flared up. I missed a lot of school – the worst of it in high school. I missed half of grade nine, and half of grade twelve. After high school things began to deteriorate further. I was hospitalized for depression six times between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-three. One time I was locked up for six months. Two of the times I had tried to take my own life because living seemed a torturous, pure hell. The first time I tried, I just had my stomach pumped. However the second time was way more serious and my parents were told I was going to die. I am so thankful everyday that not only did I live, I survived with no damage. Praise God indeed.
Through homeopathic medicine, seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist, light therapy, diet, essential oils, chiropractic, exercise, getting enough sleep, and relaxing I have been symptom free for almost two years! I am here to say that there is hope and help. Please research and talk to trained professionals, family, and friends if you are suffering from mental health issues. You are beautiful, perfect, and loved. When God created you, He didn’t make a mistake. And if you want to ever talk to me, send me a message. I’m here for you!
I’m totally honoured to have Shayna as my guest blogger to tell her story about her struggles with mental illness. Here’s her story in her own words:
I’ve been dealing with severe anxiety & chronic pain for almost all of my life and I still do. As a child I was sick a lot and missed a ton of school. They thought I had ADHD but it turned out it was just anxiety. And we were told by my doctor that the excruciating leg pain was just because I was still growing. Well I’m 34 and it hasn’t gone away so I guess they had that wrong too. So both the pain and anxiety diminished a bit but it wasn’t until I was an adult (around age 22-28) where it came back and was the worst it’s ever been. There was a time where my anxiety was so debilitating that I would literally pass out in a puddle of my own sweat from awful panic attacks. These attacks happened daily and made life very hard. They affected me in all the areas of my life. I didn’t want to leave the house and was living my life in fear and constant panic. I also suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (might have been misdiagnosed back then in my opinion) and I also suffer from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I’ve been dealing with depression on and off for about ten years now. I’m grateful my depression is no way near as dark as it once was. I also suffer with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which usually goes hand in hand with depression/anxiety. I’ve experienced so many dark days in my life, especially in the past. At one point the physical and emotional pain became so terrorizing, agonizing, and more than I knew how to handle so I ended up attempting suicide a few times. I had lost all hope and was in such heart wrenching agony, pain, and fear and of course I was not in my right frame of mind. Each time I did this, I was so lucky to have lived. I was in and out of the hospital quite a bit over a four year period. Because I had my parents support me, the doctors felt I was safe enough in my own home under their watch and care.
In 2006 I witnessed a horrific accident which still haunts me to this day but I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve also had other traumatic events that also contributed to my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but I’m not going to get into them all. I just wanted to share a small glimpse of what I’ve dealt with and what I am still dealing with today. Thankfully, I’ve come a long way and I’ve learned many new coping skills to deal with both my mental illnesses and my severe chronic pain. I spent years taking Cognitive Behavioral Therapy courses, mindfulness, meditation and I have had a lot of counselling (still go). I’m still always trying to find new, natural ways to live my best life. I still have bad days and flare ups but I now know that I am strong enough to get through this. I’m so grateful to be alive and to be surrounded by so much love, compassion, kindness & support.
I’m also grateful to have met Joelle. When I first met Joelle through Instagram and heard Joelle’s story it was like hearing my own. We both had gone through a lot of the same things so I felt an instant connection to her and really felt supported and understood without judgement. I admire her strength and honesty for sharing such personal details with a women she doesn’t know very well who live across the country from her. She really has inspired me to be brave and vulnerable enough to tell my story and to not feel guilt or shame. Another thing about Joelle is that she has overcome so much of her health and mental health issues so that truly gives me hope that I’ll get there one day too. I definitely treasure our friendship and she knows I’m here for her if she needs me.
So that’s my story for now. I’m glad we got a chance to share our stories and hopefully spread awareness with our giveaway.
My advice would be to not suffer in silence and to just live in the moment. Remind yourself that this will pass and you’re so much stronger than you’ll ever truly know. If you think you are dealing with more than you can handle or suspect you’re suffering from a mental illness then ask for help! You are not alone in this battle and you will make it through, no matter what! I love that quote that says “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end”.
Thank you so much Shayna for sharing your story! You are pretty darn amazing yourself! 😀
If anyone has questions for Shayna, please ask in the comments below.
So now for our giveaway! One lucky winner is going to walk away with a:
$20 Starbucks Gift Card
Green Statement Necklace
NYX Lip Cream