With all the somewhat recent conversations surrounding the deaths of Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and others, I want to share my story to let others know they are not alone, no one has a perfect life, and there is help out there.
Through numerous sessions, I’ve learned from professional social workers and counselors/therapists that my anxiety and depression stem from past trauma in my life. I’m not a medical expert, but I know that depression and suicide have various causes/risk factors. My Mom passed away in a car crash 3 days before my 13th birthday, leaving behind my Dad and 9 siblings. Then, at my last job, I was abused by a female director for about a year and a half. During that time, the CEO promoted her boyfriend to director of my department, knowing they were in a relationship. You can probably imagine things got worse and yes, they did. My dear boss at that time, who I admire very much, tried everything she could to help me, but in the end, the CEO makes the decisions there, and unfortunately, he doesn’t have the emotional intelligence, leadership qualities & experience to lead people in the organization…To make a really long story short, I finally left and my abuser was asked to leave 3 weeks after I left. In the last few months surviving there, I was in therapy and taking medication because I was depressed and having thoughts of harming myself. After I landed a new job (which I am so grateful for and absolutely love to this day), I stopped both treatments. Fast forward a little over a year later and that trauma caught up with me, as I was having suicidal ideation, also known as SI. I was planning to kill myself. I finally asked for help, and I remember feeling embarrassed because of the stigma associated with depression and suicide.
Everyone is unique, so there isn’t a one size fits all treatment. The first counselor I saw believes I have PTSD…after a few sessions, I decided he wasn’t right for me, so I visited another counselor. I am glad I did because I really like her! She’s my favorite of all the counselors/social workers I’ve seen in my life.
My physician (who I also really like) prescribed me a different medication from last time which worked better for me. I’ve appreciated the medication even though I think it’s caused me to gain weight, and I can’t drink alcohol. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a drink, but it’s no big deal for me. And my favorite treatment (and highly recommend to anyone who is looking for help in the Kansas City area) was the Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for mental health. If you’re not in the KC area, search for IOPs or similar programs in your area. I’m so glad I admitted myself there; I’ve learned a lot from the small group therapy sessions and therapists. I was fortunate that my employer’s resources (EAP) led me to the IOP and benefits allowed me to take time that I very much needed, to take care of my health.
With the treatments personalized for me and support from my husband, family, best friend, and work family, I’ve been able to pull myself out of the deep end and keep going.
So with all that said…here’s what I want you to know:
- You are not alone if you’re suffering. More people than you probably realize are suffering from anxiety, depression or other mental health illnesses. And there are resources out there to get help. There’s the national suicide prevention phone number you can call. For me, I went through my physician and my company’s health resources to get help.
- You are worthy. Tell yourself that. Don’t let events in your life…mental illnesses…or anything make you think otherwise and finally,
- Whether or not you have a mental illness, please be kind to others.
Need help? Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to share your story or hear more details of mine. If you comment here, I promise to respond—and quickly.
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