Mental Health Warriors: Take The Leap
Welcome to my new series Mental Health Warriors. Today, I would like to introduce you to Christine from Take The Leap. About two weeks ago, I introduced you to Sheila from Empty Next Lifestyle and she shared with you her personal journey with mental health. You can read her story here. We received such an outpowering of love and support from our friends, readers, and fellow bloggers. Basically, it was like throwing kerosene on my already burning flame.
Mental health is an issue that needs to be talked about, no matter how difficult it might be so I put up a form on my blog asking people to share their mental health journey. I wasn’t sure how many responses I would get. However, I am so moved to say that in two weeks I have already received 6 submissions. I am moved by the fact these people are willing to share their stories, even though I know it isn’t easy, just to raise awareness and touch the lives of some that might really be struggling and feeling alone.
Here is Christine’s personal story about mental health, in her own words.
Do you deal with a mental illness?
Yes – General Anxiety and Depression
Help me understand what it is like to live with this?
It really depends on the day and season, some days it’s easier to handle than others. At its’ worst, it looked like not being able to get out of bed for days on end, scarred legs from compulsive itching, not being able to stomach much food, and panic attacks. On a more normal, day-to-day basis, it looks like general tiredness, procrastination, isolation, my limbs feeling heavy and difficult to move (like my muscles won’t do what I am telling them to do), and inability to focus and/or manage my emotions efficiently.
Have you dealt with this your whole life?
Looking back, I see it threaded through especially my post-pubescent life – through middle school and high school. I didn’t have a name for it, though, and thought I just had a harder time functioning than other people.
How old were you when you first got diagnosed or got help?
I was 21, in the middle of my first major episode (the first time in my life where it got really bad for an extended period of time.)
What are some of the survival skills that help you get through a rough day or rough period?
For whatever reason, screens seem to expedite my descent. A big temptation for me during a rough time is to disappear into Netflix, but the staring at screens make my problems a lot worse. So taking at least a full day to take a “screen hiatus” really helps me. Other than that: drinking lots of water, eating healthy foods, getting up and moving to the best of my abilities, and refusing to isolate myself completely. And for you Christians out there, I find great solace and power in the word of God and the support and prayers of other Godly people.
Have you learned your triggers? Or have you learned how to spot when it is about to get bad?
Like I said previously, screens will make a mediocre day much worse. Another big thing is alcohol – I don’t drink very much, but if I have more than I usually do, two days later I experience a little bit of a crash. Lastly, fatigue, the heaviness in my limbs, and the procrastination are some of the first symptoms I experience. When I notice one or more of those things happening, I know I need to get ahead of it.
What is something you can tell people that have family members with a mental illness? Is there anything they can do to help?
Don’t judge. One of the worst feelings is being down in the trenches, vulnerable, and having someone you trust say that you’re fighting your fight wrong, or that you’re being selfish, or whatever. Support is the best help that you can offer.
Words of advice or encouragement?
Don’t. Be. Afraid. To. Get. Help. I was very, very afraid. But seeking help, going on medication, realizing that I can’t do this alone was one of the best things that I did for my mental health. Also, you are so far from alone. There are so many of us, fighting the good fight, just like you.
I encourage you to check out these posts (and more) from Take The Leap!
- Bible Verses for Depression and Anxiety
- Christian Books for Anxiety and Depression
- The Anxiety Battle
Take The Leap on Social Media:
Thank you so much Christine for sharing your story with us.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10