Mental Health Warriors: Hopeful Lotus
Welcome to Mental Health Warriors: Hopeful Lotus. Today, I would like to introduce you to Esther from Hopeful Lotus. Last time, I introduced you to Stephanie from Rural Ruby. You can read her personal journey here.
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 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 Esther’s personal story about mental health, in her own words.
Do you deal with a mental illness?
I currently struggle with borderline personality disorder and social anxiety, and I used to battle complex PTSD.
Help me understand what it is like to live with this?
When things are bad it is completely exhausting. Borderline Personality Disorder makes me feel like I’m in a constant state of overwhelm. It feels like I can never get a break from my mind and I am always overanalyzing everything and feeling such intense emotions. Living with social anxiety is equally as debilitating – I feel like social anxiety holds me back from living to my true potential and I have an evergrowing list of missed opportunities due to my own fears and doubts.
Have you dealt with this your whole life?
I’ve dealt with this for most of my life, yes. My symptoms started becoming known to me at the age of about 11.
How old were you when you first got diagnosed or got help?
I first sought help when I was about 14 years old. Since then I have seen many therapists and been on various medications. I didn’t truly get the help that I needed until I was 21 and I received EMDR therapy for unresolved trauma (https://www.hopeful-lotus.com/my-honest-experience-with-emdr-therapy-for-trauma/). This changed my life and my mental health has been much more stable since then.
What are some of the survival skills that help you get through a rough day or rough period?
Self-care is so important. I have a list of self-care activities that I can turn to on both higher functioning days and bad mental health days (https://www.hopeful-lotus.com/inclusive-self-care-ideas). The tools that I have found most transformative in my own recovery journey are meditation and yoga.
Have you learned your triggers? Or have you learned how to spot when it is about to get bad?
Through years of lived experience with mental illness, I have definitely got to know my triggers more. I know when my mental health is declining and I have a clearer sense of what I need to do in order to prevent a crisis. A tool that has really helped me with this is journaling; I feel like journaling has really benefited my self-awareness and helped me to identify my triggers and patterns of behavior.
What is something you can tell people that have family members with a mental illness? Is there anything they can do to help?
Just be there. The most important thing you can do is show your support and be by your loved one’s side. You’re not always going to know the right things to say and that’s okay – don’t put too much pressure on yourself to help because ultimately recovery has to come from the individual.
Words of advice or encouragement?
Find what you love and then do something you love each and every day. When you start to find your purpose in life then the low moments will not drag you down as much. You will start to see that life is worth it, even just for those small glimpses of happiness and joy.
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Thank you so much, Esther, 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