My personal journey with mental health began when I was 15 when I saw my first psychiatrist and was told, "there's nothing I can do for you; you'll just need to learn to cope." I was crushed because I knew something was wrong and didn't feel seen or heard. This was the beginning of a decades-long fight to find answers.
Over the next 21 years, I saw four more psychiatrists and received different diagnoses; I would improve for a period, and then I felt like I was right back where I started and sometimes even worse. I can remember trying to play with my kids on the floor, crying so hard, and feeling so overwhelmed that I wondered if I could ever feel "normal". I kept faking it and trying to make it but never felt whole, happy, or healthy.
On March 3, 2016, I was lying in bed without the energy to get up to get my kids ready and to school. I made a plan on how I was going to kill myself. I was preparing to write letters to my loved ones so they would know they were better off without me, but I loved them so much. While lying there, I heard a voice say, "I'm not done with you yet." I called that voice the Holy Spirit; others may call it the universe, source, or creator. All I knew was I had to live. I made calls and was miraculously able to see professionals within five days.
The sixth psychiatrist I saw gave me a diagnosis of bipolar 2. I was not happy with this diagnosis; I felt it was wrong because I didn't fit the picture I had of bipolar, but within a few weeks on medication, I felt better than I had in years. I finally felt seen and heard. I knew that I didn't have to live in that misery anymore and was ready to live and not just exist. For years I hid my struggles and pretended I was fine, now, I speak to anyone who will listen with the hope that no one else will feel as alone as I did.
The Mental Society was born out of my unwavering belief that, while changing, there is a stigma around mental illness and we, as a global society, don’t talk enough about mental health. I have seen how mental health impacts every corner of our world; I want to learn more about how mental health influences our daily lives and open up candid conversations about how mental health influences each of us differently.