In 2018 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. At that time, I was 30 years abstinent from all substances and in recovery from SUD (substance use disorder). Through treatment (working with a therapist and psychiatrist) I have learned how to live with my mental health disorder.
Mental Health is something we all live with every day, and some struggle with it more visibly than others. We should all have a self-care regimen to take care of ourselves daily. I learned through my experience how important this is to my overall health. I also learned that there will be days that you may not be able to stick to a regimen, but it is important to get back to it as soon as you can.
Through therapy, I have realized that (although only diagnosed in 2018) I have had anxiety and depression my whole life, but the stigma stopped me from letting anyone know. Growing up in the 1970’s, I was brought to psychologists who told my parents that I was school phobic. A true mental health diagnosis was not common back then.
My hope is that by World Mental Health Day in 2023, the stigma will have ended and that everyone will understand that we all have one form or another of mental health and that everyone struggles sometimes. It is important to share these struggles with someone and to reach out for help when needed…I’m so grateful I did.
In 2020 I became a CRPA (Certified Recovery Peer Advocate) and in 2021 I got my NY Peer Specialist certification in Mental Health. I have been blessed to be able to turn the stigma around and use it to help others with SUD and Mental Health Disorders.
CRPA and NY Peer Specialist