30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge- Day 9

Day 9: What are some of the important events in your life, that may have affected your mental illness(es) for the worse or better?
It would be difficult to name the events that impacted my mental health negatively just because I feel that if I didn’t have any mental illness to begin with I wouldn’t have been as impacted by those events. I did have a phobia of thunderstorms from childhood until my early 20’s probably due to hurricane Alisha that came through Texas in the 80’s shortly after my family moved here. I also have a phobia for guns probably related to a terrifying event when I was 14. I developed postpartum depression and OCD shortly after having my first child and my anxiety seemed to get worse with each perceived failure in my life. I had difficult relationships (in my past) in that I seemed to choose men who weren’t very good to me; go down the list and I found them all…abusers, drug addict, cheater, narcissist; but I am sure this is because of my illness. I don’t think I became sick after each relationship. Although I do not think any of those helped me like myself any more.
Luckily, I do have events that have saved my health much more than anything or anyone could have damaged it. Those blessings came in the form of two little bundles in pink weighing in at 6 pounds and 4 pounds respectively. They are a little bigger than that now at 17 and 10 years old but they will always be my ‘Littles’. When I was at my lowest and I was sure I was better off dead, my oldest’s voice brought me back from complete numbness and hopelessness. When I was in the hospital, feeling lost and that I didn’t know who I was or what my purpose was anymore and knew I was drowning, those two little faces in my memory reminded me why I had to come back. Calling them everyday was difficult because I couldn’t get up and leave and hold them, but they were my true north. I followed those bright lights and was able to fight for my health and am where I am now because they love me.
My family has also been a huge impact on my health. My parents, who have no experience with mental illness and both come from the school of ‘suck it up and power through’ supported and loved me unconditionally. I owe them everything. They took my kids and me in when I needed (but wouldn’t have asked for) help. They never forced me to talk and I was never once asked to snap out of it. They just let me be what I needed to be; numb and alone in my room some days, weepy and laying on the couch others, coffee drinking and needing to talk as I started to heal, they were always there. I wouldn’t have gotten through this, with my family intact, without them and I am forever grateful. My parents are absolutely amazing people and even they have surprised me with their love through this.
Two of the last things that have impacted me positively and kept me sane and made me feel “normal” and valid are my career and my friends. I was able to go to work and use my talents and I began to remember who I was again. Having that to go to gave me normalcy. I wasn’t ‘sick’ at work. I am respected and seen as an equal. I can contribute and have something to offer. The same with my friends. I assimilated right back in with them as if I had never been gone. Of course, none of them knew (with the exception of a couple of my closest friends) about my illness for a while but this gave me a place to go where I could be strong and not feel like a patient for a few hours. Now that they know everything about what has happened, nothing has changed. They are still my ‘tough people only allowed’ place to be and feel like I still belong. My friends are comprised of marathon/ironman competitors, top sales people, type ‘A’s that don’t know the meaning of the words “weak” or “lazy”, and they are the best people I have ever met. These people save me every day.
All in all, in spite of my bad luck of the draw in acquiring this challenge, I have been more than compensated in friends and family to love and support me. I have met some that aren’t so lucky. They are patient with me so I can learn to be strong and patient with myself.

30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge- Master List.


About Christine O.

I had been a young, single Mom to two girls for ten years; until March 9, 2014 when I married my soul-mate Jason. I’m a former 20 year+ full time executive in a demanding field turned business owner (this year); marathon runner, daughter to the perfect parents, oldest sister of a highly successful ‘normal’ younger brother and ‘functional’ single-mother (of 3) sister, coach, boss, best friend, member of the church choir, volunteer for the local NAMI, AFSP, and CASA organizations, and have over time become well acclimated to the world of mental illness after a life changing event or two. I have also become known in my community as the one who takes on the High School year after year in attempts to have a Suicide Prevention Program in place (as in Texas statute). My goal in writing, blogging and learning as much as I can about such subjects is to defeat stigma associated with brain disease, preventing suicide in the future, and saving my family.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, depression, family, friends, Health, major depressive disorder, mental illness, OCD, PTSD, recovery, running, single parenthood, stigma, suicide, support, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge- Day 9

  1. I fully concur that children are a tremendous blessing for those of us who battle mental illness. So glad you can celebrate this.

  2. Pingback: 30MIAC Day 9 Round Up/Results | Marci, Mental Health, & More

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