One in four is challenged with a mental health illness, and one in 17 is challenged with a severe mental illness. I am that one.
In 2010, I triggered with Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures and PTSD. Before becoming mentally disabled, I was an online designer, social media guru and nationally-syndicated blogger. After the trigger, I lost six-years of memory, day-to-day tracking of time, ability to talk and be understood, and my cognitive abilities dissipated at a rapid rate. I also struggled with body tics, tremors, seizures and chronic struck-by-lightening pain. At one point, help was needed with mobility and basic self-care.
My recovery and wellness journey began in 2013 with a stay at Stanford Mental Health Behavioral Ward, and then followed up with local peer-to-peer support groups and private therapy. It wasn’t until Stanford I heard the word recovery in the same sentence as mental illness. It didn’t seem possible. The group leaders in peer-support repeated the same idea: Recovery is possible. That knowledge sparked my will to fight for a better quality of life.
Today, and every day, is a successful struggle to wellness. Improvements small, and stacking, over a great period of time, with proper help and support, have made a tremendous, positive change in my life. I focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do. I’ve learned that sharing my story not only helps those who are experiencing mental health challenges, but also helps me on my healing journey.
This past year has provided incredible inclusion opportunities. In January, I attended the “Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement” training (coordinated by Fresno State, NAMI and RICV), and learned to share my story and help break the mental health stigma in the community. During the spring I graduated from the Community Leadership Academy, developed by Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV). This prepared me to take on a leadership role and I now am an RICV board member, and have been appointed by Gov. Brown to the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Area 8 Board. I also started blogging again at quirkybirdwords.wordpress.com. That would be here. 😉
Life isn’t like it was before – but it’s still a whole life. It’s similar to yours and different than yours. It’s a worthy life.