This is a beautiful story from Anna, honest about the adversities we can face, but with an inspiring turnaround and positive outlook.
Anna’s page can be found here: http://recovery835908668.wordpress.com/ I urge everyone to give it a read, fantastic content up there.
At 15 Anna was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety disorders. This started a journey of many years of very frequent hospital visits, sometime with just a week or two break between each. School and college became unmanageable, and Anna wondered if she would ever break this cycle and live a normal life. Fortunately one of the hospitals she often visited had a good support team to keep her just about coping.
Moving on from this however left Anna much more alone. After a brief time at a grocer’s as a cashier, it was decided that Anna would have to live in a group home for the moment. There were twelve others in this home, and to me it seemed as though this might have been helpful. Unfortunately, it was not at all, with Anna not even being paid minimum wage (no doubt from some form of discrimination), and earning just $5 some days, and being forced to do ALL the chores for the house some weeks. In other words, extremely detrimental to her health.
However, after six years of this Anna’s parents moved to South Carolina and Anna was able to go with them. This was when things started improving. Anna told me that she found a good therapist and doctor, and was able to start living in her own accommodation with her own space. She discovered meditation, as well as distraction techniques such as puzzles to aid her in focusing on the present moment. She is in much greater control of her emotions, and her life in general. She has friends, interests and a real purpose in life. Although accepting medication is crucial, she believes personal connections with others are more important.
Anna can still be hospitalised occasionally, but it is a far less scary prospect, and much more infrequent.
A short quote from Anna: “I am here to tell anyone willing to listen… it is possible to become who you want to be.” A mental health condition does not have to hold us back, we can make the choices we want, we are not defined by our thoughts. She also emphasises the importance of telling your story, of sharing your experiences, which all contributes to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Two things that jumped out at me from this story:
- Meditation. People will probably already be spotting a pattern with me on this one, but I will never stop espousing meditation! It has changed my life, and I’m sure it’s not just going to work for me. I urge anyone to try it, and if possible give it a real effort, I truly believe it can help anyone.
- Anna stated to me that she believes mental health conditions can offer us a special insight into others. Often we are highly empathetic people, having experienced all sorts from the emotional spectrum, and can help others hugely. In fact it’s something I always find actually in turn helps me: helping others. Give out love and it will be reflected back to you.
Thanks so much Anna, and I urge anyone out there with a positive story to email me, and I’ll get it out there for you!