This is the fourth story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. I want to thank Amanda for sharing her recovery story with us. She had to struggle with a lot of debilitating emotions and I am glad she has been able to turn her life around. This is her stroy:
Amanda is from Western, PA and she enjoys reading, listening to music and archery hunting. She is currently starting school to become a pastor. Her goal 5 years from now is to be either pastoring a church or starting her own ministry.
Amanda suffers from anxiety and deep depression since she was a child, although her depression was stronger as a young teen. She is still struggling with both disorders. Amanda believes her mental illness stems from childhood verbal and mental abuse, along with genetics.
Amanda saw a psychologist for a while, who diagnosed her with a severe case of depression and anxiety. Her psychologist worked with her by using mental imaging and techniques of distraction in order to help her calm down. She had to deal with terrible symptoms. Her depressive side dealt with sadness, loss of interest and complete numbing with constant fatigue. Amanda said, “I preferred to stay in bed all the time than to participate in life.” She felt anger and aggression towards the people she loved most for unrealistic reasons and thought no one loved her. Her anxious side dealt with irrational fears such as, loved ones dying and could not leave the house without having a panic attack. When she managed to leave the house she couldn’t drive the interstate for years due to the anxiety.
Because of this Amanda’s life was a disaster. Her mental illness provoked her to have real gastrointestinal distress, which made her miss school a lot for being sick. She was unable to leave the house for various days and that didn’t help her depression because she was alone for the majority of the time. She said, “I was in such a dark place, constantly convinced that I wasn’t good enough, that no one cared for me or loved me. I was undeserving.” She also said, “Everyone would be better off without me”, which made her want to move far away.
Although Amanda had severe depression and anxiety she did no attempt to hurt herself or anyone else. The turning point to recover from her mental illnesses was taking medication and finding relief through her faith in Jesus. Her loving and supportive husband also help her stay afloat through dark times. Amanda said, “My husband is my biggest cheerleader and support. He lets me talk it out when I’m having some anxiety and he knows when I need space or for him to just hold me tight when my world is crashing down around me. He also takes over caring for the kids when he can tell I just need to go be alone for a while and regroup.”
This ordeal taught Amanda that if she lets her mental illness consume her it will win. She understand that she needs to fight every day of her life with depression. This experience changed her outlook in life. She now appreciates the little things and joys of life. This is Amanda’s advice for others struggling:
“Don’t give up. There are going to be hard days, there are going to be days where you’ll say “what mental illness?”, and there are going to be days where the weight of this illness is just too much and you won’t think you’ll be able to take it any longer. Just know you are stronger than this, there are people who do love you, who do care, and do understand. When you hit rock bottom, there is nowhere to go but up.”
Amanda’s story hit me personally really hard because I too suffered from gastrointestinal problems that made me miss a lot of school as well. Having stomach problems that stem from mental disorders is not fun. It is agonizing pain mixed with extreme unrealistic emotions. What are your thoughts on Amanda’s story? Any advice for her and others struggling with depression and anxiety? Would you like to share your story? If so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org