Hi, my name is Stephanie Ryckman.
Welcome to my personal blog, documenting my journey through mental illness. My goals are to encourage and educate. I want others to be proud of their story. Together we can make this world a better place. I also want to educate others so that our society has a better understanding of mental health. Whether you've been diagnosed or not, you have a role in this.
I ask that you bare with me for a minute. I want you to think of someone you love. You just found out they have cancer. Take a deep breath. Think about what you would say to them. How would you treat them? Would you buy them flowers? A card? Would you plan a special outing with them and spend quality time with them? Would you console them? Of course you would.
Now imagine that person were to tell you they were suffering from Depression instead. Or Bio-polar Disorder. Severe Anxiety. What would you do now?
I suffer from Major Depression and Anxiety and it should be taken just as seriously as cancer. I'd like a card or maybe a happy text message once in a while. Or some flowers. I'd like you to spend quality time with me instead of fearing me. Even just a smile or a hug will do the trick. And if you're still unsure about how you feel, just listen. That's all.
At times my mental illness gets the best of me. It can be really scary. And just like cancer, I cannot control the fact that I suffer from depression and anxiety. It's not just about what I cannot control though. It's about my actions, my will, my support system, and the severity of my illness.
I'm sharing my story with you because mental illness is real. Whatever your story, I ask you to read with an open mind. I also ask that you embrace your thoughts and reactions. At the end of the day, we need to take better care of ourselves and each other.
I have not gone through this alone. My wife has been my #1 supporter. She holds me when I need to be held. She cries with me. She takes the time to learn about depression and anxiety. No matter what, she is on my side. She never makes me feel alone. Her experience is just as important. We don't always get to hear about the challenges being faced by someone who is taking care of a loved one with mental illness. In addition, my family and my friends have found ways to support me. I've gotten books, essential oils, financial support, phone calls, silly text messages to make me smile, and unconditional love! Every little thing helps.
Always know that you are supported. There is help. I'd love to hear your story! Don't worry, everything will be okay.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being here.
I just want all people to learn and grow together.