If you're reading this, THANK YOU for sticking by my side as we jump into a new year!
To make sure we're all on the same page, let me give just a quick review. My last post was actually a contribution from my wife, Sarah. Though this is my story I'm sharing, I'm not the only one involved. I want to reach people who can directly relate, but if my goal is to help rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness, then my job is to include everyone in my story because we each have our own struggle. This is why I asked my wife to write and speak to those of you who may not suffer from a mental illness, but instead, support someone who does. I shared my love story and how much Sarah means to me. She then did the same. We have different ways of expressing that love, especially when it pertains to navigating my mental illness. I hope that you recognize how strong our love is and that you are able to further define what love truly is.
I now continue telling my story. ***If you are just joining me, or if you forget where you are in my story, please take a moment to go back and read a few posts. It makes more sense if your thoughts are organized***
So...on we go...
You already know that I lost my job at the University of Notre Dame once the department was eliminated. It was a strange feeling. I felt like I had no purpose anymore and no clue what the heck I was going to do. My career goals had always been centered around teaching, specifically health & physical education. My position at Notre Dame was very unique in my mind. Not many universities have a physical education requirement for students anymore. On top of that, a Ph.D was not required. My Masters Degree was just right for the job back in 2009 when I got hired. Basically I lost my dream job and thought I'd never find anything like it ever again.
I struggled during my time at Notre Dame--I think we all know that now. My depression got the best of me numerous times, but I had great moments too. I loved teaching! I still do. I had the best students at Notre Dame--kind, compassionate, inspirational, and always willing to go above and beyond. Toward the end of my career there in May of 2015, I obtained a new friend, Anxiety.
Between 2015 and 2017 I did some summer part-time work and then spent six months as a fitness coordinator in a job that I needed financially, but that totally wasn’t for me. I wasn’t for it either. I hated waking up every day going to that job. My anxiety got worse. I started thinking that my degree, my experience, and ultimately my passion for fitness, didn't matter anymore. I wasn't connecting with co-workers. I felt useless. I wasn't enjoying myself. Financially I needed the job, but it could only trump my health for so long.
I was already slowly withdrawing myself from social situations. I was embarrassed that I no longer worked at Notre Dame because I felt like nothing else would compare. I stayed at home a lot in my own little world. I still did things outside of the house, but those fun times became few. I limited my interactions and created my own idea of "getting out of the house".
I wasn’t as depressed as I had been in the past, but it was still there. It came and went. I’ll tell ya though, the anxiety was a new beast. I thought depression was awful. WHY ME? The reality is that you cannot compare the two. Depression can be horrifying, anxiety mild. Anxiety can be horrifying, depression mild. They both can be horrifying, all the time, some times...lots of combinations to choose from. I just wasn't ready to battle both of them.
After almost two years of feeling worthless and being unemployed, I hit the jackpot! At least it felt that way in the moment. In fact, when I got the call from NC State University, Sarah and I jumped for joy in our front yard back in South Bend, IN. Our dear friends saw us from across the street and already knew I had interviewed. They came out to congratulate us. They knew I was looking for another teaching position and the struggle I was having. This also meant we would be packing our things and relocating to North Carolina. It felt great to know I was capable of landing another job in higher education. I was proud of myself and happy that we would be closer to Sarah’s family.
Unfortunately, things didn't pan out like we thought they would.
Stay tuned for next week's post as my anxiety takes over and leaves depression in the dust.
I wish only the best for you in 2019: kindness, compassion, hope, inspiration, confidence, success, and love. Thank you for your support.
I hope you guys don't mind me filling in for Stephanie this week. She’s been working tirelessly for so long that she is well overdue for a break. Plus, this gives me an opportunity to tell a slightly different story. Don’t get me wrong, this one has the same characters, plot, setting, conflict, and resolution, but the point of view and theme are a little different. Be prepared to experience the sappiest and least sarcastic version of me ever recorded.
Since we are going to be spending the about 3-5 minutes together, I thought it would be appropriate to tell you all a little secret about me...I am a true romantic. Before you roll your eyes, let me explain. You know in the movies when a group of women are standing together in the office when all of a sudden some random guy walks in and holding a bouquet of flowers and says “Delivery for Miss Smith”, and then the woman reads the cheesiest card ever as all of her friends standing around say, in unison, “aww...he is so romantic”? That is not me and it’s not how I view romance. That’s not even the bullshit version of romance.
Now might also be a good time for me to mention that I view love differently than most. Instead of spending way too long giving a really boring explanation of how everyone else views love, followed by an equally thrilling description of my take on it, it might be better to express the difference in story form.
The current cultural expectation of love is quite easy, predictable, and boring. It goes something like this: Boy meets girl (I told you it was predictable, right?). The second they see each other they fall madly in love (boring), and live happily ever after (easy). There is no effort, no hard times, no moments where you pretend to have an important work meeting just so you can get out of the house for a few extra hours.
The second story is a bit different. Girl meets girl, and like any other casual meeting there are no sparks or little red shaped hearts filling the voids of their minds. In fact, almost 6 months go by before they even see each other again. Another two years will pass before they join forces as roommates in order to stay in this total shithole of a house that is way overpriced but is close to where they work and has a fenced in backyard for their dogs.
It didn’t take long for the attraction to kick in, but once it kicked in they were goners. Head over heels for each other. So they did what every normal couple does-they had a shotgun wedding in Michigan during the 12 hours it was legal before the supreme court told the country that denying same sex couples the right to marry was ridiculous because anyone who has ever been married knows it is always the same sex.
After they get married, they settle down, buy a house, and start a family of the four legged variety of course, because well, bees. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure which animal correlates to which gender in that whole sex talk scenario but it’s not really important. What matters is that they met, fell in love, got married, bought a house, and had a cute but very hairy family. Then one day, one of them comes home from work and finds the other curled into the fetal position on the bed and silently crying. When asked what was wrong she heard, “I don’t know, I just needed to cry”.
Like everyone else who has never experienced the spontaneous need to cry, she slowly walked backwards out of the room. This is where love really comes into the picture. You see before this Me, Myself, and Irene moment, this was pretty close to the fairy-tale ending of happily ever after (with the exception of the one time that one of them said the wrong thing at a dinner party). Most people who believe in the fairy tale version of love would have bolted out of that room faster than you can say divorce. But how meaningful is love if it is always easy? Think about it like this, would you rather have someone bring you store bought cookies or homemade cookies?
Sure, sometimes my wife is like a real life reenactment of every character in Winnie The Pooh. But the moral of this story is that love is hard sometimes, and when it is the hardest is when it is the most important and the most meaningful.
It was on Facebook that I came out to the world. I was "In a Relationship" with a woman. Bam. There it was. My family kind of knew something was up, but not really. They knew I was going on road trips with my roommate and spending a lot of time with her. I even brought her home for the holidays. It's like they knew, but they didn't know. Same with my friends. It's not official until it's official.
Why did I use Facebook instead of calling my family and telling them? I can think of a few reasons, but honestly, it was easier that way. Everyone I knew would see it and I wouldn't have to tell the story over and over again. Done deal. I also knew it could've been an uncomfortable situation. I didn't want to experience that. I didn't want others to fall silent on the phone, or to ask me a bunch of questions. Not that it would've gone that way, but still. And I didn't want to do it in person. Same reasons. After I made my declaration however, it was nothing to worry about. Everyone accepted me and loved me still.
Through all of my battles at Notre Dame, I still came out (no pun intended) with a victory! Love conquers all, it's true. Sarah is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. There is so much I want to tell you about Sarah. She’s my wife in case you didn’t know. We'll start there.
A while back I told you about the deer. That incredible moment I had running down some country roads. It is true that the way I felt in that moment has never repeated itself. It was a one of a kind feeling meant for a one of a kind moment.
Meeting Sarah was different. I found the best of me when Sarah came along. She is the one I will share the rest of my life with. She is a one of a kind gal for a one of kind me.
I’ve learned that choosing love is always right. Being loved by Sarah and loving Sarah has taught me that loving others and yourself is important. It’s something we can all do and that we sometimes don’t do enough of. I repeat, it is something we don’t do enough of.
God, we have been through so much together; the worst of times and the best. We’ve grown as a couple and are still learning to grow as individuals. Growth is constant for us. We make it a priority. We try to be mindful of how we treat each other and the things we say to one another. We make life worth living. We dance in the rain. We beat the storms. You could say the sun is always shining.
The University of Notre Dame was a big part of my life. For her too. We sometimes joke about our experiences leading up to getting our jobs. Two gay women working at a private Catholic institution. C'mon that's kind of funny.
K, so we met in 2011, engaged in 2013. When same-sex marriage was a hot topic we were interviewed on Notre Dame's campus by WSBT news. While we were engaged, same-sex marriage became legal in Michigan in 2014. Our wedding was planned for July 4 of that year in Indiana, where same-sex marriage was NOT legal. So, on March 22, 2014, we drove two hours to Muskegon, Michigan to get married.
Interesting Fact: We were one of 323 gay couples who managed to wed shortly before a Detroit judge issued a stay on gay marriage. Several couples standing right behind us in line were turned away. I wish I could put a stay on mental illness! Can a judge do anything about that?
On July 4th, 2014 we had our planned wedding with our friends and family. We were officially WIFE & WIFE, Mrs. and Mrs. Ryckman. Aaahhhhhhhhh!
When you love someone you would do anything for them. And I'm not talking about help around the house or a foot massage. I'm talking about the things they don't ask you. I’m talking about just knowing when someone you love is struggling. You can see it, you can feel it. And even if you feel hopeless, or frustrated, or you don't understand, you figure it out. Sarah figured it out. You haven't heard the most difficult part of my story yet, but she knew what to do to help me.
Ask her now, she’ll tell you she loves me even more today than ever before. (Tomorrow could be different, KIDDING! :-)
It took a long time before she would understand my mental illness. That’s okay. It happened at the right time. She is now my biggest supporter and for that I am thankful. I love her with all that I am. She is the best of me.
Stay tuned next week as my wife shares her thoughts with you.
So you met my first shrink in my last post. Now you know I’m gay. I know what you’re thinking. She’s depressed AND GAY?!!! Gees.
Relax. Let’s talk about it.
I was never a fan of labels. There’s so much more than what the eye can see. I feel like people are shamed into categories because of labels. They’re like ASSumptions sometimes. We all know what they can make out of you and me.
People can be so quick to judge. I admit, I’m guilty. I’ve labeled people before for foolish reasons. I thought I was justified simply because that’s what I thought. If I was thinking it than it must’ve been true. When that happens, a label becomes what you think you know about someone. It can prevent people from actually seeing the good that exists. You are creating what’s in the box before you even open it. I’ve learned not to turn my thoughts into judgments, but rather curiosity. My mindset now is, “What more can I learn?”
I’ve always been proud of who I am. I've never felt ashamed to tell people I was gay. No one has treated me poorly because of who I love. Sometimes I’m nervous, but mostly because I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable. Even then however, it’s much easier for me to say, “Meh, fuck it. They’ll deal with it how they want to.”
When I talk about depression and anxiety it’s different. I don’t always feel proud. I’ve been mistreated because of it: people have assumed the worst in me. I can accept when there’s a misunderstanding. For example, you just don’t know enough about mental illness because it never came into your life, for whatever reason. I get that. But when someone you love is affected by something, let’s say a mental illness, wouldn’t you want to at least try to understand? We don’t need to be professionals. We just need to be compassionate. You may never understand something, but it doesn’t give people the right to decide what kind of person you are. It doesn’t give them the right to label you.
I try to treat others how I want to be treated. I’m human and I know I miss a beat at times, but I practice what I preach. Even when I don’t get it right I try my best to learn from it. While I’m not proud of my mental illness, I’m proud of my courage. I’m proud of what it inspires me to do. I’d like to think those are ingredients to my person. Me.
Whatever you’re made of, I bet you’re wonderful.
See you next week as I introduce you to the love of my life.
This lady changed my life. I hope she knows that.
After a year of counseling, it was one session in particular that paved the way for me. It was toward the end of that year. She told me she had had a previous relationship with a woman. This gets us into another topic that I'll discuss in my next post, but let's move on.
You see, I was not out yet. Like gay out. I wasn't out to the world, just a few peeps. Her willingness to share a private time in her life gave me hope. After that session I went back home, ran for an hour down some country roads, and met a deer.
This may seem strange to you, but nature resonates with me. I connect with it. You could say it’s my religion. It guides me. Seeing that deer run across the road, right in front of me, was another sign of hope. I felt a sudden energy I’d never felt before. It has never repeated itself, and I’m okay if it never does because I feel it was only meant for that moment. I smiled. I felt a release of...doom and failure. It may not seem like the most miraculous thing to you, but I literally sprinted all the way home. It was over a mile that I sustained a sprinting pace. Things seemed to be heading in the right direction. I felt magnificent.
They say it gets worse before it gets better. My life in general has been full of incredible moments. I'm not forgetting those. In terms of my mental illness however, it would be nine years later that I'd feel magnificent again.
Stay tuned for next week as I rant and rave about unfortunate labels and assumptions.
After failing to escape my depression and anxiety, I felt hopeless. I knew that driving away from it wasn’t going to solve the problem. I made it bigger. Keep in mind that I can say this now, nine years later, because I’ve learned how to take better care of myself. However, the priority then was running away.
I spent a lot of time in a false-thinking mode. It followed me everywhere! I could not kick it no matter what I did. Eventually I was spending a lot of time sleeping, as I quickly became severely depressed. After witnessing my down spiral, a dear friend sat me down and suggested I get help. She even went with me to my first appointment. I was so relieved and grateful. Her kindness and compassion were the driving factors to me getting help. I would’ve continued to just sit in the mud. I couldn’t figure out what I needed to do. Thank God she was there.
I started seeing a psychologist for the first time in my life and that continued for a year. After quitting my job at Notre Dame and still being welcomed back, I took a medical leave of absence. I spent several months out of work and was well taken care of by the University. Still, many of my former colleagues never knew what I was going through. I took a lot of slack for not being at work. I was regarded as being lazy and noncommittal. I always heard people saying things under their breath. That was so hard for me. It was the first time in my life that others made me feel so worthless. I was close to a few of them and they never lost confidence in me. They are still in my life.
In addition to the psychologist, I also got a dog. Everyone in my life knows Sophie. You guys sure have shown her lots of love over the years and for that I am so grateful. She was the reason I got out of bed that year. You’d think having a dog, especially a puppy, would be the last thing I’d need, but it was the one thing I was able to take care of. Even as I continue living with depression and anxiety my dogs are a saving grace. During my first year of therapy, I was in some very dark places. Sophie literally saved my life.
She is nine years old now and continues to provide comfort to me when I’m going through hard times. My anxiety has already begun preparing me for her last day on Earth. I am not looking forward to that moment, but I will do everything in my power to make sure she knows how much she has impacted my life. I will be there with her through her hard times as well. For now however, Sophie is staying right here by my side.
Stay tuned next week as I share my first and only Aha moment with depression.
I wish I had considered medication much earlier in my mental illness. I was always anti-meds. My views have since changed, though I’m still not always for them. I think there is a real problem with unnecessary prescriptions and over-medicating, but I’ve learned a lot about my needs and particular meds that have worked for me.
Though my college days told me I needed help, it was at the University of Notre Dame that I truly fell apart. It was the Fall of 2009, following the news that I’d landed the job. I had my first severe bout of depression. I fell into a deep hole. It’s like I was walking on this path of greatness and suddenly stepped on a trap, covered in sticks and hay. Down I went.
And that’s one of the many things depression tells you; that things and people are out to get you. That no one is on your side. That you’re doomed. That you’re not good at anything. It gets the best of you. But I know there was no trap set for me. I just felt hopeless. I felt like good things were being taken from me.
Shortly after my first few days of work I wrote an email. In that email I told my boss and the administrative assistant that I couldn’t do the job they hired me to do. I literally quit. I spent a night writing that email. I went back and forth between hitting delete and typing. Once I sent the email my plan was to wake up the next morning and run away. I started to drive across the country to a place that I knew wouldn’t take away my problems. At the time I felt it was the answer. But I was in that deep hole and I was having a hard time climbing out.
I packed up my Pontiac Bonneville with a few items and the only thing that truly mattered to me at the time--my dog Sophie. More about her next week. I left early in the morning, before my roommate got up, and off I went.
Everyone was calling me. People cared. I knew that, but it didn’t matter. I needed to leave my fears behind. My depression was in full force, making many of my decisions. I was ignoring phone calls, speeding, and crying. I would stop to either to get gas or because my tears were preventing me from actually seeing the road. I’d listen to all the voicemails telling me it was okay and that I needed to turn around and talk to someone. My boss emailed me. The administrative assistant emailed me. Despite me quitting my job and running away, I was still wanted.
I didn’t make it past Kansas. I ended up getting pulled over. I was speeding in a construction zone. The police officer could tell I was in distress and leery of my, “I’m going to visit a friend”. That speeding ticket ended up being one of those meant to be things. I decided to turn around.
Stay tuned next week as I introduce you to one special dog, my Labradoodle, Sophie Jane. She truly did save my life.
In my first post I told you I was officially diagnosed with Major Depression in 2009. That is still true, but it really should've happened back in college. I did see a doctor there once. Had I understood the severity of my condition I would’ve gone about that visit a different way.
It was between my junior and senior years. I cannot provide anymore detail in terms of a particular month, but it was around that time. As I remember it, I began having some unusual frustrations. It made the expected, regular routine challenging. I was focused on a lot; classes, soccer, making the dean’s list and athletic honor roll, traveling weekends back home, maintaining friendships, and of course partying. I partied a lot. I remember the wave coming on, feeling scared and anxious. It was building. It was manifesting into something bigger. I just ignored it, or tried to by getting drunk on weekends. We all partied, but I sometimes would take the extra drink or two to get beyond my anxious and depressed self. I was sad. Not sure why, but it would come and go. I just thought I was like everyone else and it would take care of itself.
I was getting ready to student teach and I was not prepared. I mean, I was according to my degree, but I started to imagine myself standing in front of large groups of students. I was feeling overwhelmed with responsibility. I began doubting my abilities to do what I came to college for; to teach. It was my dream job. It was a strange feeling to be giving up on my dream. All I knew was that these feelings of doubt, worthlessness, and anxiety needed to go. I made the decision to change my major to K-12 Non-Licensure in Physical Education. Such a weird degree, but basically I finished with a Health and Human Performance degree.
This decision came after I saw a doctor and spoke with my college advisor. My advisor was great! Actually, we’re friends on Facebook. She’s worldly and has always been a positive role model. She counseled me through my decision and did not make it for me. She reminded me of my talents and was living out her duties as an advisor. I was so thankful I had her at that time. In the end though, my mental health struggles were a priority and I needed to adjust my studies accordingly. It was not an easy decision.
The doctor however, was never my friend. It was after seeing him that I simply would not see any doctor unless I absolutely needed to. My resistance came seconds after being told I should be on medication for depression. This doctor decided to diagnose me without recommending me to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Sure, he ended up being right, but I hated pills. HATED THEM! Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that it was in my medical records to seek alternative methods. I always thought that pills would turn me into someone else. That I'd be put in a place I'd never return from.
I took the pills back to my dorm to appease the doctor. Can you guess what I did with the pills? I flushed those babies right down the toilet. No doctor was going to just hand me a packet of pills without knowing it was THE ONE for me. Telling me I was depressed was one thing. After you learn about psychiatry and the roles of doctors, you begin learning more about prescribing meds and why it matters.
Here in 2018, remembering my predisposition, and exhausting alternative methods, I needed medication. It has helped me be me.
Stay tuned next week for a trip back to my time at the University of Notre Dame. I literally quit my job because I felt like running away was the answer.
In order to fully understand MY mental illness you need to know a bit about my family history. I am going to tell you about my dad. He also battled mental illness. My dad had many struggles in his lifetime and Major Depression was one of them. He also had horrible Anxiety. I'm not a doctor, but when you start combining mental illnesses it gets confusing. Clinically, he was Bipolar or some say Manic-Depressive.
I didn’t understand the severity of his condition until later in life. As a kid I never thought about mental illness. I didn’t have to. Heck, I didn't make the connection until well after college. You know how it goes—we don’t always take seriously, the things that don’t directly affect us. On top of that, my dad’s mental illness was always masked by habitual drug use, to include alcohol and other drugs. He received help countless times in his life and proceeding that was usually a relapse. His addictions kept him away from his kids and the rest of his family.
Now, in my adult life, I’m familiar with mental illness. I’m more educated than I’ve ever been. I know that it kept my dad from being himself. I have a couple memories of my dad from childhood, but the rest, the most important ones, were later in life. That’s just how it worked out.
It wasn’t until I found out he had HIV that I developed a relationship with him. He wanted a second chance because death was knocking on his door.
I never judged my dad. Not once. I never told people that he was a loser or a horrible father. I think it’s because I knew. I knew in my heart that he struggled I just wasn’t sure why. While I say I never understood the severity of his condition, I did know compassion. That would be one piece of advice that I would give others who are trying to understand mental illness. Just have compassion. The rest will come.
My dad began writing letters as a part of his healing. There were many years between the last time I saw my dad and his first letter. Actually, I recently began sorting through them. I have every single letter from him. In his writing, he was the best dad. I looked forward to those letters. I always wrote him back too. He would send pictures of what was going on in his life; photos of his dad, his other kids, and events and activities he participated in. He spent lots of time in a halfway house. A halfway house is a center for helping former drug addicts, prisoners, psychiatric patients, or others to adjust to life in general society. So many of the photos he sent were from his time at these houses.
Eventually he asked if he could see us. When I say us, that includes my sister Katie. You’ll hear from her later. Anyways, we started visiting. The visits were not how many imagine of a father and his daughters. He was embarrassed, ashamed, and unsure of how to act around us. It was mutual at times, but we tried not to show it. We met up at restaurants where he’d say he was thankful he had some cash to treat us to lunch or dinner. He never really had money when he was clean. We’d see him for some holidays where we were often gifted with a religious trinket. I personally was never religious, but I supported his beliefs. He said believing in God helped him to get sober and eventually come to terms with his path in life. He found peace in his mistakes. I couldn't argue with that.
On his road to recovery and in his letters he continued to ask for forgiveness. I forgave him. I forgave him long before he asked for it. I took each moment I spent with him and I cherished the shit out of it. I wanted to learn about his struggles. I felt that it was the only way for me to show him he was loved. He was ill and would soon leave this world.
I did all I could to make him feel like he mattered. In the end, he said it did. The last time I saw my dad's face my sister and I were sitting by his side. He was on oxygen, but basically gone. Not coherent. He would never open his eyes again. We touched his hand. We talked to him. We even laughed a bit. More like giggled. Because we're human. I mean, what do you say?! I think it was very fitting. My dad would've liked to hear us giggle.
At his funeral he wanted the song Wild World played by Cat Stevens. “Oh baby baby it’s a wild world. It’s hard to get by just upon a smile. Oh baby baby it’s a wild world. I’ll always remember you like a child, girl.”
Join me next week as I take you back to my college days.
I was fortunate to have worked at the University of Notre Dame. Never, in a million years did I see myself teaching at such a place. I want to begin my story here because this was a pivotal time in my life coming out of graduate school. It was the start of something wonderful and awful at the same time. Actually, if I’m wanting to be honest with myself, and with you, then the truth is that the awful began back in college. I'll get to that later. It just wasn’t until starting my life at Notre Dame that I acknowledged something was wrong.
I found myself in a position, fresh out of graduate school, to work at one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. Currently, according to U.S. News, it’s ranked 18th. Certainly, in 2009, when I applied for the job, it was a big deal. You have to understand how small the world can be sometimes. I grew up in the southeast corner of Wisconsin; spent some time in Burlington and a lot more time in Kansasville. And no, that is not near Topeka. Most of my family had never been to Notre Dame. There was never any reason to go. We were a small town family mostly cheering for the Green Bay Packers from our living rooms and sports bars.
So yeah, my family was super excited that I landed a job quickly, but it took us all some time to realize what I had just accomplished. But that’s what I love about them. It didn’t matter then how Notre Dame ranked on any scale and it doesn’t matter now. They were simply happy for me.
I didn’t really tout my new job because prestige, while great to some, wasn’t a career goal of mine. To this day, it still is not a career goal. The only career goal that’s mattered was wanting to make a difference, to help people most in need. Little did I know, I was one of those people.
The transition from graduate school to my first professional job in the Fall of 2009 was difficult. I was officially diagnosed with Major Depression. I didn’t care about my job or much else for that matter. I always had, but my mental illness kept me from being me. Do you know how that feels?
I hope that by telling my story people learn more about mental health, specifically depression and anxiety. I will mostly tell my story because, well, I’m the one with a mental illness. I will however, attempt to do the best I can to include perspectives from those close to me. You will hear from my wife, other family, a friend or two, and my current psychiatrist. I’m not the only one suffering here. I believe it is vital to include their experiences if the goal is to educate and raise awareness. We all must be willing to listen and learn.
I have been a lifelong advocate for all things wellness and that includes educating others about mental health. I ask you to please listen and read carefully, repeat parts if you have to. Just have an open mind. I am grateful for your time. Welcome to my story.
In Kindness & Love, Stephanie
See you next week as I rewind a bit and tell you about my dad.
I just want all people to learn and grow together.