ShondaVon, 31, Michigan, US

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“I work a full-time job, and on the side, I hustle full-time to ensure that one day I’ll be able to live my life as a writer, a play writer specifically.

I really cannot remember a time when I didn’t battle with anxiety. Both of my parents have mental health challenges. I don’t use my parents as a scapegoat for any mental health challenge(s) I battle, but my mother does have anxiety and depression as well.

My anxiety at times can be pretty bad. Truth is, most people probably don’t know it’s there. That as I’m carrying on a conversation with them, my mind is rambling with what to say next, and my body is feeling these weird sensations over my freaking out over what to say in response to what I’m hearing. It also flares up when I’m at the mall or checking out at the grocery store. Anywhere that involves me interacting with people…that’s pretty much where my anxiety shows up.

Oddly enough, my Bachelor’s is in Theatre (Acting). Funny, how the girl with anxiety grew to be the woman with a strong desire for acting. I became severely depressed in the spring and fall-winter of 2014. The fall-winter season of my depression was the worst. So bad to the point I was waking up crying for no reason. Going to bed crying for no reason. I finally made the decision to go to a crisis center. I just couldn’t deal anymore. I felt absolutely hopeless.

Shortly thereafter, I began seeing a psychiatrist, who based on a survey I completed, felt that I had bipolar disorder. I didn’t receive that. I still don’t. Here’s why medicines prescribed for mental health illnesses and/or disorders bring in big bucks for the pharmaceutical and insurance companies. It is my opinion that you have some doctors who will diagnose you with just about anything just for the sake of cashing in on prescriptions. I even took the medicines he prescribed to me for over a week. (I don’t remember the names of the medicines.) They made me feel worse. Like I was losing my mind. So I decided to let them go. Stopped taking them altogether. And I have not taken them since. I knew my symptoms were not those of someone who had bipolar disorder. I knew this because I did my own research about BD. I did not have highs and lows in 2014, and I don’t have them now. The key to knowing about the different mental health illnesses or disorders that exist is to research them beyond what the doctors tell you.

Since the winter of 2014, my depression has been a lot better. I confronted my emotions which were largely stemming from my compulsion to be a people pleaser…primarily to my mother. I lived with my mother from birth until last year. That’s a long time. For most of that time, I was the relief…the outlet for her emotional stress. Meanwhile, my own problems and emotions were being suppressed because she constantly dumped her emotional stress on me. I did share this with her, and she was not thrilled to hear it, but it gave me great relief to share my feelings with her.

Anxiety…my anxiety is an ongoing battle. There are good days and bad days for me. I am not taking medicines at this time. I pray and seek God for my anxiety. I pray and seek God for my life. My Christian faith has given me all that I need at this point in time to combat what mental health challenge(s) I face. I remain open and honest about where I’m struggling and apply my faith and my trust in God to do the rest. And when I am fully trusting in God…it shows in every aspect of my life. If I ever needed to take medicine for my anxiety again I would.

My husband supports that decision and my Pastor does as well. I think it’s important to have a support system be it a spouse, parent, clergy, or friends who can support your mental health and the road to your recovery. It was very important to me that my husband and I attended a church that didn’t judge those in the mental health community for taking medicines to help them with their illnesses or disorders. And God led us to a great church that does not have a stigma about mental illness and that even offers mental health counseling!

Perhaps you’re not a person of faith. You rely solely on your medicine and your support system to make it through your illness or disorder. That’s fine. Whatever works for you. I have found that in life there’s good and there’s evil and that everyday God blesses me to wake-up I am facing a battle between good and evil. I rely on my Christian faith to help me win the battles of my mind. I don’t see myself as being better than someone who relies on medicine for the battles of his/her mind. Life is about choice. Christ is my choice…my choice towards fighting the ongoing battles of my mind.

If you’d like to learn more about my story feel free to check out my blog at mentalhealthjunkiexl.blogspot ,or you can visit my website at: livearts365






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