My name is Tisha. I am 32 years old. I had been diagnosed 4 years ago with anxiety and depression. Through the years, I have realized that in sharing my experience there are a lot of people that also live with this mental health condition. I became encouraged to take a different approach to handling my mental state. I had enough after hearing about multiple suicides within the last couple of years of people who are my age or younger! I wanted to do more and become active in the community to help gain awareness that you are not alone and that there is always someone that wants to listen and support you through all that you experience.
I never had an understanding of mental illness. Growing up I was not aware of anyone publically living and dealing with this condition. One day, my dad and mom told my brother that we all needed to have a family meeting. We got together that evening. In tears, my mom had shared with my brother and I that she had been diagnosed with mild depression and anxiety. Being a teen and not having experience with someone who has anxiety and depression, I wasn’t sure what the big deal was. When my mom would have her “moments,” I would tell her that it’s all in your head. “Just change your mindset, mom!” I would tell her constantly. Now, looking back, I wish I would’ve had a better understanding of what I could’ve done to be a better support system for her.
I have two kids. My daughter is 3.5 years old and my son is 11 months old. My pregnancy with my daughter was fantastic. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed being pregnant! After my daughter was born I questioned my purpose in life. Which made me feel worse because I just had my first baby. I should’ve been beyond excited! I started going through drastic mood changes and becoming very unhappy and taking it out on my husband. My husband didn’t say anything or that he noticed anything different. This was our first child and as far as we knew we thought this was “normal.” There were nights where he would have to work late into the evening. I would call him in tears screaming for help because I didn’t think I could take care of my daughter by myself. After a couple of months, I thought to myself that something just isn’t right. I didn’t feel like myself. I am usually an outgoing, energetic and confident person.
Like most people, I started to google my symptoms. I read a lot about postpartum depression, anxiety and all that goes along with mental illness. I made an appointment to see my doctor who then referred me to an endocrinologist. They had me complete a form and asked me many questions. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders answering the questions out loud but most importantly, truthfully.
I am currently on Sertraline (anti-depressant). I had told myself prior to being diagnosed that I would not be “that person” that takes medication to feel “normal.” But, at this point, it was worth a shot. I have been on this medication since, and I haven’t felt more like myself. Possibly, even a better version of myself!
I’ve become more knowledgeable and now understand that it wasn’t “all in my head.” And that there are other factors that contribute to anxiety and depression. Your mind and body are so fascinating! To think I am able to create a life within me is astounding! But sometimes, there are things out of our control. The good thing is that there are people who want to help. I am so thankful that through this transition into this unfamiliar lifestyle that I had a husband and so many other supporters along the way that I am no longer scared to share my story. But the most influential aspect is that I gained comfort knowing that I don’t have to feel alone. We are not alone.