Stop the Silence
By Jessica Taylor
Do you or anyone you know struggle with a mental illness? According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness Organization, one in five adults or roughly 600,000 Iowans live with some form of mental illness. About 37,000 grapple with serious mental illness daily*. So most likely you or someone you know has a mental illness, though they may or may not know it.
I was one of these people. For several years, I battled with mental illness not knowing what was wrong and feeling ashamed for feeling depressed when I had no reason to be. During my low periods, I felt hopeless, helpless, and the simplest tasks, such as brushing my teeth or showering, felt like running a marathon. Few people knew of my struggles and symptoms, as I was embarrassed and afraid of judgement. I didn’t know or understand what was wrong with me; how could anyone else understand? For these reasons, I kept everyone at a distance and kept those struggles to myself.
However, through my silence, my symptoms continued to worsen. I finally realized that my symptoms were out of my control. Therefore, I reached out for help and found the support I needed from doctors, family, friends, and support groups. My battle with mental illness was not easy and took several years for me to find a trusted doctor, the correct diagnosis, and the right medication. Due to being misdiagnosed and on several medication changes, I had very bad side-effects and a sever loss of hope that burdened everyone around me. However, by breaking my silence about my mental illness, I was able to get the help and the support I needed to recover in more ways than I ever could imagine.
Even though my battle with mental illness was the hardest thing I had ever gone through, I found purpose in my experience. I have been able to help others that are fighting the same issues and need hope that recovery is possible. Therefore, I urge you if you are dealing with a mental illness or know someone who is, please don’t give up, stop the silence, and reach out for help. The road to recovery from mental illness is not easy, but you will be able to help so many people including yourself through your journey.
Jessica Taylor | Senior Accountant