I didn't know my grandmother, and I was robbed of years with my aunt, but have felt their pain.
I know what it's like to…
…feel as if getting out of bed is a truly insurmountable task.
…stand in front of the mirror wishing I had some outward sign of physical injury so the world would know I was hurting.
…feel the walls slowly creeping toward each other until they're so close they begin to smother me and each breath gets harder and harder to find.
…be in a room full of friends and family and feel completely isolated…so disconnected that it's as if I'm watching myself in a movie.
…have so many thoughts racing inside my head at once that the noise is deafening.
…go days without sleep because my mind can't rest.
…be incapable of moving, incapable of standing up, incapable of getting in the car and driving home because my anxious heart is beating so hard, it has rendered me immobile.
…feel guiltily and shameful for not being able to talk myself into being happy, to quell the racing thoughts, to overcome my fears.
…be angry that someone would mistake my withdrawal or insecurities for being self-centered or aloof.
…wonder how I could be screaming for help, yet not heard or, worse yet, not believed.
I am the face of mental illness.
I am the face of depression.
I am the face of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
I am the face of anxiety.
Suicide is not an option.
I know that all the symptoms and feelings I've described can be overcome. Everyone is different, but for me the winning trifecta was, and still is, my faith in the Lord and intense professional therapy combined with medication.
Mental illness is real. It is as real as heart disease, diabetes and every other physical illness that cannot be seen to be present. I know you can live with mental illness. In fact, I know you can do more than just live with mental illness. You can thrive. You can live a full life in which you can realize your dreams.
I know because I'm doing it.
If you or someone you love is feeling or showing signs of anxiety or depression or feeling suicidal, please don't ignore it. You are not alone and help is available and The Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas is a great place to star.
The Suicide and Crisis Center
The Suicide and Crisis Center (SCC) of North Texas was established in 1968 by a group of concerned mental health professionals and members of the business community.
The Center's Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day throughout the year to help those in crisis, especially suicidal crisis, find hope for the future. (214--828-1000 or 1-800-273-8255). The SCC also offers programs such as:
Survivors of Suicide
An 8-week grief support group led by trained volunteers, Survivors of Suicide (SOS) helps people who have lost someone to suicide share their grief.
Aftermath of Suicide Specially-trained teams are available to meet with groups, such schools and businesses, who are suffering in the aftermath of suicide.
Teens Can Survive
The SCC offers mental health screenings for teens as well as suicide awareness and crisis planning for schools.
In-Service Training SCC's professional staff regularly provides consultation and in-service seminars for school officials, hospital staff, police offers and other professionals.
Speaker's Bureau Trained speakers experienced in suicide prevention and crisis intervention are available through the SCC for presentations.
Fashion Stars For A Cause
Fashion Stars For A Cause. "Fashion"able, attractive women may be the means of garnering attention. But, the "cause" is quite literally the difference between life and death.
Each year, a group of individuals who have been affected by suicide are selected to serve as Fashion Stars For A Cause. Their mission is to raise awareness and funds for the SCC.
Hero Photography Credit: Danny Campbell Photography