I thought I had it all figured out.
I had a job as a nurse, a home, and a home health aide.
My kids were in the process of graduating from high school.
I lived in a modest three-bedroom home, had plenty of spare cash, and could afford a mortgage.
I worked hard to get ahead.
But then I started experiencing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
I started to feel as if I was losing my grip on reality.
I felt trapped in a perpetual cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors, but the only way out was to take a step back and think about what I was feeling.
My thoughts, feelings, and actions had become a constant reminder of the negative experiences I had faced.
I realized that, if I tried to change them, they would only worsen.
In fact, they’d become more harmful and difficult to change.
I was struggling with anxiety and depression because I was so consumed by negative emotions.
As I became more aware of what was going on, I realized the only real way to help myself was to think about the problem from the perspective of someone who has the disease.
That’s how I was able to identify the underlying causes of my problems.
I learned how to recognize symptoms and how to address them.
I started writing about my mental health problems.
The stories I shared helped me learn more and find answers.
By the end of my first year of college, I was a licensed clinical social worker, a position that allowed me to specialize in treating mental health conditions.
I became an expert witness in courtrooms and on the front lines of mental health and substance abuse issues.
But it wasn’t enough to change my life.
I still had a lot of work to do.
It took me two years to get my first job as an outpatient clinical social work assistant.
I began working at a mental health center as a social worker and an advocate for people with mental health issues.
I spent three years in a clinical position at the hospital, as well as working in other mental health facilities across the country.
As the social worker for people who have mental health disorders, I also helped with the care of people with addiction and substance use disorders.
I’ve had some amazing patients.
But I’m still struggling with my own mental health challenges.
It’s time for me to go back to school.
So far, I’m enjoying my new career.
I’m also looking forward to starting my new job with a new clientele, as a professional advocate for mental health care and services.
I have been working with a number of clients, including my own children, who have suffered from PTSD and anxiety.
I hope that my experience in this job will help them navigate their mental health recovery and ultimately help them thrive in their new lives.
The challenges facing those with psychiatric disorders are many and varied.
Some people experience intense anxiety and depressive episodes, but others may experience a range of problems that go beyond anxiety.
It can be hard to pinpoint the root causes of the illness.
And, as with any illness, there is a spectrum of symptoms and treatment options.
But with a mental illness, it’s not enough to just accept the illness, stop worrying, and start living a normal life.
This job gives me a chance to be honest about the challenges that my life is now facing.
My goal is to help other people with psychiatric conditions to feel comfortable talking about and seeking help.