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here is Sophia a mental health advocate

My Mental Health Journey

2021 was the worst year of my life.  The pandemic still had us reeling, my dad got sick and passed away, my mom was having chemo treatments for stage 4 small cell lung cancer, and I had a nervous breakdown.

Breathe

That August at the beginning of the school year my principal asked us to pick a rock and decorate it with an encouraging word for ourselves for the year. My word was “breathe”. I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember and my first line of defense is breathing. There was a lot going on personally and professionally and I needed that word to remind me to take moments and breathe.

As the school year started I felt my anxiety getting out of control. I was being a mom, daughter/caretaker, wife, and teacher and at the same time grieving my dad and trying to process the relationship that we had. There was no work-life balance (we can talk about that myth later). Teaching was all-consuming. At school, it was a nonstop swirl of teaching, meetings, more meetings, grading, lesson planning, and worrying about my students. Except for the meetings – all that came home with me.

I keep thinking… and saying “this is unsustainable”. While my kids were at practice I sat in the car lesson planning. I had my grading with me while watching soccer games on the weekends. There was the constant feeling of having something that needed to be done. Fifteen years into teaching and I felt like Sisyphus, pushing that rock up the hill. My family was getting the exhausted leftovers.

My Anxiety and Depression

I knew something was going to give and I knew there was a good chance that it would be me. I have diagnosed anxiety and depression. Thanks to being a military wife I have seen therapists all over the US.  And I also take medication to help control my symptoms. At that point, I had to start taking additional medication. Most days I felt like someone had put a brick on my chest and it was hard to get a deep enough breath. Once again I started seeing a therapist. Then a series of events led to me having a nervous breakdown. I left school in the middle of the school day. That rock that I was pushing just got too heavy and rolled right over me.

I had recently seen this quote “You are totally replaceable at work. You are not replaceable at home. Home is your real life. Keep that perspective always.” It sounds dramatic but I was at a point where I had to save myself for my real life, for my family. After talking to my husband, my doctor, and my therapist I made the decision to stop teaching immediately. Whew, that is still hard for me to say. Years ago when my husband and I got married in December he moved to Arkansas and I stayed in Texas so that I could finish out the school year. I would have never imagined I would do that and knew it would be hard for parents and fellow colleagues to understand my decision. Fodder for therapy for sure!

Mental Health

I am telling this story because it illustrates a defining part of my mental health journey. Leaving teaching was just the start of putting myself back together. I have been in therapy since then, every week for going on three years. I also worked with a psychiatrist to make sure my medications are right. While I was doing the work on my mental health I was also making a commitment to building whatever came next in a way that made time with my family a focus. I decided to start my own business to have control over my time. I learned and tried and worked and pivoted and figured out what I liked doing, was good at, and could do as a service to others to make an income. Mental illness doesn’t have to be an obstacle to success.

The statistics around mental health are really scary. And people don’t feel like they can talk about it without being judged. It is the definition of vulnerability. That is why I feel like it is so important for me to be a mental health advocate and share my story.

  1. I want to be transparent and open because I want anyone to come to me if they need help.
  2. I want to normalize conversations about our mental health.
  3. I want to fight the stigma that says if you struggle with mental health you can’t…

My word for this year is nourish.

 

 

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Chewy and Sophia providing you news and tips for digital marketing.

Hi I’m Sophia!

Chewy and I are on a mission to share digestible bytes of digital marketing information with you. Let’s be real there are no academic papers here. However, there is research. I keep up with the news, trends and useful information about digital marketing. Then I grab Chewy, do a photoshoot, agonize over every word, publish and you get your byte.

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