As I approach my 50th birthday, some things that seemed to matter a lot when I was younger, matter less. Others more. What people think of me is beginning to matter less. Being genuine and living with integrity more. I want to be more open, which as a classic introvert, is challenging for me.
I am a person with a disability; one of millions with the invisible burden of mental illness. I’m part of the almost 6% of women who suffer from Depression. I’m also part of the approximately 7% of women with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’m a survivor of trauma and experience some features of PTSD.
I have struggled with my mental health as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of severe anxiety. Despite the longstanding nature of my illness, I was able to complete 4 university degrees, raise a wonderful daughter, find an amazing life partner, and be successful in several demanding jobs.
Around 10 years ago, things started to unravel with my health. Physical health issues started to crop up and the interplay of mental and physical illness became too much to manage. I took a short leave, then changed jobs. Later another leave. I now find myself into the 3rd year of a long-term disability leave.
Why am I blogging about this? People with mental illness experience a great deal of prejudice and it is important for sufferers to speak out (if they feel able) and try to change the perceptions of this common illness.
Stay tuned. I’ll be writing more about this part of my life. In the meantime, read my sister’s guest post: Guest Blog: My Sister’s Depression Story