Essays on Mental Illness. Today’s story is from a courageous young woman who discovered that perseverance was essential in her recovery. She was blessed with a strong family support system. I know this is not true for many folks. But, support is available. It is important to find people who understand your situation, can offer you encouragement, and help you be accountable for your well-being. I have some resources listed after Beth’s story that may be helpful. I challenge you to find place to build healthy relationships and be encouraged. Beth mentions her dogs as another source of comfort. My pets have always given me joy, too. I know you will be inspired by Beth’s story of perseverance through pain. Caroline

Perseverance: A Way of Life

by Beth

“Perseverance was never really a choice for me. ‘Giving up’ was never an option.”

I didn’t realize my depression and social anxiety were such a problem until I experienced a series of traumatic events. Persevering through pain was a necessary part of my life.

I first recognized my depression in about 8th or 9th grade after an especially heart-breaking year. My grandmother died and my parents divorced around the same time. I was sad all the time and uninterested in activities of life. Although I confided in a friend, I did not initially seek medical help.

As an adult, I began to have problems at work. We had a student that was misplaced and because of it suffered extreme behavior problems, to the point of physical altercations. The other staff wanted to be oblivious and, when things finally got too bad to ignore, the student became a problem they dealt with by blaming me and isolating me continually.

In the beginning days of these problems I would drink more at night, always with dinner. That was my rational. It could be 3-4 glasses of wine. I never considered myself having a problem with drinking, and I didn’t want to go down that road and add to my other problems.

I decided it was time to talk to my mom. I began seeing a counselor off and on but was not really engrossed in the therapy. I went through a period where I ate very little and filled myself with either coffee to stop cravings or just went hungry.

My problems escalated to the point that I eventually left work and went on disability. After that, I became more regular with taking medicine and attending therapy sessions.

Part of perseverance is hope too, hoping that if you keep pushing on enough that there is hope for better ahead.

I am on medication every day and am in therapy. Therapy sessions vary in times per month. In the beginning, it was once a week. Now I go from every two weeks to 3-4 weeks between. The plan is working so far. It has been the better course of action than before. The medications are different from when I started and I have gone through many changes. I like where I am now.

Importance of Finding Support: People and Pets

I have a great family that is loving and supportive. They wanted me around in their lives. No matter how horrible I may have felt, knowing they loved me made me push forward. My mom and her parents were really my rock, they were my everything (her parents have passed). They made me feel and let me know that I was their world. I didn’t want to give that up.

Mom has been and always will be my best friend and biggest support Then, before Papi (my mom’s dad) died, mom met a guy she eventually married. He also fit into the family role of dad and demonstrated his love for me. My dad (stepdad) loves me like a daughter and openly calls me his daughter. My sister is older and we are best friends.

My dogs are my lifelines at home, too. Unconditional love from my family, and my dogs, help push me a lot harder, and want to be a better person.

Support Resources – Find the encouragement you need to persevere

Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) – search local yellow pages or contact mental health facilities to find assistance in your area. The link provided is to the government site giving basic information on services offered by a CMHC.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – support groups, programs, resources

Alcoholics Anonymous – alcohol addiction recovery program

Narcotics Anonymous – drug addiction recovery program

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