My mental health journey began as a young girl, although I didn't realize how much I was struggling and having mental health issues until I was 18-years-old.
During my senior year of high school, I was isolating myself from activities that I loved, and I was abusing substances to stay afloat. I was having daily panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and extreme depression. I was a young adult full of fear, shame, guilt and sadness, and to this day, it remains the darkest and scariest period of my life. I had no idea what to do, and my intrusive thoughts convinced me that I would never get over these dark feelings.
It all kind of came into perspective when I got into a car accident while driving on my prescription medication. After the accident, I felt as though I was at my breaking point. I was determined to act on those suicidal thoughts, but luckily enough I found strength to ask my family for help. From there it was a wake up call not for only me, but for my family as well.
That's when I became a patient at The Menninger Clinic, where I was diagnosed with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and borderline personality disorder.
While I was only at Menninger for three months, I learned lifelong coping skills and tools. This was the first time in my life that I felt that I could take a breather and focus on how I really felt.
Going into a psychiatric hospital was nerve racking, especially in 2014 when social media was not as prevalent as it is today. I had no idea what to expect, and I was nervous that my peers were going to find out why I was no longer at school. I was extremely nervous and embarrassed at the time to admit how I was feeling. I was also not fully allowing myself to feel my emotions and process them.
Upon arrival at Menninger I instantly felt a sense of peace and knew that I truly needed to be there. I embraced my fellow peers and the kind staff and took my treatment very seriously.
The doctors and nurses at Menninger helped me understand why I was feeling the way I was, and made sure I was comfortable during my whole treatment process. The staff took the time to listen to me and come up with a treatment plan that was unique to me, which I really appreciated. My family was also educated on my mental illness, and Menninger gave them the tools they needed to be able to support me in the best way possible.
Today, I am still using the coping skills I learned at Menninger, such as journaling my feelings, working out to boost my serotonin, meditating, going to therapy and joining local support groups. I am still in communication with some of my peers who were in treatment with me, and I am truly so blessed that I was able to seek treatment with The Menninger Clinic.
I now have my own social media marketing firm, and am Miss Houston International 2022. I am an avid mental health advocate and take pride in helping others seek treatment when they are at rock bottom.
The biggest lesson that Menninger helped me realize is that it is never too late to seek help. No matter how bad the situation may seem, there is always a place to go and be heard. Without The Menninger Clinic, I might not be sitting here writing this, and I am so grateful for my time there and the treatment I received.
Yes, I still deal with intrusive thoughts, anxiety and depression from time to time, but with the tools I learned at Menninger, I now know how to prevent them from overwhelming me.
Recovery is always possible, and even though it might seem that you will never feel better, going to a place like Menninger will give you time to heal, understand your feelings and learn positive coping mechanisms that will make a difference in your life.
I have been in recovery for eight years now, and I have The Menninger Clinic to thank for it. Without my treatment there, I would not have been able to achieve my wildest dreams, and I wake up every single day proud of the person I see when I look in the mirror.