My name is Helen Jamieson, and this is my story:
I would’ve never considered before share my mental illness to the public. It took me 20 years to share my physical pain and handicap.
At 15 years old, I was diagnosed with an incurable virus infection in my spinal cord that left me paralyzed from the waist down. However, I was considered a miracle because I was able to regain enough mobility to walk again. Despite this, my left leg never gained normal mobility and until this day, I still cannot feel temperature or sensation the way “normal” people do.
Depression, for anyone that has nerve damage, occurs more frequently because it directly affects the brain. Due to this, I believed that I would not be given me the same opportunities as everyone else, especially in the fast paced business management industry. Being a Chinese woman was already hard enough. Imagine if I had talked openly about my physical and my mental illness? I probably wouldn’t have had all the promotions I earned, nor achieved my senior executive roles.
So, it is my wish and prayer that as we enter into a new generation, we can discuss mental illnesses and how we shouldn’t be defined or labeled for what we are diagnosed with. We need to let others know that people with mental illnesses can live a successful life, and that it’s OK to seek therapy and take medications.
Everyone is going to face depression at some point in their lives; however, the main difference between mentally healthy people versus people diagnosed with a mental illness is that mentally ill individuals can’t just make it go away. It’s an illness that we have to battle through diet, exercise and medication, continuously.
There is still a lot of stigma…
…about what mental illness truly is, and this is something I don’t understand. Current generations have the most readily available information right in front of them. We have Google search! You can just type in any type of mental illness and read about how we can be supportive to those that are struggling, how we could listen and not say hurtful things.
Every person experiences mental illness differently.
Just when I think I have it under control, I enter into a new season in my life that includes menopausal mood swings that exacerbates my generalized and seasonal anxiety disorder, and existing mild depression.
My depression cycle initiates like a giant wave that comes out of nowhere and hits me in the head and brain. It leaves me feeling numbed and paralyzed. It is so intense! It’s worse than my physical paralysis of my handicapped legs. The mental pain I experience is worse than my physical pain. I can’t move! I feel trapped and without energy. My mental illness doesn’t let me eat anything. It feels like this dark cloud or fog that covers my head and my brain, and it follows me everywhere. My mental illness feels like a boomerang. No matter how hard I try to focus on positive things, somehow my positive thoughts leave and the negative thoughts come hard and strong to take place in my mind. For me, mental illness, is one of the hardest things I have to continue to face in this life journey.
I am blessed.
I am blessed to have Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, for He has given me peace and hope; but like any other pain or any illness that affects our body, I cannot be healed overnight… or perhaps I may never be healed. Whatever God has in store for me, I know that He won’t give me what I cannot handle. Even though, my darkest days make me feel like giving up and leaving the fight.
Having depression does not mean we “lack faith”! It’s not up to us to heal ourselves. Those who have faith in Christ, know and believe that it is God’s will and perfect timing the true deciding factor of our healing. If I could have the faith to heal myself, I will be out on the streets for sure trying to heal every person walking by! We are unperfect human beings that desire to be loved and respected, and long to have a purpose that channels motivate us to contribute to our society while also being recognized for our efforts.
Thank you, God!
I thank God for social media – for giving us a voice to share our inner challenges so that anyone reading out there knows that they are not alone. I thank God for blessing me with these challenges, as they made me a better, empathetic person, and for my struggles, as they allow me to help others. Of course I want to be healed but God knows better.
Surround yourself with those who will give you the breathing space you need and are close enough to catch you when the “dark fog” lifts.
God bless you,
Helen CD Jamieson
Author of Hidden Masks Unveiled
IG: Helen CD Jamieson (@helencdjamieson)
FB: Hosanna House Canada
YouTube: Helen CD Jamieson
Helen CD Jamieson’s Blog: www.hosannahouse.ca