Sharing the story of my struggles with mental health was not something I intended to do. In many ways, I am someone who lives out loud. I write monthly travels articles of my adventures, and enjoy posting on social media what my family is up to. When it comes to my health though, I tend to be private.
This desire to remain private about my health was the reason I didn’t talk publicly about my struggles with anxiety and depression for over a decade of my life. Even my closet friends had no idea what I had experienced. I felt like it was a character flaw, and as though I would be judged because of it.
Anxiety was something that had been a part of my life from a very young age. As an adult, I realize my “shyness” as a child was social anxiety. It became a debilitating issue after having each of my children. While I was overjoyed with the gifts of my precious children, my anxiety dramatically increased, which led to depression. When I completely lost my appetite and couldn’t sleep, I knew it was time to get help. I’m fortunate that I was able to find health providers, and to have the support of my family to help me recover from these life altering conditions. Conditions that steal joy from so many people.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life. So with mental health issues being so common, why are we not talking openly about them? For me, I felt like I would be stigmatized. I didn’t want people to think less of me because of my struggles with mental health. But this mindset is what prevents people from seeking the help they so desperately need.
With recent news of several high profile celebrity suicides and local suicides of young adults, I wondered what I could do to help stop this needless loss of life. For me, that was to start telling my story of recovery to give hope to those struggling with mental health issues. By sharing my journey, I could help take away the stigma that prevents many people from seeking the help they so desperately need.
I started by sharing my story locally at a TedTalk tryout, and then I shared it nationally at an American Mothers Inc. Convention. And I will continue to share it as many times as I need to if it can help anyone to find hope when they feel hopeless, or to find the strength they need to get help. May you find peace and joy in your lives my friends!
Emily Brooks, 2018 North Dakota Mother of the Year, is a stay-at-home mom, artist, model, and small business owner from Fargo, ND. Emily created the business Taea Made in 2012 and makes unique personalized home décor and accessory items. She also is a mural artist, who specializes in large-scale pieces. Emily and her husband, Bill, also own Fargo Pinball. Emily is currently involved with several organizations that support families and children. She is a member and past president of the FM Modern Sewing Guild, a member of Olivet Church’s MOPS groups, a member of The Arts Partnership, a member of her state’s Pride of Dakota network, and a member of her local PTO. Read more about Emily here…