Please welcome Lisa to the blog. Lisa is the true definition of a survivor. We are so grateful that she is sharing her testimony of how seeking treatment has helped improve her mental health while still reminding us that surviving trauma is an ongoing process. And we want to wish her a Happy Teacher’s Appreciation week while we are at it!

If you or anyone you know is battling depression or contemplating suicide, there is help: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline .

“Hello, gorgeous!”

How easy that is to say to others but not to myself. I am, if
nothing else, a product of my youth. Raised in an upper middle class yet highly
dysfunctional family has left its mark. Not only was I raised in this household but
I went from home to marriage – another dysfunctional relationship. HOW did I

I have to tell you, I often ask myself the same question. But the bottom line is, I
am strong…capable…brave. How else could someone survive incest, suicide,
alcoholism, mental health and abandonment issues?

So why am I writing if I am so strong, capable and brave? Because all of this did
not come without a price. You see, I suffer from anxiety and depression.
Although it surfaced throughout my life (from the time I was small), I did not seek
help until I was 53 years old. That help came in the form of an antidepressant and
anti-anxiety medication along with counseling. Despite all of this, I still continue
to have my “issues”.

Recently, I retired after a second mental health crisis from work. As a teacher, it
has become all too apparent that we have gone from the classroom to the
expectation that we are to be counselors, social workers, and psychologists along
with our day-to-day job. Frankly, for someone who already suffers from anxiety
when pushed to the max, it became too much. This was the second time in three
years that I became so overwhelmed, I found myself unable to tackle the tasks at
hand. It wasn’t fair to me or my students. And so, I retired.

Do I feel better? Well, after adding a second anti-depressant…somewhat. I still
wake up every morning with a sense of dread and unease in my stomach.
However, after taking my medications, I find that I feel better. Is this my new
normal? Quite possibly. Or maybe I need more time to adjust to my new status.
Either way, I know that I am in the process of recovering. And so, I rest, read and
think of new possibilities for a career. At 62, it’s hard to think of starting over but
that is where I am. No fault of my own but of a system that pushes its workers to
the brink of insanity; couple that with my past, and you have the perfect storm.
As we age, we get depressed. That is a fact. We see our past and future so clearly
that it muddles the mind.

Yet, this is a blog of hope because I don’t give up. I
fight. Why? Because I am strong… and capable… and brave.

**Love Will Voices is a blog series featuring those who are or who have struggled with mental health. It is meant to bring awareness, understanding and support. If you would like to share your story with us, please click here.

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