Welcome to the MEIND community. At MEIND, our mission is to help mend minds
through stories for mental health, and we love that you are here. I started
mending my mental health issues a few years ago, which is why I'm so
passionate about mental health and sharing MEIND.

My story began when I was a young child. I did not understand or acknowledge
its impact on my mental health until I experienced a volcano of emotions in high
school. I had always asked myself the same questions over and over from a
young age. Why did I feel so sad? What were the uncomfortable feelings in my
body? Were these feelings normal? Other people looked so much happier,
what was wrong with me? Is there a way to feel better? Perhaps you have
experienced these questions or feelings yourself.

By the time I was a teenager, I wanted to understand my feelings and seek
answers to my questions. I started withdrawing from usual activities and sought
out my high school counselor, where I had my first therapy experience. My
counselor became a support system and helped me navigate the lava flow of
my emotions throughout high school. And I left high school excited about my
first year of college and hopeful that I would find joy and happiness in a new
environment. However, after a series of tragic events, that dream quickly died,
and I sought out my first licensed therapist. That weekly visit with my therapist
allowed me to open up and be honest about the traumas I had experienced. I
started feeling better, the more I told my story. The act of another person
holding space for my pain felt sacred. I was heard. I was seen. I began to
understand the power within my own self-reflection.

Becoming lost on a career path after college, I was interested in earning a
master's degree in counseling. However, I worried that it would not be possible
because I had always struggled tremendously with learning. I didn’t believe it
was possible. Still, I enrolled to start my Master of Arts in counseling and was able
to graduate. Despite my learning issues, I believe that my mental health passion

allowed me to complete the program despite an undiagnosed learning

My life shifted in my thirties, and mental health felt manageable after marriage
and the birth of my two children. Becoming a mom was the happiest moment in
my life, and I was able to store my past traumas in a junk closet I never wanted
to open. For the first time, my mental health seemed manageable--until 2016,
the year of the divorce. For a woman who had felt I had everything under
control, including my mental health, I was shocked by what my life became
after getting a divorce. I never imagined that the volcano that had been
dormant for so long would again become an unstoppable lava flow. I didn't
know where to turn or what to do. I couldn't handle the loss, grief, pain, shame,
and past traumas that came to haunt me. I was living in a nightmare, and I
could not escape. The only reason I survived was because of the absolute love
and admiration I had for my children.

That's when my social drinking took a downturn. I hit bottom. Finally, my faith
showed me the way out. I realized that God had been whispering to my soul for
quite some time. "Once you stop drinking, your life will begin." And it did--on
November 5th, 2018.

The day I chose sobriety was the day I started waking up and truly learning
about myself and my experience during the last two years. Self-awareness
became a great gift. The past's unfairness unfolded into a blessing and a
signpost that led me to my real purpose. I can now offer the world love and
healing because I am learning to love and heal myself. I am inspired to share
my struggles with drinking, trauma, trauma treatment, a learning disability
diagnosed at age forty-one, and finally, finding out at forty-three that I have
Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. I hope that if
I open up about my mental health challenges and share my story, I can help at
least one person. The people I am interviewing for MEIND, if willing and able,
can pay it forward and help one more person; I believe that by mending minds

through stories, we can inspire others and create a new path and freedom for
our mental health.