Jenna

When the Mental Health Champion Challenge was first introduced by BC2M, I promptly put it in the “Does Not Apply To Me” file. It’s not that I’ve been completely deprived of support – it’s just generally of the arm’s-length variety. It doesn’t help that I fiercely guard my independence and privacy. Asking for help is really not my thing.

This seemingly sad situation actually led to an empowering epiphany. Not that I have a special gift for alliteration (which I apparently do), but that… are you ready for it…

I AM MY OWN CHAMPION.

There. The Challenge now applies to me! And I think I’ve been a rather good Champion. No, I’ve been an excellent Champion.

When I hit the lowest point of my depression five years ago, I stopped functioning. I lost my job, barely ate, saw no one, and rarely left my couch. I was broken and didn’t feel I had the right to be repaired. Somehow I was able to come to the conclusion that the care I had been receiving until that point was simply inadequate and the only way it was going to improve was if I reached out and initiated change.

I found a new clinic to attend, where I was listened to and really helped for the first time. I was tested for a definitive diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I set aside my pride to apply for Social Security Disability, knowing that it would buy me time to get the treatment I needed to be whole again.

I’ve now completed a year of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and continue to see a therapist I highly value. I’m taking the appropriate medication for my needs. I don’t sleep on the couch anymore – except maybe on Sunday afternoons. I eat (mostly) healthy meals. I handle household chores and run errands. I can even keep my anxiety down while driving on the freeway!

Clearly, I’ve had little champions assisting along the way – my family, a very close friend, a dedicated therapy team. I just never anticipated that I would be my most important Champion. Even if you don’t feel you “deserve” it right now, be your own greatest Champion. The love and appreciation you’ll feel for yourself is just around the corner.

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