Meeting your Neighbor (& Their Mental Illness)
I decided to start this blog three and a half months ago as a way to relate to people experiencing similar situations to my own, and to create an outlet for myself at a very dynamic and unprecedented time in my life.
For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled with anxiety, typically manifesting in the form of tics and obsessive compulsive behavior. I've had classmates ask me if I have Tourette's, I've called in sick to work because I no longer felt in control of my body, and I've spent five continuous hours readjusting a magnet on my fridge because it just did not line up with the others. I've spent my entire life learning new ways to cope with my anxiety and keeping abreast on the latest mental health news and developments. While my mental health has affected my life every single day, I've learned to manage it in the most healthy and effective ways. I have never considered it fully debilitating, and I have been fortunate enough that it has not caused me to live my life at a caliber less than desired.
This was not the case for my fiance, Jesse, nine months ago. Around July 2016, he began to feel a little less like himself. He had suffered from depression years before and thought this was a similar situation. Two months later, he was admitted to a psychiatric institution where he remained for 81 days. After several medication trials, endless rounds of therapy and eight sessions of electroconvulsive therapy, he was ready to come home. Jesse was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder. Since then, our lives have changed drastically. My understanding and involvement in mental health has increased substantially and every day is an open discussion in our home about coping skills, honest communication, support systems, mindfulness, encouragement and positivity.
While our lives are considerably better than they were one year ago, every day is new and challenging in it's own way. Fortunately, Jesse and I are both open about our mental health struggles and are always working hard to improve our relationship with ourselves and each other. However, there are millions of individuals living with mental illnesses all over the world who are ashamed, afraid, confused and misunderstood, causing their mental state to decline rapidly.
Because of the events that have transpired over the past year of my life, I have been inspired to conduct a series of interviews on my blog during the month of August. Each week I will post an interview with a courageous individual who has agreed to open up their lives to us in support of mental health awareness. These interviews will feature four incredible young adults living four very different lives, each with their own challenges and rewards:
Na Eun "Jiggy" Yoon
Stay tuned for my first interview with Jiggy on August 7th!