May is Mental Health Awareness Month

While I have been writing a blog post every quarter for the past couple of years, I thought it was important to recognize the month of May as Mental Health Awareness month.  Melissa Metzger, a student at UCF,  has agreed to share her story on her struggles and triumphs in managing her own mental health issues.  Join me as we make efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness.  Make a pledge on NAMI’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website to be stigma free—–#CureStigma.  (NAMI.org)  Thank you Melissa for your open heart and your willingness to share your personal story.—Linda Cook

By:  Melissa Metzger-May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

I was touched to be asked by Mrs. Linda Cook to share my story as a guest blogger. Reflecting on the past year of my life, I believe that everything we go through has a purpose. My hope is that by sharing this I can help someone. My aunt, Megan Metzger has truly inspired me by sharing her story and helping me through this.

Mental health is important to discuss. Unlike a broken leg or bruise on the body, it is hard to see if someone is struggling mentally. From looking at this picture you would never know that I’ve just lived the hardest year of my life. I have been battling severe depression and anxiety. I have struggled with suicide attempts and cutting along with panic attacks. There were many days where I didn’t get out of bed or eat. Much of my time these past months have been spent at therapy, doctor appointments, and even mental hospitals trying to get healthy.

I am incredibly blessed to have made it through this. I have family and friends who have literally saved my life. I take medicine daily and I go to therapy every week. My dad calls me every day to check on me and I have extra love from my emotional support dog. Despite these obstacles, I am still on track to graduate college this coming fall. I will never take being happy or healthy for granted. I am a stronger and better person because of what I have been through. I don’t mind talking about my mental health. I had no idea how to get help or cope with my feelings. This is such a big part of my life and talking about it doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable. Silence does nothing.

So, what could someone who is struggling learn from me? It’s okay to not be okay. It’s alright to ask for help. Sometimes when you are in a really dark place you have to celebrate the small things. If you showered today-that’s awesome! If you ate a full meal- great! Because some days on the journey to getting healthy you won’t be able to celebrate these simple life tasks. It’s HARD. You need people in your life that will check in on you. Find someone to text or call you everyday. One of the most challenging things is getting out of bed when fighting depression. Go for a walk, browse around Target, go meet a friend for dinner, and always open the blinds! God works all things for the GOOD. You can get help and you will make it through this. Please reach out if you have questions about my journey, can relate to this, or most importantly if you need help.

Melissa Metzger