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Katie’s Story

“Treat yourself with respect & don’t ever put yourself down.”

Share your stigma experience.

I have hated myself growing up and punished myself for the guilt and shame that my family instilled in me. They silenced me from ever speaking about my trauma, which led me to develop PTSD. I always had a mask of happiness and separated my home life from my school/work life, pretending everything was okay, seldom having friends over or often escaping to other friends’ homes in grade school. Schools just looked at me like I was a troubled kid and never offered any support. I started coping using substances in my teens, and they led me down a darker path. My adulthood was filled with partying in an effort to forget, but avoidance was part of the problem. I graduated from college with a psychology degree, but my mental illness kept me from obtaining gainful employment as well as kept me from going to grad school. I tried fixing the “problem” myself by exercising, but I overdid it in an effort to stay afloat; that only caused me to have physical injuries and made my depression worse. I have been raped and sexual assaulted several times. Once I had many suicidal plans and have attempted many times, I decided to seek help. I had to let go of friends and family who were toxic, who took advantage of my kindness, and those who didn’t understand and only added negativity to my life.

How did you overcome this experience?

I started making psychology work for me & tried to think positively. I knew treating my mental illness was effective only with therapy AND medication. I could not do one without the other and hope for results. It took time to find the right therapist, psychiatrist, & medications, but it was worth it. EMDR therapy helped with the trauma & seeing a psychiatrist helped me find medications that helped me deal with the symptoms of trauma. Together, I became less anxious, more positive, more social and I had the energy I needed to get out of bed each morning.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

Invest in your happiness regardless of what people say. Treat yourself with respect & don’t ever put yourself down. Find professional help and take medications. It may take time to find the right therapist, psychiatrist, & meds (even the right friends & support group), but happiness is worth it.

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