This week's story from a mental health warrior is about living with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and is being shared by Corinne DeCost. You can find Corinne on Instagram or on her website. Do you want to share your Mental Health Warrior story - submit your story here
A bit about Corrine - She is a Suffolk University graduate, lead singer of the band Floating Lighthouse, an artist, and a peace-loving hippie. She does part-time web design and social media management. Her current side project is running promotion & media with Multiverse Concert Series. She lives in a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, California with her groom Micah (who recently finished 6 months of chemo!) and her pomchi Smiley Face.
IN CORINNE'S OWN WORDS BELOW:
What mental health challenges to you face? PTSD, anxiety & depression
At what age were you diagnosed? 21
How do your mental health challenges affect your daily life?
Some days, it can be debilitating. PTSD is technically a disability. I'd have panic attacks and be up all night, not wanting to go to sleep. I'll wake up in a deep sweat from a nightmare. I won't want to get out of bed.
In public, I can sometimes become hypervigilant and shaky, checking the faces of every passer-by to make sure that my assailant isn't in my vicinity. When I'm in a depressive slump, I won't want to take care of myself. It is a struggle just to shower.
What positive aspects do your mental health challenges bring to your life?
Therapy has brought me tools to become the best version of myself, to reclaim myself, and to feel comfortable in my own skin again. I wouldn't have that had I not gone to seek help. I recommend The Better Because Project for stories on how people have harvested strength from their mental health challenges.
How do you see your particular mental health challenges being stigmatized?
People throw around my diagnosis in casual language a lot. I already deal with feelings that I haven't earned my diagnosis - my PTSD stems from sexual assault, and that isn't as bad on paper as someone who was a combat veteran.
What do you do for self care?
I do yoga and meditate. I paint. I create.
Any online resources that you recommend?
I'm a mental health advocate for RethinkStigma.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering others to get the help they need without fear of judgement, isolation, or discrimination.
What would you say to someone who was just diagnosed with the same mental health diagnosis as you?
First, I'm sorry for what you've gone through. Second, I hope the new diagnosis helps to give you some answers. But I'd like to remind you that you aren't defined by that diagnosis. Be kind to your mind, and let yourself flourish. This is only a chapter in your book.
Anything else you'd like to add?
You are never alone. You can always reach out to me @CorinneDeCost
Thank you Corrine for sharing your story and help creating more awareness of what it is like living with PTSD, Anxiety & Depression.
Do you want to share your Mental Health Warrior story - submit your story here