Hello, my name is Mark. I’m a pretty ordinary guy who is happily married to the best lady in the world, has an amazingly supportive family, a decent income, and little debt. I consider myself lucky to have some really good friends, and I have many hobbies that I enjoy. I’ve woken up in a tent, breathing the fresh, crisp air in the mountains, been in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and done road trips with family and friends just because so much of the world is out there to be discovered.
That being said, maybe you’ll find it odd that I suffer from mental illness. I sure can’t figure it out. To be specific, I suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Panic Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress-like symptoms. I’ve done four stints at a psych ward (so far), and nearly ended it all five times.
But with the help of family, friends, fantastic professionals, hard work, and the right kinds of medication, I have been able to hang on and start to piece together the person I want to be. I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me as I recover and want to share some of the thoughts, tools, lessons, and ideas that I’ve had along the way.
There’s another, totally self-interested reason I’m doing this. My therapist has suggested that I go back and pick up hobbies that I used to enjoy. Writing was one of them, and if I can do that and maybe help someone along the way, that would make me feel pretty good.
Something you need to know, however – and this is VERY important – is that I am NOT a doctor, therapist, nurse, counselor, EMT, psychologist, psychiatrist, pharmacist, or any kind of medical or mental professional. I have never opened a psychology textbook and only know the names of a few famous historical psychologists because I watched Frasier back in the 1990s.
One last thing. If you’re in pain and feel like the world is just too much, try to remember these three points:
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
2. HELP IS AVAILABLE. IT CAN BE DIFFICULT, BUT YOU JUST HAVE TO ASK.
3. THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO LOVE YOU AND WANT TO SEE YOU WELL
Please – if you feel that things are really bad, believe me that there are people out there who CAN help you and also WANT to help you. Just pick up the phone or go to your nearest hospital.