My name’s Tim and I‘m just about 26. Mental illness has impacted almost every part of my life. I’ve suffered from severe anxiety, panic attacks, and depression since childhood.
The darkest time in my life came when I was a freshman in college. At the time, my depression, anxiety, and panic attacks were the worst they had ever been. I was averaging three panic attacks a day and I was tired. I was done. So, on the morning of January 24, 2013, I attempted suicide. I was hospitalized for five days, which was absolutely the hardest five days of my life. It took years to recover from this period of my life, but I’ve come out on the other side stronger, more healthy, and whole.
Recovery took so much time, but I had a huge support system of friends and family. Also, my parents have always made it a point throughout my life to normalize going to see a mental health professional, so I’ve not had that be a hand up. Talk therapy, medicine, and self-care have been essential in my recovery process. Learning to trust and listen to myself has been key. When my body is telling me to take a step back, I’ve learned to listen to that voice and take a breather for a while.
Currently, I am firing on all cylinders. Mental illness still impacts every facet of my life and likely always will, but I’ve learned to cope in more healthy ways. Talking about my experiences and in doing so, realizing I’m not alone has been one of the most freeing things I’ve done. There’s a certain freeing feeling that comes when someone says “me too.” I try to tell my story in a creative way, through my blog and through video. Creativity and community have helped me become someone I can look at in the mirror every morning and actually love.
If you would like to learn more about mental illness, there are many opportunities to get involved this week! Please reach out to NAMI Northern Illinois at 815-963-2470 or visit naminorthernillinois.org. There are