My name is Heather, and I am from a small town north of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the United States. My blog is Midsummer Daydreamer, and you can find me at http://www.themidsummerdaydreamer.com
I am a wife to my high school sweetheart, a mother of three beautiful girls, and a nurse who works in a postpartum unit at a local hospital. I work with women and their newborns, and also specialize in working with babies who are going through opioid withdrawal. My job is challenging, but it is fulfilling. I love being able to teach and interact with people of all kinds, and end up learning more from my patients than they do from me. This country is affected more and more each day with women who experience postpartum depression, and even more who don’t feel comfortable sharing their symptoms with their physician.
I am the youngest girl of 7 children, and grew up in the country away from everything. I love reading, watching movies, and going for walks with my dog, Jake. The most important people in my life are my husband and my three daughters. Both my mother and father are no longer alive, but they will always be very important to me. My mother passed away from complications related to Alzheimer’s in 2005, and my father died from a semi-truck accident in 1985, when I was just 10-years-old.
Why Can’t the Past Stay in the Past?
I am affected by panic and social anxiety, PTSD and depression. My social anxiety began when I was in elementary school, my depression began after I had my three girls, my panic anxiety began when I was in nursing school, and my PTSD is from an incident involving my youngest daughter, who is okay, but suffered a nearly fatal accident when she was 3-years-old, which changed everything for me and my mental health.
When I was in elementary school, I found out very quickly that I was different from the other students. Most of the time, I could not talk to anyone, including my teachers. When other children did try to engage me in a conversation, I would hang my head, eyes focused on the floor, and my face would flush red from embarrassment. This became a goal for other children as this is something they hadn’t seen before.
In the beginning of Elementary school, I tried to participate, but was quickly shut down by the other children. I was not able to speak up to defend myself, so I took every single bit of it. I internalized everything, and became afraid of people, afraid of speaking, and afraid of drawing attention to myself. I often stayed home from school pretending I was sick, and never told my mother what was going on. I didn’t want to worry her, and I didn’t want anyone thinking I was a “scaredy cat.”
I made my first friend when I was in third grade, and I remained friends with her way into adulthood. As my elementary school years ended, my father was in his accident, and I went into a state of grieving, further isolating myself from others, not letting anyone comfort me, and not sharing my feelings with anyone. My middle school years and high school years were even more terrible, with greater incidents and severity of bullying, exclusion, and teasing.
These incidents that I faced when I was younger have plagued me as long as I can remember. To this day, I cannot interact with people very well socially, and I am scared to talk in front of people. I am always in fear of being judged. I am always thinking that people around me are talking about me. I am terrified of being excluded. These feelings have manifested themselves into my current states of social and panic anxiety.
My Panic Anxiety
My panic anxiety is usually related to when I have to talk to someone who makes me nervous, when I am in a crowded space, or when I have to wear anything over my face. My panic attacks consist of feelings of suffocation, intense fear, feeling of the walls closing in, excessive head to toe trembling, stuttering, my heart racing and feeling of my heart beating out of my chest. You can imagine how this makes people feel who are around me when it happens. This further makes me feel isolated and judged.
When I was in nursing school, I began having panic attacks. My psychiatrist contributed this to the stress level of nursing school. I was prescribed an antidepressant and a fast acting anti-anxiety medication and began seeing a therapist once a week. Most of my sessions consisted of tears and hysteria, and I began to realize how sick I was. I was diagnosed with PTSD, panic and social anxiety, and depression.
I became “one of those” people. I was scared of my diagnosis. I didn’t want anyone knowing because I was embarrassed of what people would think. The only person that knew of my diagnosis was my husband, and I refused to talk to him about it. My therapy sessions started making a difference, and I was able to open up more and more. What really made a difference, however, is writing. I started writing down my feelings. I started writing down my experiences. I started writing everything that I could not bring myself to say in person, and I started feeling something. I felt that a weight was being lifted off my shoulders. I felt that I could breathe again.
My Saving Grace
I started my blog, and have typed out my experiences. My hope is that others will find my story useful for what they are experiencing now, or what they experienced as a child. I have used my stories to come to terms with what happened to me as a child. My story has helped me realize that what happened to me was not my fault. I wish I could go back and change things, but I can’t. I have to live in the present, and stop living in the past. That chapter of my life is over, but I can use my experiences to teach my own children about empathy and being kind to others. I can use my experiences to help others. I can share what has helped me. I can advocate for those who are not able to advocate for themselves.
I am getting my story out there, and people are responding. I quickly discovered that I wasn’t the only one who was suffering. There were lots of resources out there, and lots of people who wanted their story heard. I was a part of something. It hurt to write my stories, but the feedback and kind words that I received from readers kept me going. I feel content. I feel like I am helping, and I feel like I may be changing people’s minds about mental illness.
There are many people who suffer from mental illness. It is important for you to know that you are not alone. There are others who have experienced some of the same things you have. There are others who are suffering now. I want to say that it is OK to talk to someone, whether it is a close friend, close relative, therapist, help line, or anyone else you trust. More and more people are getting their story out there, and this momentum could help change the stigma that is related to mental illness. So many people suffer silently, with fears that they will be ostracized, dismissed, ridiculed or will lose those closest to them.
Talk to someone. Spend time journaling, maybe not to share with anyone, but to get your words out on paper. It is so important to not hold anything inside. Draw a picture. Read a poem. Go for a walk. Try meditation. Try mindfulness or yoga. Make time for yourself every single day. I am a busy wife, mother and full-time nurse, but I always make time each day doing something (even if it’s just for a few minutes) that I enjoy doing. Your mental health is important. It is just as important as your physical health. I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to make new memories with my girls. I want to teach my girls lessons in life, and have them grow up in a world that is better than mine was. I am going to continue this journey to better mental health, and help as many people as I can along the way.
Here is a link to Heather’s blog The Midsummer Daydreamer.
Thank you for sharing your story.
You are an amazing person and a strong survivor.
You deserve much praise and honor.
Your story is your glory.
We celebrate you.
If you want to share your story on my blog and join us on our campaign “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story,” please check out the post titled, Please Help Me With My New Campaign – “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story” to learn the mission behind our campaign.
For suggestions and ideas about how to write your story and for directions on how to share your story on my blog, please visit the post titled A Revised Guide – How to Write and Share Your Story For “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story.“
Thank you in advance for participating and helping our cause of increasing awareness and educating about mental health and mental illness, reducing suicide and ending the stigma of mental illness.
We are on a mission to save lives.
We are on a mission
to improve the quality of people’s lives
who live with mental illness.
Thank you for being you.
Much love and hugs, Sue
“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
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