RISING ABOVE MENTAL ILLNESS

    This week’s interview is with a dear friend who has become like a sister to me. When I was at my worst, she was at my side whenever I needed her, no matter what time of the day it was. When I was sick, I was so engulfed in my illness that I never knew until years later that she too suffered with mental illness. Now that I’m in recovery we have become a support system for each other. I can finally be at her side when times are hard for her like she was at mine when I was at the bottom of my hole.

     This week’s interview is with Cheryl Miller. 

What type of mental illness do you have and what are the symptoms?

I have anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorder with mixed emotional features. My symptoms are sadness, irritability, panic, and sometimes uncontrollable rage. 

What type of help or therapy did you get for your illness?

I have taken medication for many years and have been to therapy as well to help. I currently am not seeing a therapist, but I know I can go back to see my therapist when I need to.

Can you describe what it has been like to struggle with your illness?

Sometimes I feel symptoms without even knowing why I am feeling them. Then it frustrates me more and tests my ability to stay above it all.

When did you realize you had an illness and what did you do when you discovered it?

I realized something was wrong with me when I was younger, in my early twenties. I cussed out my father and did not feel afraid to hit him back if he were to hit me. I have always been respectful to both my parents, so doing that was very out of the ordinary for me. I made an appointment with a doctor right away and ended up starting on medications for depression and anxiety. 

What advice do you give to others struggling with mental illness?

 My advice is to seek out help, find a good therapist, and try medications. Make sure you surround yourself with a good support system as well.

 If in recovery, what steps do you take to stay in recovery?

To stay in recovery, I make sure I take my medication as directed, and use my coping skills I have learned in therapy. I will seek therapy if I ever feel I am falling out of recovery. I also lean on my support system and on God. Also, getting back into crafting has helped a lot too. 

What motivates or motivated you to reach recovery?

My motivation to stay in recovery is first and foremost my children. Even though they are now both adults, I still want to be able to be as present as possible in their lives and to be the best mom and friend to them that I can be. 

Who has been your support system through your illness?

My support system includes friends and some family members that I can talk to when I need a listening ear and sometimes even some advice. 

How has you family reacted to your illness?

My family has been very supportive of me doing my best to stay in recovery. They are always there for me when I need them. 

What are some coping techniques do you use?

Some coping techniques I use are holding an ice cube in my hand, the grounding technique (I use this one the most), talking with someone, whether it be friend or family member, or even a therapist. Crafting also really helps calm my nerves and helps me focus on something fun rather than my thoughts. 

Cheryl Millers Bio.

I was born and raised in Erie, PA. I have been living in upstate New York for about 15 years now. I have two beautiful children who are now 22 and 18 years old that I love to get together with as often as possible. I live with my boyfriend of 12 years. I love to make crafts to decorate my home with and I am a Steelers fan. 

5 thoughts on “RISING ABOVE MENTAL ILLNESS

  1. Hi Cheryl, Aimee,
    Thank you for sharing your story, Cheryl. I was surprised when you mentioned holding an ice cube. Perhaps it is the cold on your hand that is helpful to calm you down.
    I appreciate your willingness to talk about your journey.
    God bless.
    Amy

    Like

    • Amy,
      Thank you for reading. We also use holding ice cubes or squeezing them until they stink for self-injury. It gives you the relief without causing actual harm to yourself. I used it while I worked to stop injuring.
      Aimee

      Like

    • Thank you Amy!! Yes, that is a technique my therapist had mentioned to me during a session. I does make you focus on the ice making your hand colder and colder and less on what is causing the anxiety.
      God bless,
      Cheryl

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s