My personal experience with mental illness

Thanks to WriterKat for her honest post at

Mental health issues seem to come with a gift in the creative art—or maybe it’s just part of the human condition.

I’ve never been diagnosed with a mental illness. But it’s probably because I’ve never been to a psychiatrist, except once when I was 12. I overdosed on my stepfather’s prescription medication and woke up in the hospital after having my stomach pumped. I had to visit a psychiatrist then, but I didn’t know him, didn’t trust him, and wasn’t about to tell him why I was trying to escape life.

I have since published many poems and short stories about my childhood trauma — mostly in three volumes of Break The Cycle. In May 2023, I will launch another anthology dealing with mental health issues titled SCARS.

Mental health, like our physical and spiritual health, will decline—and we will suffer the consequences unless—we work to improve it.

This quote recently popped up in my Facebook memories from about ten years ago. It sums up my mental health to this day.

    If I focused on the challenges, obstacles, hard times, or tragedies in life, I would not get out of bed from being so depressed. Instead, I find the lesson or greater good in EVERY situation. I stay in gratitude and keep the faith even when I want to cry or scream. I keep dreaming and find joy in simple things, like bubbles. Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff

Writing, blowing bubbles, walking in nature, swimming, praying, deep breathing, and listening to music are my go-to activities to relieve stress, anxiety, and too much reality.

Reading and learning also help strengthen my mind. I recently read a book that helped my mental and spiritual health: Praise the Lord and Pass the Prozac: A Helpful, Hopeful, by James “Jim” Watkins and Faith Watkins

I initially hesitated to read this book because I don’t even like taking an aspirin for a headache. I prefer holistic healing of the root cause rather than a pharmaceutical solution for the symptoms.

Ironically, Jim mentions diabetes in the promotion of his book. I’m dealing with Type 2 Diabetes. The doctors want me to take Metformin and insulin to get my blood glucose under control. I would rather make the dietary changes Dr. Cyrus Khambatta teaches, sit in a sauna like Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s scientific studies have proven to be effective, and follow Dr. Mandell’s advice to go for a walk to lower my blood sugar.

I refuse prescription medication against my doctor’s advice and my family’s wishes. It would probably be the same with any other medical condition unless I had no choice.

Choice: that’s the keyword. If I couldn’t get out of bed, if I was in extreme pain, or if I couldn’t function otherwise, I would take the meds!

I like Jim and Faith’s introduction to Praise the Lord and Pass the Prozac:

    This is not a self-help book on mental illness, but a devotional offering ten affirmations backed with Scripture and behavioral studies for those of us living with a variety of mental health challenges.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Prozac is a faith-based book for those dealing with mental illness, including anxiety, bipolar, depression, eating disorders, addictions, PTSD, ADD, OCD, etc. It includes Jim’s personal story about clinical depression, biblical references, and his humorous approach to healing. Faith writes from her professional therapist perspective and gives insights based on case studies from her practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Counselor.

As an abused child, I would have talked to a therapist like Faith. Her kindness and compassion shine through the stories in this book. If I had talked to a therapist, I could have saved myself years of working through undiagnosed mental health issues such as severe introversion, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, etc.

Fortunately, I found faith in the biblical sense and read many books that helped me find my way out of the darkness. Books by Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Dan Allender, Louise Hay, and Joyce Meyer.

I am adding Praise the Lord and Pass the Prozac to my collection of books by my mental health mentors.

Jim’s humor and vulnerability in talking about his battle with depression, introversion, and three-letter words [ADD, ASD, OCD] speak to me. He lets me know that I’m not alone.

Faith’s advice to write in a journal confirms what I have always innately felt. Writing is therapeutic. Journaling inspired me to become a writer. Writing is the best way I have found to process my emotions.

In addition to the affirmations, Bible verses, personal experience, and professional advice Jim and Faith provide in Praise the Lord and Pass the Prozac, they also created a Spotify playlist to help uplift us. How cool is that? I love discovering new-to-me music!

I highly recommend reading Praise the Lord and Pass the Prozac to learn more about mental illness and this faith-based approach to healing that includes life-saving medication!

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your support.

I am an indie author focused on personal development, spirituality, holistic health, technology, adventure, and all the arts — especially music, poetry, books, and movies. I love creativity. If you are into the arts, self-improvement, or a curious creative, I invite you to subscribe for updates.

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Author and speaker

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