March 19, 2016

The People →
Megan K

29 → Kansas, USA → Student, Activist & Weightlifter → Anxiety & Depression → Communication, Exercise, Medication.

1. Introducing Megan

R: Hey Megan, so who are you?

M: Just a girl trying to make a difference in the world. I’m 29 and in my spare time, I enjoy blogging, weightlifting, hanging with friends and family, watching movies, helping others, volunteering, and reading. Things that make me happy are coffee, laughing till I cry, being appreciated, anything pink, and inside jokes with my coworkers.

R: What do you do?

M: I work part time and go to school full time. It’s a struggle sometimes.

R: Where do you live?

M: I live in Kansas.

R: Did you go to school / study?

M: I attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I’m in my last year and I’m studying Communication Studies.

2. Anxiety

R: How would you describe having Anxiety in your own words?

M: Being a prisoner of your own mind.

R: Were you diagnosed by a health professional?

M: Yes, I was.

R: What made you see a doctor? What were the warning signs?

M: I knew something was wrong. Anxiety and Depression were affecting all aspects of my life including work, personal relationships, and my school work. I knew I needed professional help.

“health professionals didn’t take [my symptoms] seriously. They just thought I was going through a phase and I would grow out of it.”

R: Did they prescribe medication? Do you / Did you take medication?

M: Yes they did. I tried two different medications before I finally found one that work. I am currently on Zoloft and I take Clonzepam for my Panic and Anxiety Attacks.

R: Were there symptoms earlier in life?

M: Yes, but I ignored them and those around me including health professionals didn’t take them seriously. They just thought I was going through a phase and I would grow out of it.

R: How does Anxiety affect a normal day?

M: On good days, I’m able to function. On bad days, I feel like I’m dying and it’s a struggle to get through the day. It varies from day to day.

R: Does it hold you back from the good things in life?

M: Yes, when I have Anxiety really bad I don’t want to do anything. I tend to avoid certain places because it causes my Anxiety to increase.

R: Do friends or colleagues notice your anxiety?

M: Yes, they did. That’s what also caused me to seek help.

R: Does it affect your relationship with them?

M: Not anymore. They understand it’s a serious problem for me and they respect that. I have lost people for disclosing my Mental Illness but I don’t regret that.

R: How do you best manage your anxiety? (medication, meditation, yoga, alternative medicines, something else)

M: Working out, colouring, yoga, and listening to upbeat music.

R: Have you seen a therapist?

M: Yes

R: Would your life be different if you didn’t have anxiety?

M: I do. I often wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have Anxiety but at the same time, I feel as though battling through my struggles with Anxiety has made me stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally.

R: Do you feel as if you’re in control of your anxiety?

M: It’s hit and miss. On bad days, I feel like I’m losing control and on good days it’s the opposite.

3. Depression

R: Were you diagnosed by a health professional?

M: Yes, I was.

“I slept all the time, rarely ate, felt an emptiness inside me and I felt shame and guilt for feeling the way I did.”

R: How would you describe having depression, in your own words?

M: Living in a black hole and not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

R: What made you see a doctor? What were the warning signs?

M: Many reasons. It started when I was high school though the signs were apparent for a long time. I slept all the time, rarely ate, felt an emptiness inside me and I felt shame and guilt for feeling the way I did. I felt like it would never go away. I felt numb to everything and I would cry over everything especially at the thought of never getting better.

R: Did they prescribe medication? Do you / Did you take medication?

M: Yes, they did. I’m still on it.

R: How does depression affect a normal day/week?

M: It depends on the day.

R: Do friends or colleagues notice you have depression?

M: Yes, they do.

R: Does it affect your relationship with them?

M: No, it doesn’t.

R: How do you best manage depression? (medication, meditation, yoga, alternative medicines, or something else)

M: Weightlifting is one way. Writing in a journal, yoga, colouring, using lavender, and focusing on the positives in my life.

R: Have you been to therapy for depression?

M: Yes, I have.

R: How would your life be different if you did not have depression?

M: Like Anxiety, I do but I’m thankful for these struggles made me stronger.

R: If you had the option to erase your depression, would you?

M: No, I wouldn’t. I know that sounds crazy but battling through it made me realise how much will power I have.

4. Mental Health Activism

R: Please introduce #imnotashamedWhat was your inspiration for joining?

M: Well, I decided to rejoin Twitter and I found the group and began tweeting them and posting positive things. I used the hashtag #imnotashamed and I was approached by Rachel who started the movement to join and I gladly accepted. I want to help others come to terms with their illness and realise they have nothing to be ashamed off. I want to be a voice for others and advocate for a better Mental Health system and resources.

R: How long has it been active?

M: I’m not sure of the exact date but I believe it started sometime in 2012.

R: Is it your main job?

M: I would consider it one of my main jobs. I try to keep up with every day and moderate and keep up with the page.

R: Have you received any great feedback / response?

M: I have received good feedback from people saying we are doing a great job by being a voice for Mental Health advocacy.

5. Being Proactive

R: Do you tell friends, family and colleagues that you have Anxiety or depression?

M: I did.

“People assume those with a Mental Illness are crazy, insane, violent etc. That is simply not true. I know many people with a Mental Illness and they are normal every day people.”

R: How did they react?

M: Some reacted positively and others didn’t.

R: Have you experienced stigma in regards to our mental health?

M: I have. People assume those with a Mental Illness are crazy, insane, violent etc. That is simply not true. I know many people with a Mental Illness and they are normal every day people. The stigma that is associated with Mental Illness needs to go away because all it does is cause harm to those who have a Mental Illness.

R: Do you read specific blogs, magazines or news articles about mental health?

M: I read The Mighty every day. I also check out Psych Central every day for articles and see what is being posted.

R: Have you read great books about Anxiety or depression?

M: Freeing Yourself From Anxiety, How To Be Less Sad, What Are You Like?, Skin, etc.

R: Or seen any movies?

M: Birdy, The Virgin Suicides, Shine, Sylvia, Prozac Nation, The Hours etc.

6. Like-Minded Network

R: Can you recommend any therapists / doctors / specialists / coaches / mentors / clinics / foundations?

M: Sick Not Weak, Let’s Talk Bell, etc.

7. What’s Next?

M: Graduating from college.

R: What’s on your horizon for 2016?

M: Traveling this summer, visiting my friend in Chile in January and just taking one day at a time.

R: What next for your mental health?

M: I am hoping to get involved with a Mental Health Organisation in this coming year. I am focusing more on my own Mental Health and also helping others.

R: Thanks Megan!

M: No, thank you for interviewing me.

Credits
Rodger Hoefel in conversation with Megan K.
Cover Photo and other images from Megan’s Twitter

2 Comments for The People →
Megan K

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