Giving Back – Dealing with Mental Illness: A Journey to Health and Healing

I’D LIKE TO SHARE a personal story about myself with you all. This is separate from my role at Texas811. I make this clear distinction because I want this to be associated with me, Christi Mclain, and not my organization.

I lived with my mom growing up. She did her best to care for me, but unfortunately, I suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of two stepfathers. As you can imagine, this caused a great deal of emotional damage to me. I began to experience depression and anxiety as a teenager which led to me moving in with my birth father. In the ninth grade, after one of my father’s verbally abusive episodes, I decided life was no longer worth living. I swallowed a handful of sleeping pills and began to cry. Something prompted me to alert my stepmother of what I had done so she could take me to the hospital. I remember waking up to the doctor saying if we had been 20 minutes later, I would not be here today to share my story. Sadly, in October of 2008, I lost my mother to suicide. Through years of counseling and many nights of praying and standing firm in my faith, and with the support from family, I have been able to recover from the trauma I experienced as a child. While I still battle anxiety, depression, and at times suicidal thoughts, I am more equipped to fight these battles.

You may be wondering, “Why share such a personal struggle?” On September 1, 2021, on my way home after hearing a presentation about suicide in the workplace and how the presenter himself struggled with this, I felt something inside me say it is time to start sharing your journey and help others. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to share my story at a local coffee shop, high school, and my church youth group.

I hold this topic close to my heart and helping others battling this fight is my purpose in life. There is so much shame associated with mental illness and sexual abuse and so I share my story for two reasons. One, I hope to help others who have experienced this type of trauma or who struggles with mental illness feel like they do not have to hide behind the shame anymore. With sexual abuse, it is not our shame to bear. With mental illness, there is no shame in taking care of yourself and speaking up when you feel hopeless and lost. The second reason I share my story is to give hope and to help others realize they have a purpose in life. I spent years asking, “Why did this happen to me?” Once I realized I could not change the past, I began to realize I can use the past to change the future.

If you are struggling with mental illness, please reach out for help. If you would like to know more about my story, please reach out to me on LinkedIn.

This article is dedicated to my mother and everyone who struggles with mental illness as well as my granny and husband of 18 years for their support and unconditional love.

Below are some additional resources that have helped me in my journey to health and healing.

• Dr. Julie Smith on YouTube

• Listen to uplifting, positive music

• Connect with a local church or your home church

• Reach out to friends or family members you trust

• Employee Assistance Programs

• Professional Counselor

• Books:

\– Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

\– Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer

Live help
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