Today we have the pleasure of meeting Aislinn, joining us from Dublin, Ireland. As has been evident from all the interviews, no matter where we live or what our ages, there’s a connecting thread in our stories and I’m sure you will identify with Aislinn in one way or another.
How long have you dealt with mental illness and what is your diagnosis?
A) I’m 24 now and I’ve dealt with mental illness from the age of about 14 (my second year of secondary school). Over the next 5 years of secondary school I felt my mood get lower and lower until I needed to do something about it in my last year of school at age 18. Things were up and down during college but relatively stable in comparison to school. Things got to an all time low at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013 after finishing college. 2013 was an excruciatingly hard time dealing with my depression but I didn’t want to just make it through the year- I wanted to come out the other end a much more happy and positive person. I successfully did that and now feel more happy and stable than I ever have in my life.
Do you take medications to help you cope?
A) I took medication for one year in my last year in school as that was what I needed then. I didn’t want to take medication when I hit low after college because I felt I needed to really dig deep and find out what was causing this and that medication wouldn’t do that for me.
what stay well strategies do you use?
A) I have so many! There was lots and lots of trial and error to find out what things would really help me stay feeling balanced or even in a great mood.
Gratitude has to be one of the biggest for sure. Whenever I feel a darkness coming over me I try to go for a walk and list at least 3 reasons why today is/can be a great day/what I’m grateful for. Another one is focusing on affirmations. As well as those I felt I really got better once I started putting my health first. When you’re treating your body with love and care then you feel so great and that always sets you up for a better day/week.
do you feel your battle with mental illness has been a blessing or a curse and why?
A) I think so many parts of you wants to say the latter but I believe this has taught me more in life than anything else..so how could that be a curse? It has allowed me to find out things early on in my late teens that I feel a lot of people older have not yet figured out. It has made me appreciate happiness and really made me take care of myself and put myself first.
I loved Aislinn’s policy of putting herself first. So many of us juggle so much and we forget we need to be pretty high on the priority list, too! I’d like to thank Aislinn for sharing her story and I hope this series of interviews is eye opening as far as the reality of people all over the world living with mental illness.