Empathy • Persistence • Perseverance
Mental Health Awareness is Important
Did you know that one in five American adults experience mental health struggles? In addition, nearly one in 25 live with a serious mental illness. Over the course of the last decade, there have been significant changes in how we talk about and understand mental health. But in essence, this discussion remains relatively untouched. To combat this stigma, Shayna Norwood bravely shares her story of accepting and understanding her mental illness, learning to rebuild her life and how she copes on a daily basis.
A Lifelong Struggle
Shayna first knew something wasn't right in high school, roughly at the age of 14. Not only did she question the meaning of life but she also wondered if her existence even mattered. This confusion led to suicidal thoughts, and Shayna began to physically harm herself. She searched for any possible way to ease her emotional pain. Thus, Shayna started down her long and winding journey with mental illness.
In and out of therapy, Shayna experienced mental breaks when in college and again in graduate school. Subsequently, she found herself committed to a mental institution at the recommendation of her guidance counselor. Because mental illness looks different from person to person, treatments also vary a great deal. While Shayna certainly didn’t believe she needed the assistance of a medical facility, the five days spent there opened her eyes. On the whole, she began to identify her personal triggers. This realization ultimately led to Shayna understanding the importance of allowing herself time and mental space to heal.
Coping with Mental Illness
Through the ups and downs, Shayna learned to live with her mental illness. Additionally, she discovered how to effectively communicate her needs when faced with intense emotional pain. Through this healing process, she ultimately realized the importance of removing herself from situations and experiences that often trigger her anxiety and depression. Today, she allows herself the means to continue her healing journey. She asks for help, and she does so without shame.
By and large, Shayna is breaking the stigma of mental illness.
If you are experiencing mental health concerns or considering self-harm please know you are not alone. Here are some resources that offer on the spot support.
Because everyone's experience with mental illness is different, The Brave Files is committed to sharing multiple stories of bravery. You may be interested in hearing a few other episodes covering the topic.
- Mental illness affects a large percentage of people, and it impacts everyone differently.
- You are never alone. There is always someone who loves you.
- Identifying the things that trigger your emotional pain is a vital part of the healing process.
- Healing is a process. It takes time, understanding, and patience.
Understanding the importance of quality healthcare, Shayna supports Planned Parenthood. When it comes to birth control, STD testing, gynecological visits, and plenty more, Planned Parenthood aims to provide reproductive healthcare and education to people all over the world.
Shayna now owns a thriving, creative business, Steel Petal Press. Founded in 2008, Steel Petal Press is a Chicago-based letterpress studio specializing in greeting cards, stationary, giftwrap, home goods, and more. Overall, it’s really a fun shop, and we encourage you to check out her website!
A Final Note
Understanding the deep, life-altering struggle of mental illness, Shayna also wants our listeners to take one thing to heart:
You are not alone. No matter how dark the path may seem, know there is somebody out there who loves you.
If you or someone you know is battling with depression or suicidal thoughts, call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-6264. If you are in a crisis, text NAMI to 741741. There is help out there. You do not need to suffer in silence.
Shayna and her friends in college.
Shayna and her mom.
Shayna and her husband on their honeymoon!
Shayna and her team at Steel Petal Press.
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