2013 Mental Health Hero Cartoon-A-Thon
Drawing by Chato Stewart
About myself…I love to read!! I also love to color. I find coloring helps me with anxiety. Reading usually takes me away from the world once I can concentrate enough on a book to get lost in it. (ADD & mind racing)
Martial Arts is another love of mine. I started doing it with my kids. It helped me so much with confidence! One of my proudest moments was earning my 1st degree black belt in 2008. Unfortunately I stopped going. My meds at the time were messing with my balance and also my ability to learn new forms. 🙁 I also gained a ton of weight due to the meds and my lack of activity. I still want to go back and earn my 2nd degree. 3rd degree would be awesome to obtain along with a degree in Okinawan weapons. All 3 of my children earned their Jr. Black Belt and my youngest is still in it.
Some background info…moved around a lot when I was in elementary school. Only child for the most part, shy, and didn’t get to form many friendships. Finally settled in to a house for middle school and first two years of hs. Then we moved again when I was 15. Not good! Attempted suicide. Therapy for a year, but no diagnosis or meds.
When I was 16, I met Cory. I had gone to prom with some girls from 1st hs and we went to what I thought was an after-prom party. It turned out to be Cory’s 20th bday party and we were the only girls in prom dresses. Anyway when my friend introduced us, he kissed my hand. <3 We married 4yrs later.LP 14 – Sweet Pea 11 – Precious 10 and Belly 7
He started his own construction business, we built a house, had two children…and fell apart. Post-partum depression set in after 1st child was born and never left. We were young and tried and failed. (I was undiagnosed bipolar). In July 2001, separated but not divorced, Cory was in a motorcycle accident that took his life. Major head trauma. We donated his organs. Our children, Eric & Kyra, were only 5 and 3 years old at the time. :'(
Unfortunately then I ended up with a man who turned out to be abusive. Things were perfect at first, of course. I got pregnant and thought that if I didn’t get married my Grandma would be ashamed. Plus I was still hoping he would change. Bretta was born in 2003 and in 2005, on my birthday, I filed for divorce.
Restraining Order filed in 2006 against him for assaulting me and taking Bretta out of my van by force while I was picking up Eric and Kyra from school.
I received my diagnosis of Bipolar around 2002 I think, but didn’t really buy into it. Took me years to accept. At the end of 2008 I had to stop working. Been on SSDI since 2010. Had intense therapy. Diagnosed with PTSD from childhood molestation, Cory’s accident, and abuse from Kevin (husband #2). Tried Gestault therapy and EMDR. Outpatient hospitalization program, inpatient, and a few months of ECT.
Meds are fairly stable now. I don’t know. Hard to tell what is normal. But my kids are doing well so that’s what matters!! I am amazed how awesome they are. They’ve been through so much…how did they make it this far without more problems?! I just thank God!!!!! My kids are honestly what keep me alive and my inspiration, motivation, everything!!!
I am in a good relationship now with a good man. We’ve been together for 7years. He even took the NAMI family course. We get through one day at a time (oh yeah Alanon helped me tremendously also!).
I feel this whole journey has helped me to know myself better. 40yrs old. I love to learn and I miss my career a lot. I was a Radiologic Technologist and then specialized in Mammography. I miss talking to patients. I’ve kind of isolated myself and now am pushing myself back out there in the scary world lol.
One thing I find super hard is changing doctors/therapists. Since 1996, between insurance changes and physicians moving, etc. I’ve had 5 psychiatrists, 5 therapists, and 2 good family practice docs that managed my mental health. 😛 They were all good though. Right now I see a psychiatrist who also does my therapy. I think that, along with decent med combo, has made a big difference. He is my hero! I’d nominate him if I had a pic!! He isn’t in too good of health right now. He needs a heart transplant. You would never know it though. I pray for him everyday.
Wow I really rattle on. Sorry this is so long! And rambling! Thanks for taking the time to read it. You are an angel!
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Mentalympians is a mental health community development initiative to raise awareness of mental health recovery, inspire hope, reduce self-stigma, foster recovery and also connect individuals who are interested in campaigning for mental health reform.
I would like to thank Enzymedica’s Tom Bohager for his support. Enzymedica is Florida-based founded in 1998 to offer consumers targeted digestive enzymes products. Considered America’s #1 selling enzyme brand sold by health food store retailers. They also offer a FREE Digestive Enzyme interactive education program that is very helpful in learning the benefits enzymes have on our over all health.
Friend me on Facebook @chato B Stewart.View previous Newsletters.
Bonus My kids’ Drawings:LP 14*
Coming SoonSweet Pea 11 * Sweet Pea 11 Precious 10 *Precious 10 Belly 7*Belly 7