2013 Mental Health Hero Cartoon-A-Thon
Drawing by Chato Stewart
” I’m a cheerleader, cheering others on for better mental health!”
I have had depression and anxiety since childhood, but I refused to get treatment because even at a young age I knew the shame of seeing a “shrink”. In 1993 I was living a very stressful life and was seriously depressed when I had my first panic attack. I had no idea what a panic attack was, I had never heard of it. I thought I was having a heart attack but, I was also so frightened that I was paralyzed and couldn’t leave my bedroom. Going to the doctors was hard and it took everything I had to go through the multiple tests only to find out that I was fine. I wasn’t dying, I didn’t have a heart attack and all my doctor wanted to do then was prescribe anti-depressants. Never did he say I was having panic attacks and so I felt like since he didn’t know what was wrong with me he took the easy way out and just started prescribing me anti-depressants. I was insulted! That he thought all of what I was going through was just all in my head. I was so confused because it felt so real! It was a friend of mine that told me that what I was experiencing was panic attacks and she said that she had a friend who was going through the exact same thing as I was.
That was the day everything changed.
I went to her friends doctor. He explained what was happening to me and gave me a few tools to help calm myself as well as a medication. I stopped having constant panic attacks and began to take my life back. Still, I felt very alone in what I was going through and had to deal with many different attitudes from family and friends that was very hurtful. Over the years I have been in and out of what my doctor calls remission. I’ve had years of doing great and years on disability.
That feeling I had when I learned that there were other people out there that understood what I was going through has brought me to where I’m at today. Thankfully, because of the internet, I have been able to find and communicate with people from all over the world who know exactly what I deal with. Through Facebook, I created High Anxieties, thinking that if I could just get a few new friends I’d be lucky. A little over a year later, I now have so many new friends on Facebook, tumblr, pinterest, twitter and through the High Anxieties website that I have created. I’m driven every single day to find those who may be feeling alone in what they’re going through and give them that priceless gift that I was given. The gift of when I found someone who understood. Every day I feel like a cheerleader by encouraging everyone to seek treatment, to take care of their overall health and to never give up. I feel mental health awareness is making progress in educating and reducing the stigma and I’m so proud that I have been picked to be one of Chato’s Mental Health Hero’s this year.
Chato’s Notes: I got the idea for this caricature from my Precious’ drawing, she came up with the play on Victoria “CANNON” name.
See Your Bonus Drawings by my children.
LP 14 – Sweet Pea 11 – Precious 10 and Belly 7
FreeCounselingHelp.com is America’s only directory connecting people with affordable counseling. There are thousands of non-profit agencies within America that are available to help those with limited means. FreeCounselingHelp.com allows people to quickly search by ZIP code and find the best fit for their mental health needs.
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.
Thanks to my wife Joan Winifred for her care, compassion and being my partner in wellness for the past 21 years.
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Bonus My kids’ Drawings:
Sweet Pea 11 * Sweet Pea 11
Precious 10 *Precious 10
Belly 7*Belly 7