Did you know, Approximately 1 in 5 people suffer from a mental illness at some point in their life? This means that everyone either knows someone with a mental illness or has a mental illness themselves. Depression accounts for more disability than any other disease worldwide. At Sifa’s Corner, we value healthy living and prioritize mental health wellness, which is why today we are going to talk to Sonja Wasden, co-author of An Impossible Life about How to Take Better Care of your Mental Health.
She hid her mental illness for over 20 years because of the stigmas and judgments. She appeared to be living an ideal life, married to the hospital CEO, attending charity events, beautiful home, three great children. Yet, her life was falling apart, and her marriage was hanging on by a thread. After her attempted suicide, she was taken to the hospital where her husband was currently CEO, and a leading psychiatrist there told him never to bring her back to that hospital again and go somewhere people didn’t know them.
Through therapy and medication, she is leading a beautiful life now. Her marriage of 27 years is intact, and all of her children are doing well. She understands that those who suffer from mental illness are real people, just like her, who have real stories to tell.
She has been traveling with her daughter to all 50 states (35 states done), donating her life story, An Impossible Life, to local libraries, talking with government officials, mental health advocacy groups, and doing local news interviews (35 news interviews so far). They have been working tirelessly to break the stigmas of mental illness and create open conversations across the country.
Thank you for the wonderful interview today Sonja! Read below for the interview.
How to Take Better Care of your Mental Health:
- When do you think one should consult a professional regarding mental health?
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you had a toothache, you would see the dentist. If your stomach continued to hurt, you would see a doctor. If you had severe chest pains, you would go to the ER. So, I would say use this rule of thumb for your mental health. If your mental health issue is persistent, you need to see a professional.
- How did you take control of your mental health?
After my attempted suicide and almost died, I finally got the help I so desperately needed. I decided it was alright for me to visit with several therapists and psychiatrists until I found the right fit for me instead of just sticking to the first one I saw. After doing 20 years of “talk therapy,” I realized doing the same thing over again and expecting different results was the definition of insanity. I finally found Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) an evidence-based treatment, and that changed my life. I also found a psychiatrist willing to really listen to me about the medications he was having me try and finally found the drug that worked for me.
- Share 5 essential steps with us to improve our mental health.
- Be willing to talk about your mental health struggles openly and honestly.
- Be willing to seek professional help when needed.
- Be kind and patient with yourself.
- Be in the moment, not bringing the past with you or projecting the future.
- Be accepting of yourself when you make mistakes. Mistakes are what we learn from.
- If you have one tip to give to the readers of Sifa’s Corner, what would that be?
Mental Health is just as important as your physical health. Mental Wellness gives you the ability to live your best life!
Suggested read: Self-Talk: Building a Positive Relationship with YOU
About Sonja Wasden:
Sonja Wasden is the Co-Author of An Impossible Life– The inspiring true story of a woman’s struggle within. She is a Mental Health Advocate, BA in Humanities from Brigham Young University, Mother of three children and Lives in Wes Des Moines, Iowa.
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