I started struggling with my mental health at a very young age. I can look back now and see all the years I unknowingly struggled with anxiety as a child. There were so many red flags that went unnoticed until my life became completely unmanageable as a teenager. At the age of 14, I started struggling with body image issues as well as a severe eating disorder. A few years later around the age of 16, I also started struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and in a matter of two months, I was barely able to function in my everyday life.
During the summer that I graduated high school, I experienced two sexual assaults and within a year, I was completely housebound with agoraphobia and PTSD. During this time, I was self-medicating with alcohol and feeling extremely suicidal. I spent an entire year being completely housebound, and feeling beyond hopeless, which led me to the darkest days of my life. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever claw my way out of the dark hole I had found myself in. I went into treatment in early 2011 and after a very long and difficult road to recovery, I am finally reclaiming my life back.
As I’ve healed, and I’ve gotten my life back together, I decided to major in psychology. All I wanted to do was give back to the community that saved my life, so I started working in the mental health field before I even finished school. I worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, inpatient/residential, and detox centers, as well as outpatient psychiatric offices. In 2015, I started my own coaching business to start expanding the resources in the community, specifically aftercare and advocacy. My hope is to empower others by sharing my story and by creating resources for people in the community. I want to spark hope in the hearts of the people I reach, and I want to show them that it IS possible to overcome (what feels like) the impossible.
Written by Anna Liljenwall