KENDRA’S PERSONAL STORY (2:56)
Kendra was 13 when she first realized she had depression. It was a rough time, she was so young and didn’t really know what was going on, so she sat with it for a month or two. She was lucky that her mom had her own mental illnesses and she was able to go to her, and ask for help.
Her mom was able to get her help right away. She got her into therapy and was seen by doctors. She was diagnosed by clinical depression, which means it is caused by chemicals affecting the brain, not situational depression. Kendra has been seen by doctors and has been on and off medication since the age of 13.
Then, about 4 years ago she started to develop some anxiety. She was pregnant and didn’t want to take any medication, she held off on getting help. Then after having her son, she had to deal with the depression, anxiety and a little bit of postpartum depression.
Last year she went back into therapy and was diagnosed with a panic disorder, which is a subset of an anxiety disorder. This means she has more panic attacks and living with pretty much daily anxiety.
She has been on a journey to heal herself. She has gotten to a point where she pretty much manage day-to-day. She has very few panic attacks and very little day-to-day anxiety. It is still something that she has to think about and manage on a daily basis.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU INTO THE WORK YOU DO? (4:40)
Kendra tells us it kind of came naturally to her. In high school she had wanted to be a photographer. She went to school for that and realize it wasn’t for her. She went back and forth for a while trying to figure out what she wanted to do.
After she had her son, and went through this really rough period, she kind of had an epiphany, and realized that this type of work is what she is passionate about and what she wants to do. She wanted to help other women, like herself, and felt that there was a real gap in this type of business.
Kendra wanted to show the realness of having a mental illness, and going through the recovery process, healing yourself, and that it is not always perfect it is a real journey.
When she was 13 she never felt there were real women out there going through what she was, so she created what she needed at that age. That is who she really wants to help, is women that are struggling and are asking, “Where are all the other women out there like me?”
I want to say thank you to Kendra for being so open and honest sharing her personal journey. It is not easy sharing such a vulnerable and personal experience.
IS MOST 13 YEAR OLD’S ABLE TO ASK FOR HELP? (6:02)
Kendra tells me, “Probably not often.” She had older brothers and people told her she was quite mature for her age. She is an introspective person and very aware of herself. She was never a very happy child, but it got to the point she thought about suicide and didn’t really want to live anymore. That was when she really realized she needed help. She would like it to be talked about and shared more.
WHAT IS THE SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS? (7:12)
*Kendra is not a doctor or medically trained, all information is from her own experience or opinion.*
Some of the common symptoms are; that you are excessively sad or crying more than normal, feeling very out of control of your emotions, mind and body, reacting differently to situations.
Anxiety disorders are based off the fight or flight response. You probably will feel the urge to run away or like hiding. Anxiety can feel kind of like a heart attack, you’ll feel your heart race, you’ll be very on edge, it can be very intense and very debilitating.
With depression or ptsd, you can end up having a lack of appetite, or end up binge eating or emotionally eating.
OFFICIAL DIAGNOSIS (8:50)
With depression you need to be excessively sad, not finding fun or motivation with things you usually do for, she believes a couple of weeks. For anxiety it’s about 6 months.
Kendra’s personal point of view is that if you are feeling out of control, if your emotions or your thoughts are affecting your life or debilitating you, if you feel like you can’t get up during the day or do your normal activities, that is when you should go and see your doctor.
WHERE TO START IF YOU THINK YOU SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY, DEPRESSION OR PTSD? (9:35)
There are a lot of people who suffer from depression after going through a near-death experience. You are not alone if you think you may be. Kendra shares some advice on when to ask for help.
You can go to a general practitioner and they can refer you to a psychiatrist if that is the root you need to take. If you are not ready for that step, reach out for support. If you have a best friend, partner or a parent go to them and tell them you need them to be there for you.
Mental illnesses are really, really lonely, even if you have someone who has been through it for support. It is a really lonely road, and the first step to feeling better is to find that support.
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT? (10:25)
Kendra thinks that people fear judgement, that people will think there is something wrong with you, perhaps that it won’t do anything for you and that although the stigma is lessening, people still fear the stigma that comes with getting help.
When Kendra went through this, she didn’t feel getting help would do her any good. She tells us that you should try not to listen to that voice, and that you have someone who cares about you enough to listen and not judge.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMEONE TO REACH OUT TO? (11:37)
Doctors are helpful. Wellness mentors, such as Kendra, are here to be a friend and help people who don’t have support. There are support groups you can join, such as NAMI, with local support groups, usually run in libraries and community centers.
HOW DO YOU HELP WOMEN TAKE ACTION TO BECOME THE PERSON THEY WANT TO BE? (12:30)
Kendra tells people to learn about their values. You need to sit down and think about what it would mean if your life was perfect. So Kendra values spending time with her son and husband. Her perfect day doesn’t include being a housewife, so she doesn’t spend her time doing that. (I couldn’t agree more)
If you don’t value cooking and have to do it you may feel trapped in. If you value cooking and don’t do it you may feel you are missing out.
Find what you want in your life and the values you want. It is helpful for your emotions, to start creating the life you want, and focus on the values you want and how to bring them in your life.
I asked her what some steps a person could take would be?
First, really focus on you. If you’re a mother or work full-time it is really hard to take care of yourself. This can be really hard. Do something simple, For Kenda, it may be doing yoga together on the tv. She is still playing with her son, but she is focusing on her own health and well-being.
RESOURCES AND CONTACT INFORMATION (15:00)
Kendra can be reached at her website at kendrakantor.com. She has a free printable journal you can get, called I am Proud. You can print out this journal and write down all the things you do during the day that make you feel good about yourself.
If you like this interview please reach out to Kendra and let her know via, twitter or facebook or in the comments here. Thank you for listening and if you have any questions, please ask, comment or share this interview.
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