Interviews

Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Caleb Carter

First of all, tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Caleb Carter. I’m 22 years old. I’m from Cape Girardeau, MO. I curently work as an Administrative Assistant. I am also a mental health advocate; I volunteer with AFSP and any other mental health organization that I cross paths with.

Tell me a bit about your mental health?
I am diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (Depression) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I have been diagnosed for over 6 years, but I have been dealing with these things through my entire lifetime. I also may have undiagnosed PTSD from episodes of being bullied at school.

How has this affected your life?
Depression makes simple tasks (getting out of bed, showering, driving to where I need to go) challenging. When I’m depressed, my mind is in control of my entire body, and it says, “No way, José”. Anxiety causes me to worry about things and be extra skeptical of people. I don’t trust a lot of people outside of my friends and family. Then, I know that I can’t do everything by myself. Reality sets in, and I get depressed. As far as the undiagnosed PTSD, I just remember things that happened to me back in school. I see somebody else getting bullied, and it sets me off, because I was there once. Nobody should ever have to be bullied.

How are your relationships with the people around you? Do they understand what you’re going through?
I have nothing to hide from the people I trust. I’m very open about my mental health, and they are accepting of it. They do everything they can to help me (being there to talk to and giving me advice).

Do you have any specific coping mechanisms?
When I need to take my mind off of things, I’ll write, play a video game, watch wrestling, or listen to music. I have my own blog, just like you, that I use as a way of advocating for mental health. Most of my coping comes from helping others going through the same things that I have and still do. Like I said, I volunteer for AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention), and we’re always needing to get stuff done. So that keeps me busy.

What does the future hold for you?
I want to keep advocating for mental health. I want to keep raising awareness in any way that I can. If I’ve helped one person throughout my entire journey, then everything I am doing is worth it, and I wouldn’t change a thing. In the future, I would like to work in the psychology field (a counselor, psychologist, have my own counseling center). Mental health advocacy is great. Unfortunately, the only thing it doesn’t do is pay. I don’t care for money, but life is life, and you have to pay bills. It would be amazing to be able to work in the mental health field and get paid to do it.

Finally, anything you’d like to say to others in similar situations?
Mental illness isn’t always fun to have, but I believe that people aren’t given things unless they are strong enough to overcome it. Keep fighting. You were put here for a reason. Don’t be opaque. Be transparent around the people who love you (family, friends, people at church), because they want the best things for you. If they don’t, then they are not family or friends. Don’t surround yourself with those types of people, because they will not bring you happiness. Remember that it’s okay to not be okay. There’s no shame in crying out for help. There’s no shame in taking antidepressants and anxiety medicine (as prescribed) and going to therapy. I do it too. Rise above the stigma.

Thank you for your time.
Anytime dude. You’re welcome.


 

Below I am going to leave a link listing all the main mental health websites around the world, as well as a link with all the international suicide prevention hotlines.

Remember if you aren’t sure where to go or who to talk to, you can call 999, 911 or your equivalent.

Mental Health Websites:

http://www.centreforglobalmentalhealth.org/global-mental-health-websites
Suicide Hotlines Worldwide:

http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html