Name: Erika Reva
Mental Health Struggles: DID(Dissociative Identity Disorder), PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, in addition to severe sleeping issues (Somniphobia) & some of my parts struggle with their own individual mental health problems: an ED and OCD to name two. Though I do deal with OCD to varying degrees myself.
What does an average day look like for you? (Don’t be afraid to share about your mental health struggles!)
I struggle everyday if I’m being honest with myself. My head resembles a cavernous mess, frankly. Some days are easier than others. We get out of bed… They get me up actually, most days I don’t want to get up, but we get up, then check my blood sugar (when I have test strips; I’m also a Type 1 Diabetic) make some coffee, breakfast, make sure all the weasels are doing well. Start the weasels routine. Everyone gets their food, water, snacks and playtime rotation begins, while cages get cleaned.
I’ve been working on being a person and finding out what that means for me. I check in with my parts through out the day. Constantly remind myself I am ok, we are okay. I may read a bit and or paint in the afternoon. My husband usually calls around this time and we talk about our respective days thus far.
Afternoons are spent with weasels and paint lately, then dinner prep he gets home late sometimes so we’ll have dinner watch some of our shows then my anxiety skyrockets as I mentally prepare for the inevitably need for my body to sleep. Which I may get a couple hours or none at all.
What steps do you find help you when struggling with your mental health struggles?
My husband has been helping more and more now that we’re talking to him and including him in therapy. Our therapist is a huge asset and I try to focus and use grounding exercises. Sometimes they do work others not much. Partly because I struggle with accepting the alphabet of diagnoses I have obtained over the years; both with my physical and mental health.
How do you find your mental health struggles affect those around you?
The majority of people in my life do not know the depth to which I struggle. Most don’t know about the DID, but I know it negatively affects my husband but now that we’re talking more openly it is helping us grow closer and explaining more to him. He has a better understanding of some things and in many respects, he is seeing why I am the way I am… Unfortunately. I never wanted that for anyone, but I’m seeing his love and that has helped us both through our individual struggles with all that messy baggage.
What’s one thing you love about yourself?
I truly cannot answer this at the moment… After coming back to these questions I suppose it would be my eyes. They change colors. Blue to green and Hazel.
What are five things you are thankful for (other than family, friends, food and shelter –home)?
I am thankful to be alive and getting back into the arts more.
How has your life changed for the best from last year?
The only thing that comes to mind is my husband and I are talking more openly. I’m making an effort to speak to people and trying more to connect with them in general. Learning all over again how to be a person, functioning and we’ll both mentally and physically.
What’s your personal motto?
A favorite that we try to focus on is, “Normal is Illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” This quote from Morticia in the Addams’s Family has helped us through many difficult things.
What song is most played on your playlist?
Dangerous, by Shinedown.
If you had to pick a character from a movie or tv show, who do you relate most to?
I’m really not certain. I don’t watch very much television and when I do I very rarely find things relatable. That being said during a recent therapy session with our Doctor many find Morticia & Wednesday Addams relatable.
What motivates you?
The fear and potential of living my life one day. Hope, I suppose it would be hope.
Erika is a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. She has worked as an entertainment & nightlife writer, as well as a model. Her & her husband now live in Indiana with their ferrets. They are very passionate about animal rescue & rehabilitation. She lives with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) PTSD, Depression & Anxiety. Some of her parts struggle with their own individual mental health problems; an ED & OCD to name two. It took many years but she found her voice and now is actively speaking out against the stigma surrounding mental illness and the lack of assistance for those struggling to reach out. In addition, she also lives with some limiting physical health conditions which unfortunately have made working impossible. For now, she is focused on her writing, speaking engagements, painting and her small family.
You can follow Erika on Twitter.