Rise & Thrive: Suck It Up, Buttercup with Chris Mills
Tiffany: This is Rise and Thrive, a mini-series from Scared Confident, where we highlight the stories of seven remarkable women as they learn to stand tall and their story. In this next episode, you'll hear from Chris Mills, Chief Operations Officer for ML Talent Strategies.
Chris: So I sat down in this really comfortable couch and the sun was shining through the window.
It was warm on my face. We started talking about how things were going and how I was doing. And Mary Jo was her normal, straightforward self, and she looked at me and she said, this three simple words with a question mark. At the end of it, it was easy for her to ask and really hard for me to answer. She said, Chris, are you bipolar?
And complete silence entered the room.
I sat there for, I don't know how long I know I was ways more silent longer than just then. And another question came to mind to me, and I kept thinking to myself, how had I gotten here this journey with mental illness? I've come to realize that everybody has a backstory. We have a place of hiding at times, and this is my backstory.
I'm here to share with you where I've been hiding in this journey. I have felt shattered in a million pieces at different times. How could I put myself back together? Should I put myself back together? Who would I be at the end of this journey? What would I look like? Man, there were times of high energy and fun and joy and I ran marathons and I traveled internationally for my job.
And I had parties with friends. I spent a lot of time with a lot of people, and then there were times of absolute depression. Where the thought of getting out of bed was more than I could handle. I was absolutely overwhelmed at the idea that I had to take a shower or wash my hair. I wasn't sure who I was or who I was going to be.
As I think about that time. There's a lot of pain that was there, but there was a lot of joy too, and I don't want to lose all of those thoughts. But I also didn't know who I was and I had lived with this mantra and you know, it, lots of people say it, suck it up buttercup and just keep moving. Cause that's what high performing women do.
We smile. We keep going. We keep walking, but I'd been brought to my knees. I was in my forties and life was not easy anymore. I was blessed in an absolute moment of clarity that I knew I needed help beyond what my husband and I could do. And God sent me two wonderful women with Mary Jo and Nikki. And I like to say I'm a high performer and yeah, it took two, not just one counselor.
That's all right. They were two high powered women who had dedicated their lives to people with mental illness and they were hired to help them. You see, issues that had been in the backdrop of my life were now forefront. I was playing the whack-a-mole game. You know, the game I'm talking about, right. The mall pops up and you hit it only, it pops up somewhere else and you have to try to hit it over there too.
Well, that's what life was like, Nikki and I spent countless hours talking about a childhood trauma. That had never been addressed. I had to come to a state of forgiveness for my abuser, for the people who did not protect me and should have, and ultimately for myself. And then I played the game and the conversations with Mary DOE that I know so many women at play that I'm not enough.
And you know what I'm talking about, right. I'm not tall enough. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm just not enough. How could I be enough? I had a mental illness. I was not able to have my own child. I couldn't handle the pressures of my job. All I wanted was a finish line. I wanted to know that there was an end to this.
And Mary Jo kept reminding me, this was a journey of acceptance. Like I mentioned, I'm a marathon runner. Right. I wanted that 2016. Two miles. Don't forget the point to, I wanted that done. That's right. You got to do the point too. I wanted to come across that finish line, dust myself off and say, that was tough.
Give me a snack and I'm ready to move on, but that's not what mental illness does. I needed counseling and I needed medication. And I worked with a doctor because again, with medication, that was a battle. All I could think of, it says I'm weak, I'm sick. What is this all about? And he said, look, if you have diabetes, you take insulin.
If you have blood pressure issues, you take blood pressure medicine, you have a medical condition. It's oh, okay. It was a hard pill to swallow, literally. But I did, I also look back and I realize that this is there's so much more to the story that I could share. There's so many more battles to the story, but that's not actually my story.
My theme song is called overcomer. I stand here tonight to say, this is my story. I am an overcomer. Mental illness does not define me.
I will say it again. I will stand strong in my story that mental illness does not define me. Self and my God can define who I am.
the truth is bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, panic attacks, anxiety. They all have different causes. They have one thing in common. We're still afraid to have the conversation. And we need to have the conversation. I'm tired of a hiding from it. It is who I am. It's a big piece of who I am and I'm okay with that.
And I need to not fear anymore. There are people here tonight and out there who know me, who have never heard this part of my story. And it's time as I went through this journey, I clung to a verse from Psalms 1 39 and it goes like this. I will praise thee for, I am fearfully and wonderfully made marvelous.
Are that works? Am I saw? No. Right. Well, I am one of his marvelous works and I leave you tonight with this thought and a prayer that you always know that you are good enough and that you are wonderful. Thank you,
Tiffany: where you are in your journey, community is so key for where we're all going. And I'm on a mission to reach 100,000 people with this message of being scared, confident. So I would love it. If you would share your favorite episode with your friends, just pull up your text, send them a link. It'll take, like, two seconds the show isn't about me.
It's about helping other people on their journey of living full and complete. When we stepped totally. And into an understanding of our fear, we can step fully into our stories. As a thank you, I'm giving one fear interview to a listener, puts your name in the ring by texting me the word fear to 3 1 7 3 5 0 8 9 2 1.
The word fear, F E A R to 3 1 7 3 5 0 8 9 2 1. And over the next couple of weeks, we will pick one person to go through the fear and review. Thanks for listening.