Mental Illness Warrior
My name is China McCarney. I am a VP & CFO at the company I work for. I am a former professional baseball player. I am a best-selling author. This is all nice but does not really say anything about who I am.
Most proudly, I am a Panic Attack Sufferer and Mental Illness Warrior.
I had my first Panic Attack in 2009 and sought help in 2015. You read that right. For 6 years I suffered in silence, masked my symptoms with alcohol abuse, and put on a great front for anyone around me so I would not be perceived as weak or different.
Simply put, I was terrified by the stigma that surrounded Mental Health Issues.
In 2015 my dad could see how debilitating this was all becoming for me. He would continue to send me resources and one of them happened to be the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. I browsed around on there and immediately felt more comfortable. There was information, education and other people’s stories that made Mental Health feel “ok” and “normal” for the first time in my life. I felt as if I wasn’t alone and a bit more ready to seek help.
Shortly after discovering ADAA I had the worst Panic Attack of my life and decided it was time to reach out for help. This was my “rock bottom” moment. I started Therapy shortly after this.
I started Therapy because ADAA had changed my view on the topic with their information. I had always thought Therapy was for people that were suffering from more mentally debilitating situations than I was. After reading more from ADAA, I realized this was not the case and that Therapy was normal and a great place to start as far as Mental Health Resources.
This changed my life. Therapy gave me permission to be the 100% true version of myself. I did not have to be ashamed anymore and I realized that it was ok to not be ok sometimes. This changed what I thought was my biggest weakness, (my anxiety, depression and panic attacks) into my biggest strength. I decided I would use my struggle to help other people for the rest of my life.
In the Winter of 2016 I decided to do a Mental Health Awareness campaign on Social Media and share my story. The reaction was incredible and I raised a bit of money that I wanted to donate to a great Mental Health cause. I chose ADAA and have been partnering with them ever since to share my journey.
I took the action a step further and founded the Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression Foundation (aaadf.org) in the Spring of 2017. With this foundation we raise funds and awareness to help anyone struggling from a Mental Health struggle. We help provide Free Therapy to those that have barriers in getting the help that they need. This helps the journey come free circle as Therapy, and the encouragement from ADAA, is what helped start to turn my journey around.
I have also just launched my Mental Health Manual and Companion Journal for pre-order for Mental Health Awareness Month. All proceeds raised will be donated to Mental Health Foundations like AAAD and ADAA. The Manual and Journal are great resources to get to work on your mental health. Just you and your thoughts, pen to paper, exploring Mental Health resources that have been proven to help. You can get yours today at mentalhealthmanual.org
I am so grateful to ADAA for helping my Mental Health Journey personally and also inspiring me to continue to try and Be The Change for Mental Health!
Read China's earlier ADAA blogs: