There are times when writing interview features for The Bipolar Writer blog that it gets personal to me because I can directly relate to the subject of the article. When that happens, I feel as if I must tell the story right. Today I share the story of Isami Daehn, originally from Sagamihara, Japan— and currently lives in Florida. You can find her blog at https://happy-thinks.com
Joy Daehn: A Story of Overcomer
In every journey with a mental illness, we all start at the point where an event or something significant influences how your mental illness affects the rest of your life. For Isami Daehn, her mental illness started very young due to abuse.
“It’s hard to say if I was born with a mental illness or if it formed over time,” Isami explains about her mental illness origins. “I would say that it is my biggest curse, but also my biggest blessing.”
Since her childhood, Isami has always wanted to help others, find her purpose, and at the same time feel welcomed. Joy believes that her mental illness has allowed her to connect with so many wonderful people on her blog, but to reliving the trauma she faced a child is something she would never want to relive.
“There are good people in this world that sometimes ‘just don’t get it.’ They mean well, but they will never understand.”
On a daily basis Joy has to contend with her diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with dissociative symptoms, a diagnosis she finally got in February of 2018. Due to the fear about the stigma of mental illness Joy decided to put off evaluation— this is a common occurrence in this mental illness life.
“I honestly do not remember a time I have not struggled with some form of mental health,” she remembers, “I remember having suicidal thoughts as a child and being depressed as early as age nine.”
What Isami sees in her life is being able to understand what it is like to have suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks ruling her life. This understanding has allowed her to step into a place with other people that otherwise may not have permission to go. “And I say ‘with’ because I am still figuring this thing out.”
The hardest part of the daily routine of living with PTSD involves people who don’t know or don’t understand what it means to have a panic attack that is PTSD related.
“It has often made me afraid to go into social settings even though I enjoy being around people for the most part,” Joy explains about this type of anxiety.
To get through a single day Joy is very much a planner. Each day she has an agenda that Joy writes the day before, it helps her get through her daily grind. It has become a routine in Joy’s life, and it coincides with her mood journal that she keeps daily.
“This helps me clear my mind of any negativity. Prayer and meditation at the end of the day it also helps me reset my thinking,” Isami says, “I guess you could say it’s much mental preparation the day before. I know my mental illness isn’t going anywhere soon, so preparing to coexist with it seems to be the best option for me.”
Writing a mental health blog can be therapeutic and enlightening. I always ask my interviewees what they would like to share with the mental community— and this is what Joy asked me to share her little piece of wisdom.
- “I believe my blog has always been a place where people of any background can come over. I don’t believe there is a single person on the planet that is exempt from mental health issues.
- “But, if you read my posts you will probably notice that I speak from experience 99% of the time. So, from experience, I would share something with the faith community.”
- “If you read my story, you know the environment I grew up in did not believe in caring for mental health. You might relate to this if you grew up in a similar background. Although you may have left these teachings, there is a part of you that still nags at you and calls you a bad person for being the slightest concerned about your mental state.”
- “To this, I have to say; God did not only make you be a spiritual being. He created you with the intention to be a body, mind, and soul. Yes, caring for your spirituality is important for your soul, but neglecting the other two are completely contradictory to God’s design.”
- “You are not sinning for caring for your mental health. And trust me, the more you realize it’s okay to practice self-care, the more you will be able to care for others.”
Writing a mental health blog for Joy has done absolute wonders in her life. “Before the blog posts, I thought NO ONE understood the pain I was feeling. However, I started receiving messages upon messages from people just like me. These people and I have become a community, and it has meant the world to me,” Isami explains about her mental health blog.
For Isami, life itself makes life worth living every day. Living according to PTSD’s agenda can be quite miserable according to Joy, but along with the planners she uses she has a vision board full of pictures. It helps her to stay excited about the good things in life, to have something to look forward to in this life.
To end the interview, Joy had this to say:
“Have a support group. I sincerely don’t know where I would be without the support of my husband, sister, best friend, and my boss. Some people will truly care about you if you let them. You are worth being cared for!”
If you would like to know more about Isami journey with PTSD and her past you can follow the links below to pages from her blog.
I always like to end these interviews with my thoughts on the story I have shared with you in this feature on Isami Daehn. I am genuinely in awe that Joy dares to share her abuse story, it is something that I still struggle in my own journey—I barely talk about it. At some point, I hope to find the courage to do so.
Always Keep Fighting.
Interviewee: Isami Daehn
Interviewer/Author: James Edgar Skye