The Words From Actress Mariska Hargitay That Inspired My Mental Health Recovery

I think we all have someone we look up to. Someone who inspires us and motivates us. Someone who brings light to our darkest days. Someone who gives us hope.

For me, I have been inspired and deeply touched by Mariska Hargitay. You may know Mariska from her role as Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: SVU.” Mariska has done tremendous work through her foundation, the Joyful Heart Foundation, for victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Mariska’s advocacy and extraordinary compassion have inspired and motivated me to be a better person and to fight for change.

I have been struggling with mental illness for quite some time now — so much so that for several years I did not believe healing or recovery was possible. I thought I was hopeless. I did not believe I was worthy of ever getting better.

This past July, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Mariska and telling her the impact she has had on my life. I also was able to tell her about my struggles with mental illness and suicide. Mariska’s response provided me with such a renewed sense of hope and light:

“Nothing is more important than your healing.”

Simple words with a profound impact. Just a few weeks after our meeting, I attempted suicide for the seventh time — and came closer to losing my life than ever before. After I completed my hospitalization, it was recommended to me that I enter residential treatment. At first, I refused and did not want to even consider the idea.

Then I remembered what Mariska said to me:

“Nothing is more important than your healing.”

So I went. I spent nearly three months in a residential treatment center eight hours away from home. Though my three months spent in treatment were some of the most difficult of my life, they were also some of the most beautiful. I have no doubt that entering residential treatment saved my life.

Thank you, Mariska.

Image via Contributor.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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