If you’d told me that I would be starting a blog dedicated to the promotion of mental health and the many topic threads woven in and around it…well, let’s say I didn’t see this coming. Before we move on, let me introduce myself and how the topic of mental health became one of importance to me personally.

“My name is Melissa Cassidy, and I am working my way out of a mental health crisis.”

Defining Mental Health Crisis

For the sake of this article and respect for those who suffer more severe mental health issues, it is crucial to determine what is meant by the words: Mental Health.

Dictionary.com defines Mental Health as psychological well-being and satisfactory adjustment to society and the ordinary demands of life.

So a CRISIS of mental health is a temporary disruption of the above definition and not to be confused with Mental Illness, which reflects a more severe and permanent state of ill health. I do not suffer from mental illness (no matter what the men in my life may tell you).

Burning Out

Crisis of Hope

In my most depressed moments, I wrestled with the desire to live. There was never active planning to end my life…just not caring if anything terrible happened to me and wondering how I could continue to go through the motions. I was aware of the danger, but as much as I tried to believe otherwise, my future looked hopeless.

Crisis of Faith

Even though I was embracing and practicing my spiritual beliefs more devotedly than ever, it was not bringing me the lasting comfort and joy that it should have, and I wasn’t becoming a more loving person towards others. Discussion suggested that even my expressions of worship were coming from an unhealthy place, and that made me feel like a failure in my faith. Despite attempts to focus on gratitude because I had a terrific job, a comfortable home and a family who loved me, none of it meant anything anymore.


Angry and disillusioned with life, I was lonely and isolated in my job. Even worse was the emptiness and the pain I felt at home. Exercise, which had always been important to me, became overwhelming and non-existent. My eating habits spiralled out of control with me, alternating between eating nothing at all or eating too much. For the first time, I felt powerless to change my behaviours. After work, I came home, often spending the evenings sitting on the couch, alone and tired, cuddling my two doggies before going to bed early. Social media, which had previously been fun in the past, no longer felt like a safe place to express myself.

Does Anyone Hear Me?

I didn’t fully comprehend what was happening to me, so I tried to talk about it with close confidants, but even to me, it came out sounding like petty complaining. I don’t think people realized how truly bereft I was. Maybe they heard me but didn’t know how to help. I can’t speak for or blame them because I didn’t understand myself. I was becoming an increasingly negative and cynical person.

A Decision

Ah-Ha Moment

One day, amid a relationship crisis, I just realized that I needed to make a change. I couldn’t live like this anymore. The pain was too much. I saw my entire life and all the decisions I’d made that lead up to where I was and realized that I’d made some fundamental miscalculations. This was not the life I had imagined for myself.


I quit my job. This wasn’t a new idea for me. I’d been wrestling with the decision for a few years but had felt incapable of making the choice. I was torn. I was fearful of making a mistake and suffering potential consequences as a result. What about the beautiful people in the organization I served? I genuinely cared about the work that I did every day and was pretty good at it. Still, my heart yearned for something different, and it would not be quiet.


Perhaps an extended break was needed to rest and sort out what was broken so that I could move forward. At that moment, I didn’t care if it cost me my 25-year marriage. When my husband understandably questioned my choice, I told him that I couldn’t do it anymore, and if he couldn’t handle it, I would sign the divorce papers and leave him with everything. I just didn’t care.

Extreme Measures

Aware that taking an unpaid sabbatical with no job landing afterwards was extreme, I was certain that if I didn’t make a change, I was moving closer towards a mental health threshold that I didn’t want to cross. I needed a radical shift and tried to do it as sanely as possible.

God bless my husband. He didn’t take our marital assets and run. I know he was genuinely concerned about my well-being.

What Have I Done?

Anxiety Strikes

I woke during the night after giving my notice absolutely terrified of what I had just done. Was this a breakdown? Had I just committed career suicide? What if, during my employment break, something terrible happened? A fire. A storm. What if my employment reputation was ruined? What did this say about me and my character?

Faith Overcomes Fear

Even as I felt fear gripping my heart and the urge to apologize to everyone and say it was all a terrible reaction to an overly emotional day, I felt a calm settle over me. You see, I breathed a prayer at that moment and sensed that everything was going to be okay. After that night, I only felt confident that I was making the right decision for me and, ultimately, my family.


Worse Before Better

It wasn’t the end of my troubles. I had to deal with the mixed reactions to my decision, possible misunderstanding of my motives and the discomfort of transition. It was still three months before I could hand my duties over to my replacement so I could make my exit. That process pushed me even closer to the point of mental breakdown. I was caught between my desire to finish well, which meant increased work performance while experiencing the fragmented ability to cope, which had brought me to the decision to leave in the first place. I did my best, but I cried a lot.

Financial Preparations

Since our household was losing my income for a year, I began making practical changes in our budget and implementing them immediately, even though I was still technically working.

Hope Emerges

Rough Landing

The first month at home was rough emotionally and physically. All the emotions I had kept in check in order to function emerged full force. It was not pretty.

Physical Challenges

In addition to the emotional fallout, I was physically hurting from a recent onset of sciatica after years of sitting at an office desk and exercise neglect. Instantly my daily structure was gone. My main focus was on just getting up every morning to do basic tasks, stretch and go to therapy appointments. Quickly though, life improved, and I expanded my daily routine. I was now experiencing the benefits of rest and stress management.

Benefits of Rest

• Renewed Desire to Live

• Positive Connections with Family & Friends

• Renewed Faith

• Increased Creativity

Thankfully, I’m going to be okay. It also turns out that all the fears I had were unfounded. There has been a positive impact in every way—including my relationship with my husband and our finances! It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As it turns out, my faith didn’t fail me. It sustained me while I made an alarmingly unconventional choice. My faith compels me to be vulnerable here and share my brokenness with you at the risk of being judged because I believe I’m not the only one who struggles.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Alan Z. Feuer

Paying It Forward

Starting Here

This blog is a result of this challenging season of my life and is dedicated to helping, educating and encouraging people who are not okay.

Helping Others by Writing

I recognize that I am fortunate to have the option of leaving my job to create space for recovery and pursuing my creative dreams. With that, I feel the weight of responsibility to help others through my writing here.

Information & Tools

If I can provide information and tools that allow others to assess their mental health and implement strategies for improving it, then my own experience has some greater purpose.

Future Book

Another one of my dreams for this year is to write a book called Leaving Busy: Coming Home to Save My Soul”, which will chronicle my sabbatical journey, where it leads, and how others can find ways to implement the power of rest and refocus in their lives. I plan on sharing it with my readers here first when it is published.

The Hope Formula

In conclusion, there’s a wonderful program I participated in a few years ago called The Genesis Process. I dusted off my workbook and rediscovered their Hope Formula, which accurately reflects the path leading to hope that I have experienced.

Faith leads to risk Risk leads to change Change leads to hope, Hope leads to more faith …and the cycle repeats.

The Genesis Process Workbook by Michael Dye

I think this world could use a little more hope, don’t you?

What causes a mental health crisis? What went wrong? That’s the million-dollar question.

Please join me next week for my next post, “Mental Health Crisis-3 Risk Factors to Avoid”, where I share my take on why people hit difficult times. To make sure you don’t miss the next post-release, sign up for our emails.


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Thanks for reading!

Melissa Cassidy 

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