Broadcast reporter and content creator
Living with anxiety and OCD

Ellen Meny’s mental health conditions may have given her sleepless nights, irrational fears, and intrusive thoughts, but her life is also filled with work as a television reporter and the love and support of her family, friends, and pet hamster Martini. Struggling with anxiety and several pivotal moments of thinking, “Huh. I’m guessing most people don’t think that,” led her to seek out therapy, resources, and medication. Ellen believes that living well is taking the twists and turns as you go and trying to live the life that’s important to you.

Ellen’s Story

What is your mental health condition?

I’ve been diagnosed with both Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at separate times in my life.

How has your condition impacted your life? 

Now that’s a question. Let me fire one back – how has it not impacted my life?

Everything I do is tinged by anxiety, because it’s part of me. Intertwined with my very being – not to be dramatic or anything. But seriously, it’s hard to write about specifics because it’s something I think about every day.

It’s offered me sleepless nights, irrational fears, intrusive thoughts, and emergency room bills for imagined illness. It’s given me acid reflux, headaches, a discomfort with eye contact, and a killer sense of humor, if I do say so myself. Ha ha. Just kidding.

When were you first aware of your condition and what was your most difficult time?

I have this very vivid memory of lying awake in my bed one night when I was in high school. I couldn’t sleep because every time I heard a plane flying overhead, I was convinced it would fall out of the sky, crash into my house and kill my entire family. And the next morning I was like, “Huh. I’m guessing most people don’t think that.”

Thankfully and unfortunately, mental illness runs in my family, so it wasn’t a shocking discovery. I’m grateful to my family for being so supportive as they guided me towards therapy and resources.

My most difficult time came years later in my mid-20s. One month in the dead of winter, I came to believe I had a fatal illness. If that wasn’t enough, I developed obsessions and compulsions around said illness. It was another, “Huh. I’m guessing most people don’t think that” moment that led me to a fantastic therapist, another diagnosis, and eventually medication.

What is your life like now and what does living well look like for you?

Save for the state of the world, my life is pretty darn good. Thanks to therapy and medication, I’m now happy and healthy (save for the occasional ice cream scoop). I’m a successful television reporter and author of articles and short stories. Currently working on a book – we’ll see where that goes.

While treatment isn’t a straight road, I’m thankful to have a great support network and access to healthcare. To me, living well is just that – taking the twists and turns as you go, and trying to live the life that’s important to you. At least, that’s what I’m trying to do.

What do you do to manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

The usual suspects: intermittent therapy, intermittent medication, exercise, healthy foods, and my pet hamster, Martini.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?

The only true positive of my mental health condition is that it’s inspired me to educate and uplift others who live with mental health conditions.

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours? 

This may be cheesy, but one of my favorite neutral statements is this too shall pass. I use it when I’m feeling anxious, but also as a gentle reminder to myself when I’m in a moment I want to remember. Both bad and good passes, and it’s a reminder to stay strong during the bad and cherish the good.

What motivated you to join The Stability Network?

When I first started my career in television, I was terrified that being open about my mental illness would get me fired or blacklisted. As such, I felt really alone.

Once I achieved some success, I decided that I would use my writing and public speaking skills to ensure no one else felt as lonely or scared as I did. The Stability Network helps me strive towards that goal. So, here I am!

What resources have helped and/or inspired you on your journey?

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk really opened my eyes to the connection between body and mind, and the way trauma interacts with both. And My Age of Anxiety by fellow Stability Leader Scott Stossel allowed me to see a fellow anxiety-haver succeeding in a field very similar to mine.