I am not one for formalities but here is my "official" bio:
"Terri and her husband have owned a Real Estate Investment company for the past 25 years. She is also currently employed as a Mortgage Loan Originator. She is listed in the International Who's Who of Business Women; the National Who's Who of Business Professionals and the Nationwide Register's Who's Who in Executives. In 1997, she founded the "Sharing from the Heart" program, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing immediate assistance to those in need and served as director for 10 years.
She is an advocate for mental health awareness and volunteers with the National Alliance on Mental Illness participating in Awareness Walks and as a Recovery Speaker. She served on the Board of Directors for the Jefferson County Comprehensive Services for 3 years.
Her journey and triumph over depression are chronicled on her website, www.terrikarch.com, and her blog provides positive support for individuals dealing with mental illness. Her family profile is listed on the National Website for Families for Depression Awareness and her story has been featured on local TV and radio stations and in National Newsletters.
Her speaking program, "Changing the Face of Depression" highlights successful individuals living with a mental illness and has been presented to organizations across the state of Illinois and surrounding states.
Terri has been involved with pageantry for over 30 years as a contestants, judge, director and coach. She spent 10 years as a volunteer with the Miss America Organization as a Local Pageant Director and State Staff Member for the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant.
In 2012, Terri was named Mrs. Illinois International 2012 and travelled over 10,000 miles during her year of service sharing her story of hope and breaking through the stigma of depression.
Terri is a writer of Christian poetry and has also performed Christian rap music. She and her husband Rich will celebrated their 35th Wedding Anniversary in 2023. They reside in Mt. Vernon, Illinois with their fur babies, Bella Bleu and Echo. They have two children - Summer and Noah.
Well - there you have it. My life in a nut shell. On paper, it seems I had the perfect little life. But if my life was so perfect, why did it feel like I was dying inside? I spent so many days just going through the motions - putting on that "happy face" but then coming home to my bedroom closet and laying in a fetal position for what must have been hours. Unable to move or think or communicate. I had become a shell of the person I once was.
My father passed away in 2004 at the young age of 60 after a long battle with diabetes and, we think, lung cancer (more on that in my blog). Although looking back, I realize my battle with depression began when I was 13, I believe my father's death was the trigger that lead to my downfall and culminated with my plan to take my own life.
You see, when you are in the depths of the depression, you do not think clearly. I often tell people that it is like you are in the bottom of a well and can see the light above you, but you just cannot reach it. Or like the picture at the top of this page, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel - but you just cannot get to it.
Until my diagnosis in 2007, I thought I was simply "going crazy". No one ever told me that what I was going through was a medical condition and had a name - and could be treated. As a Christian, I thought I needed to pray harder. At times I even thought God was mad at me and that is why I could not overcome this illness
Understand this - God is not mad at you.
He is a healer and still does miracles but sometimes we need the help of physicians guided through God's hands.
After my diagnosis, I started researching depression and read every article I could get my hands on. I discovered that depression is a biological, chemical imbalance in the brain and can be treated. I chose to treat mine with a holistic approach - medication, diet, exercise, proper support and my faith in God.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
There is help and there is recovery.
I am living proof of that.