It wasn’t until I was on the upward climb of my metal health journey with major depressive disorder and anxiety that I actually felt able to share my struggles. It took me a long time to even let my closest friends know what was going on, let alone the whole world!
You see mental health issues are invisible and highly stigmatized. It’s not like a broken bone or a critical illness where people accept that your ill and can’t do certain things like get out of bed or take care of your life.
But even though YOU can’t see it, I can HEAR it and it’s loud and overbearing and relentless. It’s like having a war inside your own head and your losing the battle. It’s constant self doubt, it’s hating yourself so hard that you can’t even bare to breathe anymore, it’s being so unequivocally sad that your body becomes broken and useless. To top it all off is the paralyzingly fear. Fear of getting better, fear of staying the same, fear of the unknown, fear of the the what if’s and the should haves. The constant pelting of thoughts, emotions and feelings that seem to never rest.
When I was in my deepest darkest depression I was filled with so much shame and self loathing about not being able to be a normal adult and just get up and do life like the rest of the world.
You see my illness was shrouded in secrecy and covered up by makeup and a fake smile. I had had years of pretending I was ok so I was well versed at making my outside appear normal and well rounded while my inside scratched and gnawed away at my authentic being. That’s part of the problem. When I would share how I was truly feeling I was met with comments like “well you look fine”
Comments like this only made it worse and more secluding. I looked fine only to not make you feel uncomfortable around me. I looked fine so that the world wouldn’t judge the fact that I could barely get out of bed and most of my hours during the day were spend sleeping to escape the endless thoughts I had. I looked fine because I had so much shame and guilt that I wasn’t fine and didn’t have a good reason to be this way.
My life isn’t terrible I have a loving husband, really great kids, supportive caring parents and sibling. I couldn’t justify feeling the way I did. I had no real reason. But despite trying to logic my way through it there was no escaping it.
I’m fortunate that I am seriously stubborn and very tenacious. This means that I had enough will left in my being to claw my way out of the depths and reach out for help. Not everyone is as fortunate to be able to do this. Some people are stuck, some people can never see an out, they don’t know how or don’t have the energy to escape their reality.
Long story short it took years to find the right medicine, it took years of one on one counselling and group therapy, it took years of relentless mood tracking and self care tactics to finally break through and feel some level of normalcy.
My darkest year was 2012 it was so bad I could no longer work and would spend extended periods of time crying and sleeping. If I was truly being honest I was suffering for many years before that well into my childhood when I struggled with self worth and self image. Always a resounding feeling of never being quite “right” in the world.
My best year of my entire life has been 2017. By far and large I have expanded my whole being farther than I thought I ever could. I can’t really pin it on one thing. There wasn’t a magic pill or potion that changed me. Being on the right medicine mix helps (which let me add took 1.5 years of trial and error before me and my Dr’s figured that out) but the medicine is really only a small piece of the pie. The medicine helped take the edge off enough to get me up from bed. It helped me not uncontrollably cry all the time or lash out in volts of anger towards the people I loved the most. It allowed me the tiniest slice of silence in my head where I could stir up the notion of hope.
Once I had that it was A LOT of hard work. Acknowledging that I had coping behaviours that were no longer serving me in my life, poking holes in the stories I told myself about who I am and how worthless I was. It came in the form of journals, therapy sessions, physical activity, being in nature, hard work was done in removing toxic people in my life, changing my diet, allowing myself to be vulnerable, opening up to new people in my life. The hard work was being brave and never giving up.
I still have my down times now. I get depresses from time to time but I’m much faster at catching the feelings and taking action on the cues. I diligently track my mood and it’s fluctuation, I take my medicine every single day, I have the most healthy balanced lifestyle I have ever had, I am growing spiritually and learning how to connect with my true inner voice who is WAY nicer than that bully that used to hang around in my head. I’m surrounding myself with likeminded people going in the same direction as I am.
With all that being said, if your struggling please reach out. Talk to a friend who you think will get it, go see your Dr., read a self help book, and know your not alone. Also know your suffering does not need to endless there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel I PROMISE!
If your not a person suffering from mental health issues then I suggest you get educated on it. So many people in our society suffer from mental health issues. If your life hasn’t been touched by someone who has struggled I’m sure it will be in the future. Just understand it is an illness. Just like any other illness we can’t just wish it away. We can’t just think positive and it will be over, we can’t just get over it.
Sending all the love and positive vibes out into the world today. I am so happy and fortunate to be on this side of mental health. I am so proud off all that I have done to got home here. And know I’m proud of you too!