#mentalhealthmonth #howfarwevecame #suchalongwaytogo
It’s mental health month and I’m guessing most us need a REAL brain break. If you didn’t have a diagnosed of mental illness after 2020, you might now, because 2021 is pretty scary too.
In all seriousness, I have dealt with my mental illness in the form of depression and extreme anxiety for most of my life. In the early years of my childhood, I think people thought I was just really shy and quite. When actually, I was terrified of screwing up or being noticed. I was beyond fearful of any attention. I didn’t know why I was that way back then as a small, innocent child but I do know now. Maybe I’ll explain that little secret one day… for now, I keep it to myself.
Through high school, I was seriously depressed and I questioned why I was even born most the time. I was sure that I was a burden to my parents, and basically everyone. I remember taking a whole bottle of Tylenol right in front of my parents and they didn’t even noticed. Of course, I don’t blame them now… as a kid your world view is pretty limited. However, at the time I felt that was confirmation to end my life as everyone’s burden; that I was truly a strain on them and things would be better if I was gone. I doubted they would even notice. If you believe your parents don’t love you, then how in the world would anyone else be able to love you ? Well, I didn’t die. I just got incredible sick to my stomach and very sleepy. Thank God nothing worse happened to me.
I carried that around with me and would experience good and bad days. As a young adult anxiety came in the form of doubt. I would get very fearful and insecure with choices that I had to make. Such as, my career, my friendships, my relationships, the way I looked or spoke, anything really. Sometimes my anxiety would be trigger by going places that I’d never been before, meeting people I didn’t know, or doing something that I hadn’t done before. I have terrible social anxiety and it was only made worse but my bad self-esteem.
Either way, it all came down to me doubting that I was good enough to handle situations we all face in life. In it’s worse form, I would go into full panic attack mode, limbs going numb, the ugly cry, snot and tear running down my face, and chocking on my own breath. Sometimes even passing out. It was for sure not my best look. It was embarrassing! I could never explain what was wrong but the feeling was really. I always believed I was going die, my heart was going stop. I was in danger and totally helpless.
After an attack, I just wanted to hide and never see another person ever again. I was the most tired I had ever been in my whole life. My dogs might have been my only really cure to calmness in the midst of the tears. Many times, I would hide under my blankets, and it was there in my pleadings with God, that I would beg Him to take that disgusting feel of helplessness and weakness away from me! I begged Him to stop allowing me to get that way, so trapped in the the panic and chaos of my invisible pain. Each time, God would gently ease my pain, calm my nerves, and rock me to sleep.
I know it may sound unheard of, or maybe part of my “panicked brain” but I mean it. I would feel my body being held, as if I was a baby being rocked to sleep. I still will feel that comfort every now and then. For instants, I was held and rocked to sleep the day that I got home after my recent surgery. I thought I might die from that (my anxiety at work). After a few too many nights of lack of sleep, I was held and gently rocked to sleep again. My nerves once again being put to rest. It may sound strange to some, but it is so reassuring to me.
My depression also has its way of sneaking back in from time to time. By taking advantage of cruel words or actions of people close to me. That’s usually how it slides right back in my life. Just taking advantages of any weak moments.
I’ve learned over the years, dealing with my depression that it is very sneaky! For that reason, I must always be on patrol! Depression is a lot like my anxiety in some ways, I have to be responsible in my own protection and care to a point, but also they are very different.
My anxiety can at times be out of my control. I don’t always know when it will come over me or what will set it off. No matter what, I have to be overprotective of my spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing. I have to take extra care for my environment, my company, and just take really good care of myself, inside and out. It’s really the best that I can do.
On the other hand, my depression I can protect myself from. I know she is a very tricky little shit and will slide right in when I am the most fragile. It can be something big or small, it doesn’t matter how strong I am or try to be. She’ll get in somehow. I have to call it out, name her. When the negative talk starts, the frustration over little things, the moodiness that I can’t explain, the exhaustion that snuffs my light right out, the carelessness….I have to be willing to stop and take a minute to examine the moment.
“Am I really feeling this way?” “Is this really me or is this depression?”
Calling my depression out has not only been helping in stopping it in it’s tracts but it also keeps me accountable for my actions. During an episode of major depression, I push everyone way. I am partly protecting myself but I am also, mostly hurting myself even more. That pushing doesn’t just hurt me, it hurts everyone around me. By calling my depression out right as I notice the change, I saving myself pain and others. I able to take the time I need to make the correction needed. It’s one of the most valuable lessons I have learned. But to do this you really have to choose to honest with yourself.
I’ve came a long way and it’s been one hell of a journey. My Counselor and Life Coach have been so important to my wellbeing. I don’t know where I’d be without them. Talk therapy is hard to get and it’s incredible expensive.
If it wouldn’t had been for the opportunity, my husband’s company gave us with Wellbeing; I don’t know what I would have don’t done all this time. But even with that help, it still took me two long difficult years to get help! Talk therapy should be as easy to get as birth control is right now!
I do believe more people are spreading the word and there’s a bit less judgment about mental illness. We now have therapy outlets like Better help Get Started (betterhelp.com) and Talk Space Online therapy with a licensed therapist (talkspace.com) Just to name a few. So excisable is getting better, it’s not perfect but it’s a step.
There’s so many books and podcast out there now to motivate you, help you through whatever it is you might be going through. What it really boils down to is YOU, what do YOU want? Are you willing to take the step, no matter how small it might be?
One thing that helped me was, if it’s confusing than that’s not of God but if it’s smooth and flows than that is God at work. This has really helped me decipher when something is my mental illness or the world at work or if it’s God. This is what directs my steps.
I hope that helps you too. Check out the links above and see if one is right for you. Check on your friends and your family. Times are getting better for many but some are still experiencing hard stuff and lonely times. Connect is important, so a quick text, call, email, or even stopping by to say “hey!” is more important then you might think!
Remember you are 1 of the 99 and well loved! Be safe out there!