Mentally healthy human beings do not seek to destroy others. If you are comfortable with who you are and where you are in life and understand that struggles are part of the path, we will seek to support each other, not put others down to feel better.
Part of the reason why I have this blog is work towards ending the stigma and prejudice that surrounds mental illness. I no longer want to live in a world where mental illness was equated with weakness, and shame. I no longer want to live in a world that forces people to suffer in silence when there are solution readily available to help. It doesn’t make sense.
I believe that we need to share our experiences, so someone who is suffering in silence may read these words and won’t feel weird or broken or ashamed or afraid to seek treatment. There are a lot of misunderstanding and fears surrounding mental illness and treatments. The more people stand up and speak up about their own experience, the more it will be normalized and eventually accepted.
We shouldn’t developed a habit of not sharing my health issues with anyone, out of fear of mocking, judging or disbelief.
I’ve struggled with depression since my teenage years, but only realized it was a mental illness in my adulthood after a traumatic experience sent me into crisis mode. I was crying all the time. I started having flashbacks from my high school days. I started having vivid nightmares again and they are so much worse than just bad dreams. I have always worried about everything, but it reached a level never felt before. I started checking my locks and if all the windows were closed. Sometimes I had to do so 3 or 4 times because I wasn’t sure. I would hear a sound and jump. I would roam the house at night looking for intruders. It got to the point where our dog would also do rounds convinced something was off. I was (and still am) tired all the time, and irritable most of the time.
I made an appointment to see my doctor and it trembled as I sat there explaining what I was feeling. She asked me questions that left me speechless. She made me realize that I had been suffering from depression and anxiety since my teenage years. I let my doctor help me. I started a low dose of an antidepressant, and I waited to see if anything was going to change. It helped, but wasn’t enough yet, so we upped the dose and it took me from being a complete mess to being able to function.
There is no shame in asking for help. This one is important: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
I still fight depression and general anxiety, but I now have tools to control it. It doesn’t spiral uncontrollably as it used to. I still cry, but not has often as before.
One of my biggest triggers right now is my job. Due to my multiple chronic illness, I find myself struggling every single day to do the job that used to be so easy for me. I am so anxious about making a mistake and getting fired.
The other trigger are the people I love. Because I suffer from physical and mental pain every single day, I hate seeing my love ones in pain. I need everyone to be happy all the time, which is just not in human nature.
I also fear something bad will happen when I’m not around. Every single time I say goodbye to someone I cared about, my brain plays out in vivid detail how I will remember this as the last time I see them. Just earlier today, I wasn’t feeling well and needed to take a nap, but didn’t want to because my daughter was leaving for her dads place in a few hours. She told me to stop it and take care of myself, that she wouldn’t die this week and would be back home soon. I hate that my anxiety affects the people I love.
Depression and anxiety is a journey. For the first time, I’m actually walking in the right direction. I know that the path isn’t in a straight line and that there will be obstacles, but acknowledging that I have an illness and taking real steps to help manage it is a great stepping stone.