May 2, 2016

May: Mental Health Awareness Month.


As I'm writing this, I'm drinking some tea and chilling out in my pjs. This is my comfort zone. However, this very exact set-up has been, and could still be, the most destructive thing I could do for myself.

"What does that even mean?" you probably say. Well, I've been dealing with depression for the past seventeen years. I was diagnosed when I was around ten or eleven, and it's been an ongoing battle for me, even in my adulthood. Not only do I suffer from that, I also have General Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Insomnia (all of which I am on medication for). Now, I'm not saying all this for anyone to give me a "Oh poor Monica" response. Never that, but I know I don't need it. If I've been dealing with it for this long I have many coping skills to handle things.

However, this shit is hard. Explaining my anxiety to people is ridiculously uncomfortable for me (even as I'm writing this I'm getting uneasy), and only about three of my close friend know about it. It seems as though I've actually recently just lost a friend because she didn't understand my anxiety well enough to bare with me and get that I'll be a little more difficult to deal with than your "average" person. That upsets me very much, because I love that girl and she's been one of my best friends since late high school. But I do understand that being the friend of someone with mental illness is damn near as stressful as it is actually having the damn disease. But the way I see it, she clearly couldn't deal with the stress anymore and thought it healthier for her to just let me go. Which is fine, and it shows me that she wasn't meant to be in my life in the first place if she didn't love me enough to stick around.

That is one of the major issues with mental illness - being vulnerable enough to be honest to the people around you and let them know what the deal is. Sometimes it works out for you, and sometimes it doesn't. That's just the way it. I'm not saying I'm screaming my lungs out on the top of rooftops saying "Hey guys, guess what meds I'm taking?!". Fuck no. It's just that you have to be very particular with how you broach this subject, and being careful who you tell it to in the first place.

Like I said, I have three two close friends who know of this. Other than that there my mother and my aunt. They know, and they've accepted it. I also see a therapist, and have been for a very long time. That's another thing - therapy is amazing. A lot of people are terrified of it because they don't want to sit down and tell a stranger all their secrets. Which is understandable. But guess what? Sometimes that's exactly what you need to get through this - a stranger with an unbiased opinion of you and who is educated in this exact field who will try their best to help you.

Going back to my introduction, sitting at home and relaxing is a wonderful thing. But sometimes that's exactly how those bad, ugly, and harmful thoughts start to brew. Isolation and idle time could be our (when I say "our", I mean mental illness sufferers like you and me) very worst enemy. Not to say that going out and enjoying the sunshine or whateverthefuck generic response people usually give us when we say we're feeling down, because that will not work completely for people who suffer from depression. But I do mean to find yourself, become aware of yourself, try to remember your positives, and just know that you can get through this. It will be hard - it will be hard as hell. But you have to remember that you do have the strength somewhere in there to go onto the next day.

We all have that strength. We just need to pull it out when we truly need it.

If you ever need health dealing with this, head over to the Mental Health Awareness website for resources and places in your area where you can get the help you need.

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