There’s something that’s been begging me to write about this, so here it is.
This is important.. 1 in 5 people suffer from a mental illness, that’s outstanding. There are so many people who refuse to get help. There are so many people that have no clue that what is “wrong” with them is due to a chemical imbalance.
We all know I’ve been very open on here about my life and my mental health struggles, at times too open. The sole purpose of my opening up was to get other people to realize that they aren’t alone in feeling a certain way and that there are actually people who understand. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for an anonymous twitter user who shared her story with mental illness. I remember reading her story almost four years ago, the tears poured out of me as I finally found that someone else felt the exact same way I did.. and my feelings didn’t make me crazy. I happened across her story and my only hope is that my story does the same for someone else.
I’d forgotten how good it felt to write. I’d forgotten how good it felt to let my feelings flow through my fingers.
My entire life, I thought I was crazy, granted everyone only ever called me crazy. I was labeled over emotional and absolutely insane by my family and peers. I didn’t grow up in a white picket fence house. I grew up in a damaging environment where everyone was more or less fucked up than I was. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have low self esteem. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t followed by a black cloud.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve battled depression and anxiety. Anxiety goes back as far as being 6, when I would hide in my room from my uncle and peel the wall because I was afraid of him. Depression has always been an uphill battle that I beat on most days, but when I was 8 I was sure I was insane for having thoughts of peaceful death. Events a few years later, led to self mutilation and reckless drinking at the bright age of 14. The older I got the more I realized that perhaps I truly did need help.
Having nowhere to turn I went to the internet, which led me to what I had thought.. Depression. I remember the day I had finally gotten the guts to tell my mother I needed help, to which she replied, you’re crazy. The words that I’d already heard from guys in school where now being used by my mother and I started believing them. I labeled myself for years with the word crazy. Having so many tell me that I was, I no longer tried to fight it. With the label, low self esteem and stress from a less than pleasant home life lead to destroy myself with food. The depression lead me to food and I learned to eat my feelings instead of actually dealing with them. Weight gain, poor grades, low self esteem, anxiety and depression all surrounded me throughout high school but still.. everyone only saw crazy.
When I decided to get help four years ago, it was the best decision I’d made in my short life. It felt better to know that I wasn’t in fact, crazy. It was liberating to know that I wasn’t alone in fighting something I couldn’t control.. an illness. Getting help was never something that I was afraid of, I did have some reservations. I did wonder what people would think of me for going to therapy but that was my own ignorance; it was the stigma that encompasses mental health. Having someone listen to me and tell me that what I’m going through is normal and not in anyway my fault was liberating. I was able to realize and decipher why I was feeling a certain way. I was able to learn ways to cope with my depression and anxiety.
Nothing makes me feel better than hearing people say that they are getting help. Celebrities are coming out left and right encouraging people to speak up because not enough people do. We need to talk about it more. We need to do more so that people can start getting treated because it’s so hard to find good quality help and it’s even harder to find affordable help. It’s like taboo to speak of mental illness and no one likes to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. I’m tired of there being a stigma surrounding what it means to be mentally ill. I’m tired of people being okay with me breaking my arm but not with my mind being a little bit sick.
The problem is we all grow up thinking that our brain, the powerhouse, can’t breakdown. We grow up thinking that our brain is too strong. There’s this stigma and so much misinformation. I’ll admit I contributed to the stigma at one point… A few months ago, when I was diagnosed with PTSD, I looked at my psychiatrist as if she were insane. I heard her words but I didn’t believe that I had that. I think we all think this to an extent, we all think of a war hero when we think of someone who suffers from PTSD. We think of someone who’s seen some shit, who’s been through hell and back… Literally. I had this awful thought that PTSD was something you “earned” because you fought for something bigger than yourself. I had this mentality, and it’s hard to change because there’s so much we don’t know but it is possible to change it. We can end the stigma around mental illness. We just have to speak up .
I learned to take care of myself, mentally. I learned to be nice to myself and I learned to let go of people who just don’t want what’s best for me. Some days are still terrible. Truthfully, the past few weeks.. the past month, has been the absolute hardest I’ve had in a long while. I hadn’t been taking care of myself and it made the fall that much harder. I’ve been having a hard time.. and that’s okay because I know that tomorrow I can take care of myself and do better. Everyday is not going to be great and that’s okay, it’s perfectly normal. It’s okay to fall apart, as long as you remember that you have to get back up .
If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, know that I’m always free to talk or listen. You’re welcome to message me anyway you please or reach out to someone.. You’re not alone in this.