Thursday, January 7, 2016

MY MENTAL HEALTH JOURNEY


I honestly don't even know where to start this thing so I guess let's just go back to the beginning of my mental health journey. Sometime in 2009 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression, and Social Anxiety. It took until 2011 before I finally found any type of medication that made a huge difference. Finally, medication along with years of therapy seemed to be working, I was ecstatic and so ready to start living my life. I've since stopped therapy but have continued taking my medication religiously, which is normal and what was suggested to me by my doctors. For four years I've been living my life and doing exactly what my doctors have suggested and I've felt great, Like I was finally living my life to the fullest. Everything was fine until about a year and a half ago, something changed and I'm not sure I can pin point exactly what it was. I felt like maybe the medication wasn't working as well as it used to and so my doctor upped my dosage and suggested that if it didn't work we should maybe try a new medication. Let's just say...I made it work.

Fast forward to May of 2015 I graduated with my bachelors degree in psychology, and it was time to get a job or apply for grad school. So many life decisions, I was overwhelmed. Then suddenly I was experiencing so much pain on my right side and back and the doctors told me I needed to have my gallbladder removed. For about a month I had to take some pretty heavy pain meds just to survive the day in bed. After that month or so it was finally the day of my surgery. Unfortunately for me that meant that I was unable to walk in my graduation ceremony because my surgery was the same day. I opted to do the surgery because I was tired of being in pain and I wouldn't be able to walk anyway with the way I was feeling. Now fast forward a month or so, I'm basically recovered from surgery and am completely off of pain medication. It is then that I start to realize that my medications aren't working like they should be. I proceed to blame it on the surgery and recovery process and decide to push through. I cancel a doctors appointment because I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling mentally and physically. Clue #1 that something is wrong. I tell myself that if I start eating right (and more because I was hardly eating at this point) and exercising all this will go away. Problem solved. So I do just that and pretend that it's working.

Next comes the fall/winter season. The sun comes up later and sets earlier. This is brutal for anyone with depression as sunlight is a form of therapy for us. Every fall/winter season my depression and anxiety tends to flare up. I've always had to deal with it and somehow I make it through. Until this year. This year it was different but I decided to pretend like it wasn't and everything was fine. I pretended that yeah my "bad days" were just because it was winter and I'd be fine soon. Then my "bad days" became more frequent and now here we are. January 2016. A week into the new year and I feel like I'm drowning. I've pretended for too long, I simply cannot do it anymore. I'm scared out of my mind because I'm feeling these feelings that I haven't felt for years. I'm desperate for help but don't want anyone to know because in my head I will then appear weak to them. I worked so hard to be happy and well, I don't want to go back to being that person who is just trying to live day to day. The person just going through the motions of life. The unhappy person who puts on a smile so that no one will ask what is wrong. The person who pretends everything is fine when it really isn't. Somehow I let myself become that person again. I'm embarrassed, ashamed, I just want to be happy. If I pretend to be happy eventually I will be right? Wrong.

Tuesday January 5, 2016 is the day that I finally admitted to myself and to my doctor that I wasn't okay and probably haven't been okay for a good while now. Now that I've said it out loud I feel so much better but I am also a nervous wreck. I didn't realize just how bad I had let it get until I was no longer pretending. With that mask ripped away I realized just how far I let this go when I shouldn't have. I'm back to where I started four years ago and that scares the heck out of me. My doctor and I decided to change my medication completely. Something I haven't done in four years and something that when done previously had never been a good thing. Changing medications is scary, you're messing with the chemicals in your brain after all. We're talking side effects that range from insomnia to not being able to wake up. From a jittery all around feeling to being numb to everything. From suicidal thoughts/actions to manic episodes. I'VE HAD THEM ALL. That's scary to say and something that I've not previously shared outside of a few people but now it's out there. I preach so much about understanding mental health and taking care of yourself yet here I am...a mess. Lying to everyone saying that I've got this figured out when I really don't.

So this is how I deal with it. I'm sharing my story so that someone else might not feel so alone. So that people see that yes while depression/anxiety/ptsd is manageable it's something that's going to be a life long process. I thought I found my fix four years ago and I did for the time being, but I'm a different person now. I've grown up and changed since then. Because of that I now have to find my new normal, my new happy. It's going to take me awhile to get there and it's probably going to be very challenging but I know I can do it. I've done it before and I'll do it again. There will be bad days and there will be good but all I've ever wanted in life is to be happy. I know that this is what I have to do to achieve that. That this is something that's going to help me grow as a person and be able to help others out there who might not have the amazing support system that I do. I know that I have to go through this to learn something. Whether I learn something that ends up helping me or someone else I'm not sure, but there's a reason for everything. There's a reason for this.

This is my now. This is where I begin 2016. This is where I start to live again.

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad you're working to get back to your new normal. It's easy to tell others not to give up and to do what's needed to be healthy, but it's harder to make yourself take that same advice. Just remember that you deserve happiness. <3

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    1. Definitely. Thank you so much! <3

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  2. It breaks my heart that you've been struggling for so long but it also pieces it back together to know that you're actively seeking help and starting a path to getting back to a good place. A new kind of happy/normal. One thing stuck out for me reading this: you said "I've done it before and I'll do it again." Yes. You. Can. and yes you will. I'd be plastering that all over my house, in every room: "I've done it before and I can do it again." There's your mantra, my friend. :) I know we don't know each other well at all but I kind of feel like you're my friend already because we both love Hope. :)

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. Oh Tanya, thank you so much for the kind words. We definitely need to chat and get to know each other more. <3

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    2. Yes we do... let's make that happen. :)

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  3. The Fun Times is 100% free, and is delivered instantly, every week, to your email inbox. If you sign up now, I'll also throw in a copy of my "Stop Your Seriousness" Ecourse and my book, Ten Ways You Can Be Happier...Right Now! guarantor

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