We all struggle with mental health at some point in our lives. Everybody gets anxious about certain thing (ie job promotions or public speaking) or people go through bouts of depression (ie after the loss of a family member or getting fired), but some people just struggle to a point where they are consumed by their illness and the sad thing is that nobody wants to ever talk about it. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression when I was 18 and then diagnosed with Bi-Polar II when I was 19. I struggle with General Anxiety, Suicidal Ideation, and my Bi-Polar Disorder on a daily biases. I never understood why mental illness was so looked down upon. I mean nobody in their right mind would look at a cancer patient and tell them that its all in their head and that in their generation there was no such thing as cancer and yet that’s what people with mental illness hear all the time. I went into my deepest and longest depression when I was 15 and it lasted till almost my 18th birthday. I was so scared to turn to anybody in for help. I wouldn’t even talk to my own mother about for fear that I would be judged and told I was crazy. I remember one particularly bad night my mom heard me crying in the middle of the night and she came into my room and was holding me as she asked me what was wrong and to please just talk to her all I remember doing is shaking my head, sobbing and telling her to go away.
Eight years later and mental health is talked about more and there is less of a stigma, but there is still tons to be done. I tell people about what I deal with and they look at me like i have two heads or that I am going to fall apart. Getting a mental health diagnoses is the best worst thing. Its the best because it finally has a name and the worst cause it feels like a life sentence. There is not cure for any mental health illnesses, there is only treatments like medication, therapy and coping mechanisms (all of which I use to get me through the day). Some days always end up being better then others though. When your mood is set to a cycle of sadness and okayness its hard to have good days, but they days I spend with the people I love and the days I spend laughing till I cant breathe are always my favorite. My support system is my anchor to the light blue shallows of my illness. For as long as I have been going to therapy I have always used this photo as a reference to where my head is at on any given day. The lighter the blue the “happier” I am; the darker the blue the worse I am. On any given day I tend to stay in the lightish blue colors. It took a lot of fighting and admitting to myself and to my support system that I needed help. I think the hardest person to admit this to, besides myself, was my dad. My dad is a very strong very stubborn man. He struggles with anxiety and depression though will never admit it to anybody. He comes from a generation that thinks mental illness is a myth, but my dad put how he feels about it aside and he just say his daughter in pain and all he wanted to do was make it go away. He had been my strongest supporter throughout my journey and even though he may not always understand and he may think its foolish or all in my head he loves me anyway and will always listen to me when I talk.
Its really easy to judge people and to dismiss people, but its even easier to be polite and attempt to understand. If you have somebody in your life that is struggling or had confided in you be there for them, listen to them, and help them cope. Sometimes it takes tough love; sometimes it takes a gentle touch. If you are the one struggling don’t be scared to reach out, especially if you have tried before and it was not good. If you are struggling or even if you are in a goodish place and you have a friend that is struggling and is pulling you deeper into the black its okay to distance yourself or let go entirely even if that person is a family member. Most importantly just know its gets better. It ALWAYS gets better.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Trevor Project Hotline: 1-866-488-7386