Anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I’ve been diagnosed with a few mental illnesses. I’m very open and honest about this. It wasn’t always this way though. Only recently have I had a name to put on what I was going through. For the longest time I thought I was just lazy, stupid, or whatever negative adjective you can think of. It wasn’t until I had my first child that I learned that I wasn’t any of those things. After seeing a therapist for postpartum depression, I learned that my brain just worked differently. I would have to learn to do certain things to compensate for that.
Looking back on my life, I can see that I had been suffering through depression and anxiety for a very long time. At the time, I just thought I was a sad, weird kid. There are large chunks of my young life that I just don’t recall at all. That’s my brain’s way of protecting myself. I learned from my mom that a lot of that time consisted of me coming home from school in tears because of the bullying I experienced. Today, through the help of medication, I’m not as weepy as I once was. My depression is still there, it’s likely it always will be, but it’s under control now. My anxiety is a different beast altogether.
My anxiety manifests itself in self-doubt and constant worry. I’m scared I’ll leave my phone somewhere and lose it, I’m afraid I’ll leave one of the kids in the house, and I’m scared that I’ll forget to put on my son’s seat-belt. When driving I always worry about getting into an accident and sirens make me so anxious that I’ll be shaking when I leave the car.
The self-doubt has me thinking I’m not qualified to do anything but work a retail job the rest of my life. I’m constantly second-guessing my decisions and talking myself out of the things I want to do in life. Even now, in the back of my mind, there’s a small voice telling me that this website was a mistake and waste of money. I tell myself that no one is interested in the things I say and no one would be willing to help. If I listened to that voice, I’d settle for a shell of a life that would be barely worth living. I refuse to listen to it anymore.
I took a big step in a positive direction with this website and my poor broken brain has decided to kick my ass because of it. That’s okay though. We’ve had this fight before, and I intend to come out on top once again.
To anyone struggling the way I am now, don’t give up and don’t be ashamed of who you are and what you’re dealing with. Your illness is valid even though it is invisible. If you have the ability to seek out professional help, please do so. Trust me, once you find the right therapist (and it may take a couple of tries), it helps so much.
Don’t be afraid of medications either. If you need them, don’t be ashamed to take them. If you had asthma and needed an inhaler, or you were a diabetic and needed insulin you’d take those, right? Psychiatric medications are no different. Some of us need them to live the lives we want to live and be healthy and happy. There’s nothing wrong with that. Do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and happy and fuck anyone who tries to shame you for that.