World Mental Health Day

In the last year I really realized how important mental health is. I truly believe that mental health is more important than physical health. I believe that mental health contributes to a lot of our physical health problems. All of that aside, I think today is a good time to talk about something I have been wanting to talk about for awhile. Something I was afraid to make public.

I have spent a better part of the last year wanting to take some to talk about this on my blog. But honestly, I was concerned about how I would feel if people outside of the internet found out. I have some very bored and nosy people in my life that have no idea how to show compassion to others. These same people do not know when it is an appropriate time to bring something up. More so, I was concerned about what those people would think. I was terrified they would think less of me, or make fun of me for getting the help I realized I needed. So I kept that part of my life off the internet until I realized the other day that I needed to say something…

No one says a word when someone is diagnosed with a disease or alignment. It is nothing but love and well wishes. But tell someone you’re nervous for no real reason and you know it, you’re laughed at.

I am here today to help stop the stigma.

I think I seem pretty normal (for the most part) on the outside. I get up and go to work, I have a husband and two kids. Bills, obligations. I am quiet and keep to myself. I look like I have my shit together. When asking someone a hypothetical non-hypothetical I was told that it was not possible. The non-hypothetical situation involving myself that I gave as an example that actually happened; I was told it seemed an unrealistic situation because I seemed like someone who had my life together. That the example I was giving in so many words would only be possible by someone other than myself. I realized that these people I surround myself with every day have no idea I take medication every day just to get through my days.

Almost exactly one year ago this month I went to the doctor after dealing silently for months with terrible bouts of anxiety. I remember, like yesterday, the first clear episode I had last summer (2018). I was sitting at work, like any other day, when it suddenly felt like the room was closing in on me. I could hear nothing that was going on in the room (and I work in a busy communication center) and I remember having a terrible time breathing. I remember feeling dizzy and my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest. I don’t recall ever feeling like that before or after that time. But after that moment I definitely felt more on edge. Going to work I suddenly felt out of place; being around people I have spent years around I felt completely uncomfortable. I was having a hard time sleeping. I was worrying about everything. I felt constantly on edge. It took me months to finally get up the nerve to go to the doctor’s.

Before going to the doctor’s I tried doing everything on my own. I was exercising and trying to keep a regular sleep schedule. I kept trying to mediate and cut my alcohol consumption way down (I thought). I started journaling. This is what I did for months before I realized I needed to see my doctor. The doctor was the last resort I felt.

The doctor’s appointment was not as bad as I imagined. Even though he did shame me a bit after I told him how long I had been feeling the way I had been feeling. He told me it was okay; he see’s a lot of moms feeling the same way. He said he would give me something to “take the edge off”. It was actually really easy; so much easier than I thought it would be.

I felt so defeated accepting and filling the prescription though.

For the first few days and/or weeks I felt like a failure. I could not believe I got myself to a stage where I needed to take medication to keep from losing my shit on a regular basis. But then, it started to feel normal. I started feeling normal again; like myself. I felt like I was smiling and laughing more. Less annoyed.

When I asked my husband if he noticed any difference in me he said I seemed happier. I knew then I had probably made the right decision.

I am supposed to take these meds every day. Some days I forget. Some weeks I forget several days in a row and I am okay. I feel okay. And then there are some days or weeks that feel really tough and I know I need to make sure I take my medication.

At no point was I ever at a point where I felt like I wanted to hurt myself or anyone else, let me make that very clear. Just because I was never at that point does not mean that I am in any better or worse a position than anyone else. I recognized something was not right and I could not get better on my own, no matter how much I tried. I am still journaling, and working out regularly and up until sitting down and writing this post I can not remember the last time I had a drink – sometime over the summer maybe? I think the events of the last year regarding my mental health really put me down the path of mindfulness.

All I am trying to say is, you never really know. Don’t make assumptions about the people in your life; the people that you work with; the people you encounter. Please do not assume that because someone seems to have their life together that it is easy. Sometimes it takes a small dosage of serotonin reuptake inhibitors to keep life moving as smoothly as it seems from the outside.

Maybe one day I won’t need to take the medication, or maybe I won’t. Either way, I am okay and will be okay.

If you’re not feeling right or like yourself, it’s okay to see the doctor. And don’t be afraid to take the edge off.

JS.

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