Updated: Feb 11, 2020
I’ve briefly touched the topic of mental health before, but it was intended as informative light reading, or, more comforting, a joke. I would like to take the opportunity that A.W.A.R.E has granted me to actually inform, and to share my own experience with mental health and my own struggles. This is not an easy process and it has taken me ages to put into words. As proclaimed before, I was once naively unaware that a thing such as depression, anxiety or mental illness even existed. I would bluntly state that people should just find a way to maturely deal with their problems instead of hiding away behind a title that rendered them victims or pitied by those around them.
It took me a great deal of pain and suffering to identify, and admit to myself that I was struggling with a mental disorder, and that my thoughts and actions were not normal or healthy. It took a great deal more to actually seek help.
Admittedly, my history and upbringing isn’t perfect, and it’s not something I choose to share with everyone. But, I’ve realised that in writing I find my solitude. In writing, I can keep up with the world I find myself in. I didn’t have the perfect Christmas-picture-perfect-portraid-family. My mother and father, shortly divorced after their forced wedding and my birth, were barely present in my life and would appear and disappear as they seemed appropriate, according to their own circumstances and needs. I would always be extremely excited to greet them and devastated to watch them depart. Then came the stage in my life when I was forced to become aware of their repetitive toxic behaviour, and when I decided to confront, they both just departed. My mother was still sometimes there, in physical form but she wasn’t mentally; since she was intoxicated or anaesthetised all of the time and refused to acknowledge my existence. So I grew up and learned from a grandmother, mistreated by life and everyone in it, who thought that she could change her whole life outcome by being in control of mine. That was not a good start. But I never had to think for myself or take care of myself. I just needed to smile, and lie my way out of every uncomfortable situation. My grandmother loved her children, including me, a little too much, and in return created little monsters. A little voice in my head torturing, attacking, destroying everything safe, precious or different. But mostly, the voice only attacked me. Please note: I can not blame my mental illness on my upbringing nor the family members mentioned above. I’d like to think that they only did the best they could, with what life had offered them.
I didn’t think it was abnormal, or even remotely strange at the time. I was always under the impression that everyone was dealing with a constant little mischievous, mean voice in their head attacking them- I researched suïcide on a daily basis. I did self harm, but I didn’t think it was to be taken seriously. I cried on a daily basis. But, to me, it was normal. It was my daily routine, and I grew quite used to it. Nobody noticed, so, in simple terms; I got away with it.
I thought that I was supposed to be alone, my grandmother had always warned me that I would be, so it made sense that every friend, every lover, every relationship with anyone didn’t work out. Loneliness became my normal. Why do you need to let people in when they are impermanent? When my grandmother died, I felt it even more.
University life had it’s own struggles. I had to work diligently and make a strong, lasting impression in order to maintain loans and scholarships. With that, I had to succeed in part time jobs, and maintain a relatively normal social life. I met this gorgeous being, who threw me completely off guard. I developed feelings one should not have for a friend. This person was suffering from depression, which I was unable to comprehend at the time due to my lack of knowledge and ignorance. The person engaged in something I deemed to be extremely inappropriate; not only towards me but towards another who was almost fired from his job. l’m fairly honest and I had to confront. Needless to say, the relationship crumbled and burned. My heart was left broken and I adapted to a more repetitive, dangerous self-harm habit. One that left me unconscious, hospitalised, and in dire need of help. This was the first time in my life that I brought my struggles to somebody’s attention. I called a help line, and I confided in a friend. He was kind and he didn’t ask questions, and that was what I needed. He assisted me in cleaning my apartment and did his best to lessen my heartache. But, this was the extent of the help I allowed. Please note that I do not blame my mental illness on my university life or the person mentioned.
Honestly, I was doing good, for a while. I moved to another country after graduating with honorary colors and a distinction. (Excuse my bragging). And life was okay, bearable, and sometimes even exciting. I had a stable job. Friends, and good relationships with distant family members.
Then I met the person who would change my whole world view, forever. I entered into a relationship, knowing it wasn’t healthy, knowing it was breaking me apart before it even started. This relationship was tough and I was in a situation where pain, suffering and mental abuse overtook everything that was supposed to be beautiful. This was the point in my life where my depression and anxiety firmly rooted itself and grew thorns. I do not want to go into details at this specific time, but I should mention that this relationship ended- in the most horrific manner. It is important to note that self-harm transformed into purposefully planned suicidal attempts. Such vicious attempts that I’m ashamed to admit it. I’ve never written it down, and it’s unbelievable to think that the person I’m writing about, is me. Please note; I do not blame the people mentioned in this blog for my mental illness. I use these examples purely as indicators of instances where my weak mentality got the better of me. These examples should purely be seen as triggering moments in my life leading to my decision to actually, and honestly seek help. As you might have read already in My First Time (Seeing a Psychiatrists). I wasn’t shocked to be diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, but I was really saddened, and disappointed in myself for a while.
I’m still sometimes sad, and I’m reminded of my past in ways that my future sometimes look bleak and uninspiring. I still sometimes lose hope and long for a better, monster free life. But, I take medicine, I am honest with friends and I write. A lot. About everything. I’m definitely not happy-go-lucky all the time. I have a lot of reasons to still be sad, but I’m also grateful, and sometimes even excited to be able to have a future. I’m in the process of healing, and I try to put my health first. Above all, I’m trying to raise awareness, because I was lucky enough to have courage, to speak up- most people aren’t. Most people suffer in silence, keeping their pain to themselves, and tearing themselves apart.
I must confess, I do despise writing about this topic, or my life, in such an open, vulnerable manner, but, I imagine somewhere, someone is reading this, and sees it as a guide or an escape from mental torment.
Mental illness isn’t cancer, but it is a valid, real, and extremely painful disease. Treat it like it is. Take care of yourself. Defeat the monster in your head; and if you cannot do it by yourself; find help. I did. And I can finally see a brighter side to my dull, scary world.