In case you don’t already know – mental health is one of the most important things in my life. I consider myself to be a mental health advocate, and when I’m able to make enough money through my writing to support me (i.e. I don’t have to work for anyone else) I’ll have the time and ability to advocate more.
Early November is the time where I reflect on my experience with my mental health. In November of 2014, I was hospitalized for 8 days in a psychiatric facility because my family was concerned for my safety. After leaving the facility, I went through an outpatient program for about three months, and I graduated from that program in about March of 2015. In July of 2015, I started dating my now-fiancé.
Depression and anxiety plagued me for years, not to mention misdiagnoses that occurred, generational trauma, and PTSD.
It has been six years since I’ve self-harmed. It has been six years since my stay in the psych ward, and over five and a half years since I graduated from the outpatient program. I don’t have anxiety attacks every day, or even every week. I don’t feel disgusting in my own skin with every breath.
But that’s not to say that I’m “cured”. I still live with anxiety, and depression, and my trauma. I am unlearning so much every day – beliefs and values that aren’t actually mine, coping mechanisms that don’t serve me, and negativity. I still get anxious and deal with depression. And I’m working on my growth. I am in therapy, and I read a lot of personal development books.
I also am realistic and know that I’ll never not be living with anxiety or depression. Even the best version of myself will feel anxious or depressed, but the work that I am doing now is helping me build a strong foundation of self-love, discipline, positive coping skills, and confidence.
I don’t think I have all the answers for you. There is a solid chance that I don’t have any answers. But I do know that if I can work through my crippling depression, my vivid suicidal ideations, and my debilitating anxiety so it’s all more manageable, then it is possible for anyone to do so too.
November is not Mental Health Awareness Month. And honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care if it’s not #trending to talk about the courage it takes to go to therapy, or to speak up to someone when you think you might need help, or to speak up when you’re worried about someone else. I don’t care of it’s on the Explore Page/For You Page about the different resources available for those who are living with mental illnesses. For me, on my platform, Mental Health Matters 24/7 365 days a year (and 366 days on a Leap Year).
I know that for some people this might feel kinda liberal, or hippie, or any other label with a negative connotation but the reality is, is that we as humans cannot be truly healthy if we’re neglecting our emotions and mental state. Your mental health matters. You are not alone. People care about your mental health, but unfortunately, there aren’t many mind-readers among us who are able to know how you’re feeling unless you say something.
I also don’t think that there’s only one answer for someone who is dealing with mental health issues. If you want to go to a therapist who specializes in traditional psychology, you go for it! There are also therapists who specialize in religious or spiritual approaches. There are counselors and coaches and therapists and so many people who do energy work.
I also know that this can be expensive. Not everyone has access to insurance, or can afford it. And it’s so easy to get into a mindset of “If I was in a country with universal healthcare I could have access to therapy but I don’t so I guess I’ll just suffer” – and I’m sorry you’re struggling. But that is bullshit. You have access to the internet! It is 2020, my dude – YouTube is a free resource. There are so many videos on different topics – give yourself an hour a week to watch videos about whatever it is that’s troubling you! Or check out your local library.
There is strength in asking for help. And if you aren’t at that point yet, you are strong too.
Your mental health matters. Your health matters. You matter.
It can feel lonesome. There are still so many stigmas surrounding all things mental health, and if you’re in an unsupportive environment you might think that the stigmas are truth. And while I can’t debunk every stigma you ever heard (since I don’t know what you’ve heard!), I can offer the following truths.
✨ You are worthy of happiness. You know yourself best. You are smart and kind and important.
✨ You cannot just not be depressed or anxious. It’s not that easy, BUT not being under depression’s grip or under anxiety’s wrath is possible.
✨ Not everyone will be understanding. Usually the people who have never experienced mental health issues don’t have the best understanding of how to help you with yours. You will find your support system. You are worthy of support and this pain will not last forever.