My mental health journey began many years ago, and has been, probably THE MOST difficult health issue that I’ve had to face. We hear in the news and in our families, how mental health tends to be taboo and something most people just don’t talk about, or want to bring up. Many times, it’s due to not wanting to face the root cause of the issue, or perhaps even the work it will take to fix it. (Very much like any other health issue we face.) In my case, depression seemed to follow me from the time I was very young to today.
As cliché a this may sound, it all began on a day when I was 4 years old and I had my innocence robbed. This was the day that my life would forever be changed. I was sexually molested by a relative, and for many years after that. This would only occur during vacations to my grandmother’s house, and each time that I knew we would be going, I would get so nervous. My emotional state continued to go down over the years. I didn’t “fit in” and I had very few friends. I focused more on school and going away to college.
By the time I graduated high school, I still hadn’t told my parents what had been happening to me and I was excited about going away to school that I tried focusing on that instead. Unfortunately, during my 2ndyear of school, I came home for the holidays and attempted suicide. In that moment, it felt like an “out of body” experience. I could see myself doing what I was doing, but I couldn’t stop myself. Thankfully, I survived, but I didn’t finish school, and I found myself aimlessly wandering with my life. I ended up in a place where I was continuing to devalue myself, and at the young age of 21, discovered that I was pregnant. I had no clue what being a mother would be like, and by God’s grace, I was surrounded by the right people who encouraged me to seek out help.
I had my first experience seeing a therapist while I was still pregnant. Looking back, I see how that experience really helped me realize why I had been feeling the way I was feeling and how my past contributed to those emotions. After having my daughter and getting married, I felt better about myself, and truly believed I had overcome a dark period in my life.
However, in 2009, I began feeling down again. More and more, I considered ending my life to escape the complete despair I was feeling. Again, I was surrounded by people who love and care about me, and I was able to get treated at a mental health facility. I was there for 2 weeks, and I learned great coping skills, medication management, and how routine is my best friend. To this day, I still have my good days and bad days. I’ve accepted this part of my health and I now understand the signs. It’s key for me to be aware of triggers and to seek help when I need it. I am so blessed to have family and friends who provide wonderful support, which keeps me moving forward.
I pray that this encourages someone, that you know you are not alone, the journey is day by day, and to ask for help if you ever start feeling overwhelmed. It’s no different than when a diabetic needs help with managing their health. Mental health is the same, and no one knows you better than yourself, so watch for warning signs. And, surround yourself with positive people as much as possible. This can truly make a difference too. Cut out the negativity in general, and find time to enjoy life, doing whatever makes you happy. ~By Tes.