In this blog post, I am writing about my personal journey involving mental health. I am writing to shed light and truth on the unfortunate reality that mental illness is real, it is hard, and it is not a reflection of who you are or who you are not.
At the beginning of my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with mild depression. I had gone to see a counselor in the last two years of high school, but my problems, struggles and feelings kept overwhelming me more, until I felt like I couldn’t handle them, even with the love and support of others around me. In the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, I wasn’t myself. I didn’t want to leave my house, didn’t push myself to try new things, and I was terrified of having to leave home and go to college.
After going to see a psychiatrist, I was prescribed an anti-depressant. While things did not get better immediately, I felt different and more like myself than I had in a while. In my sophomore year of college, I was diagnosed with anxiety and I started taking a new medication that helped me have a better handle on both of these illnesses.
These last couple years have been a battle with mental illness. I’ve gone in and out of periods of being completely fine to having tendencies where I feel like I am about to go into that downward spiral that I fear once again. Sadly, these last couple weeks, and maybe even months, I identify with the latter option.
In the last couple weeks, I’ve felt unproductive, restless, exhausted and disconnected, but I’ve attempted to push past it and encourage myself to keep going. I attempted to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” and try to be the person who I wanted to be: fearless, busy, productive, and present. Despite all these efforts, the other day, I broke down. I realized that I wasn’t okay. I realized that I was terrified of being depressed again and of facing my emotions. I also realized that I haven’t been very kind to myself, as I haven’t properly “checked in” with myself in the last month. I also realized that I haven’t been following my own advice, which is to schedule in times of rest.
I realized that something had to change.
And something already has: I let others in and I told them how I was really feeling. I am proud of myself for doing something in these last few days: reaching out to others and asking for help. A close group of friends comforted and loved on me in my time of need and my mom dropped everything to come into town and stay with me for a night. I’ve scheduled some appointments with doctors and with the help of others around me, I know that things will get better and that this (whatever “this” is) is not my fault and it is not something I can fix by my own efforts.
I’m writing this post to update you all on my life, while also saying that it is okay to not be okay. To be completely honest, I can’t do everything I normally would like to do right now. I haven’t blogged as frequently as I would like, I haven’t hung out with as many people as I wish, I haven’t been as productive as I desire myself to be, because I don’t have it in me right now. I’m learning how to say no, even if it disappoints others. I’m learning how to say yes to putting myself and my physical and mental health first.
And man, oh man, it is one of the hardest things that I have ever done and I’m absolutely terrible at it, but I am attempting and trying to say no to others and opportunities for the sake of my health and my future.
If you would like to talk to me or read more posts from me about mental health, feel free to reach out to me. Know that you are not alone in this broken world and that you are not defined by mental illness.
One of my favorite verses, that gives me hope in the midst of pain and uncertainty:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles!” Psalm 103:1-5