I guess it’s not bad to make some personal post now and then. So, here it goes. I have severe anxiety and mild depression. That sounds really cold and clinical. There is so much more to a statement like that, but talking about it is always so much harder than I think until I get going.
I wanted to talk about my experience suffering from mental illness. The subject has been making more headlines lately. However, I don’t feel like the stigma has been lifted. Progress is great. The fact that so many people still hear the words “get over it”, or anything similar, is still a real problem. If I can help change that, even a little, I have to try. Right?
About My Battle with Anxiety and Depression
I don’t want to get into the fine details of my life up to this point. Needless to say, I have struggled with my mental health from a very young age. When you are that young, it is hard to articulate, or even understand what’s going on. So, instead of getting help, I swallowed it all down and tried to be “normal”.
The Risks of Not Getting Help
I resorted to self punishment and cutting to release my emotions. An unhealthy at to cope with depression or anxiety. Long sleeves and hoodies became a staple for my wardrobe for no other reason than to hide the self abuse.
My anxiety snowballed. One instance of self violence got out of hand and I almost lost my life. I never finished high school the way other kids do.
Getting Help vs. Trying to Help Yourself
Thanks to an understanding judge, I obtained a court order and was able to test out of school early in 2006. I was smart, I just couldn’t cope with people and life the way others can.
I was prescribed klonopin, lexapro, seroquil, and a few other medications. They helped to a point. Unfortunately, still being young and dumb, I eventually stopped taking everything. I halfheartedly worked from home and hid my real self from the world and thought it was working.
I made it to my mid twenties trying to deal with it so on my own and there were some backslides. A few emotional visits with the razor blade now and then. I lied and told myself I was okay. I didn’t have it under control.
It’s Okay to Get Professional Help
I’m not sure if it was because I was too lazy or scared to try other medications. Maybe I wasn’t really ready to get better. I have a fear of happiness. Whether it comes from a chemical imbalance or its a result of life experience; I didn’t trust happiness. The better things get the worse they can become. That’s what i kept telling myself. I didn’t know that it is okay to want to be happy and I was scared of working for it.
I needed help. It’s okay to say that. I have an illness. Mental illness is dangerous. It has taken the lives of too many, including beloved icons like Robin Williams. Being okay with getting help and talking about mental illness, like anxiety and depression, can save lives. Treat mental illness more like a serious health problem and not a horrible secret best kept in hushed tones. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to want to be okay. Getting help can save your life.
I am almost thirty now. (That hurt to type and read and see ugh) I haven’t been seeing my new therapist long, but I like her. I’m taking Zoloft now. It’s not bad. I had a small prescription of klonapin to help me get under control again. The bottle hasn’t been emptied. I hope to not need to get it refilled. However, I won’t be scared or ashamed to admit it if I need to in the future.
I have goals. There is a life I want for myself and significant other. I have to take care of myself to make those things happen. The glass is half full. I need to fill it up. Only I can do that for myself. I trust myself to do what it takes to make myself happy. I’m going to stay positive. That’s how I survive this. That’s how we all survive this.