The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health involves our overall emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It is to bring education, awareness, and support to people about it and work on ending the stigma that surrounds the critical topic. For some reason, in 2019, this topic is still silent. I mean, in school, we learn about exercise and sex education, but not mental health. We need to be teaching and educating people early.
Mental health and working to end the stigma have become something I am passionate about. It has taken many years for me to get to a place where I am comfortable enough to say that I have a mental illness. I used to be ashamed, felt alone, and hid the fact that I suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks from people. When in reality, 1 in 4 people have a mental illness. Even with those statistics, too many are still suffering in silence scared of what people will say or think, don’t know where to get help, etc.
So, time for some real talk, as I mentioned above, I suffer from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I’m at a place where I can openly talk about my struggles with mental illness, but it wasn’t always like that. You know the part of Alice in Wonderland where she is continuously falling down the dark rabbit hole, that was me. I was lonely, even in a crowded room, sad, and just hopeless because of my depression. Anxiety made it so I couldn’t be in a place with a lot of people, so I began to avoid friends and family isolating myself. When I did go outside, or my mind would create these scenarios, and I felt like people were talking about me or judging me, I would spiral into panic attacks. It was challenging to come out the panic attacks because I was overthinking my overthinking making it worse, I ended up in the ER a few times because I was having a hard time. It even got so bad that I stopped leaving the house unless I had to go somewhere, developing mild agoraphobia. All I knew was that I was drowning in the darkness.
Currently, I manage by going to therapy, medication, meditation, mindfulness, and focusing my energy on talking about mental health. I still have bad days where I cry and have panic attacks, but the bad days are few and far apart, plus I now have better ways of getting through it. I have a great support system behind me, my friends and family are aware, and I am living my life instead of hiding from it. It did not come easy; it took hard work and determination to climb out of that hole. And yes, I fell back down a few times and got discouraged. But with help, I got through, and so can you.
That is what I wish for everyone, to be able to live their life and managing their mental health in a world that doesn’t shame, ignore, or stigmatize. We do not have to apologize for taking time to take care of ourselves. The critical thing to remember is you are not alone.
Until next time,