As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, I’d like to encourage everyone to keep the conversation going.
For the sake of transparency, I need to be completely honest here and state that in 2013 I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety Disorder. I’ve dealt with thoughts of depression most of my life but couldn’t quite figure out what it was called until I decided to finally get help in 2013. So Mental Health Awareness Month is extremely important to me; I grew up in a family that refused to discuss these topics and I constantly strive to be the opposite of that.
At my lowest, I struggled with suicidal thoughts and tendencies; prior to 2013 I “gave up” more often than I decided to live. Through going to therapy and gaining the tools to help me cope with my diagnosis I have learned to exist with Clinical Depression and my Anxiety Disorder; though the journey has been a strenuous one I somehow find myself being thankful for the tough times. I’d like to make it clear; it has been a tough road to here. The here has been a difficult place to get to and though sometimes I veer away from the happy place I’ve created for myself, I have found a way to always make it back to here. The road to here is full of too many nights on the bathroom floor to count, too many sleepless nights pacing in my bedroom, too many days that I refused to get out of bed, too many days where I actively pushed people away, too many tears upon tears down my face. The road has been a hazardous one but … I made it.
I mean, I still have the bad days; the days where my bed seems so much better than the real world, the days where anything and everything will make me uncontrollably-sob and the days where I wonder how much better the world would be without me. Yet somehow, the bad days seem bearable; even when they feel unbearable. Through trial and error I have found what works for me on my bad days and that is thanks to conversation. This is why Mental Health Awareness is so important. For years I refused to get help because everyone around me refused to discuss the fact that what I was going through was a real issue. I understand the culture I grew up in but I want to work to change it; I want to actively continue to talk about these issues and I want to help other people deal with the bad days.
If you are currently struggling, I need you to be aware that life gets so much better when you learn to deal with your diagnosis. Can you imagine all that I would have missed if I would have truly given up on myself? Never would I have stood by Adele as she sang, never would I have traveled to my favorite cities and with my favorite people, never would I have met the future love of my life: Jake Gyllenhaal and I would have never met my niece Sophia Julianna.
It is a constant battle to balance my emotions but I’m somehow grateful for this journey life has taken me on. So please continue this discussion; don’t allow the stigma of Mental Health take over the conversation and please actively try to enjoy this crazy ride we call life.