Mental health is something we all struggle with at some point in our lives. Some of us like myself struggle with it more than others. Mental health has such stigma around it in society that people who struggle with their mental health don’t go seek help when they are in dire need of it because they are to concerned about what society is going to think of them. We need to stop treating it like it’s contagious or that people who have some form of mental illness are just categorized as crazy. Mental illness can range from simple depression or anxiety to more complex things like bipolar 1 or schizophrenia. Regardless of what you are struggling with doesn’t make you any less of a human than someone who isn’t.
Personally I have struggled with mental illness most of my life in some way shape or form. I have been diagnosed with a multitude of different things, but one thing has stayed the same and that I have always struggled with depression. Depression can and will take over your whole life if you let it. The reason I decided I would write about mental health this week is because I personally have been battling with a severe bout of depression over the last month or so. The medication I had been on was helping for a long time to steer off the depression and anxiety that goes along with it, but it got to a point like most medications do, that it stopped working and I needed to switch to another one. For me switching medications is always scary because you never know how your body will react and I never want to get as low as I have been in the past. So, I decided it was best to go see the doctor and talk about changing my medications. The doctor decided to change my anti-depressant and see how that alters my mood. I currently take anti-depressant medication, a mood stabilizer, and ADD medication. When changing your medications you never want to change more than one at a time especially if you are changing them due to a possible side effect, so you are able to weed out the one causing it.
A little bit about my battle over the years of mental illness and things that I have done to help combat it. I have tried to commit suicide two times, both times landing me in the ER hanging on to life. Afterwards I spent at least a week in a psych ward where I underwent group therapy, one on one therapy, medication therapy, and solitude. I’ve also been baker acted two other times for threatening suicide where I also spent at least a week in a psych ward. At those moments in my life I was at the lowest of my lows and to me there was nothing left to live for. I was struggling with my own inner demons of who I was as a person and my life as it was at the moment.
Both times I tried to commit suicide I was in my early 20’s right after I realized that I was transgender. Do I relate it all to that no of course not there were other factors that attributed to it as well at the time. I do know that the fight I was battling with myself at the time of who I was seemed unbearable at times and had a lot of influence into my mental health state. This fight still continues to this day I have just learned other ways to deal with it and the fact that I will be starting testosterone soon and I will eventually have top surgery makes me feel better about the parts of my body I don’t like. Unfortunately from trying to commit suicide I lost a lot of short-term memory functionality especially in the beginning over the years parts of it has come back, but I still struggle with my short term memory.
Over the years I have gone through extensive talk therapy and medication therapy to help combat the depression and what I now know to be called dysphoria. The therapy over the years has helped me work through past hurts, current hurts, and other aspects of life that are hard to handle. It has also provided me coping skills to utilize when I get in a position that is hard to handle or my anxiety spikes, I can use them to help me deal with the problem. One of the best coping skills I have learned is simply to stop take a deep breath and count backwards. It makes you become focused on what you are doing and takes you back from what is going on. By doing this it allows you to grasp what’s going on and clear your mind.
Now that I look back at those years and what all I have done with my life I am thankful I didn’t die even though at those moments I felt like there was nothing to live for. No matter how hard things get for you, ending your life is not the way to go. There are resources out there to help you with the mental health problems you are having no matter how mild or how extreme they are. You just have to be willing to take the step to get them and recover from whatever is effecting you. Be brave, I know that is easier said than done and going through therapy isn’t easy, but at the end of the day it will make you a stronger person. Everything that has happened in my life has made me into the person I am today. I am a better person because of the struggles I have gone through and will grow as a person for all the struggles to come. Life isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. So, keep your head up and if you want to talk about your journey and struggles shoot me an email or comment on this post.