I generally try to keep my posts light and humorous, however, I believe there is value in being real and true to my followers. I will be tackling a pretty deep subject today, one that is very personal to my family and I. I am not looking for sympathy. I am simply looking to raise awareness.
When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed as Manic Depressive. I spent a lot of years ignoring this diagnosis as it never felt “right” to me. We all have an internal instinct that helps us filter certain things in life and that instinct told me that I was not suffering from that. Yet, I remained depressed. I knew the depression stemmed from bad things that happened when I was a child. I knew, very well, the issues I had and was well able to verbalize them to myself. However, I did not dare tell anyone else the things I had been through; the things I had experienced in my young life that broke me in to a million pieces. I pushed through and did my best to put the pieces back together on my own. That is how I lived my life from the time I was initially diagnosed until I was 40 years old. 25 years, lost and alone; a shell of a human being.
I developed severe anxiety when I was about 17 years old. To the point that I could not even go through a drive thru. The idea of having to talk in to that little speaker box mortified me. My self-esteem was at rock bottom and I questioned every single move I made. Yet, I pushed on.
In my early twenties, after my oldest son was born, I was again diagnosed as Bi-Polar. The doctor wanted me to take medication but I knew that wasn’t right. I instinctively felt that they were wrong but they wouldn’t listen to me. Looking back now, I can see that they weren’t listening because I wasn’t talking.
I went on to have two more children and by the time my youngest was three years old, my marriage was ending and I was working 24/7 in an effort to keep my mind occupied. Busy work was a wonderful escape. I was 33 years old and divorced. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. I had become someone I hated and certainly not the woman I had wanted to be. I suffered long boughts of depression. Though the anxiety was nowhere near as bad as it had once been, it was still there on occasion. I floated through life in denial that there was something wrong. But there was something wrong. I just didn’t know what it was.
By the time I was 39 years old, I had made many positive changes in my life. I quit the family business and opted for a more traditional, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm job with weekends off. This provided me more time with my kids. I started attending Church and utilized some of the unique resources they had to offer. And still, I wasn’t happy and I was not at peace. I decided to stop denying my mental health and seek help.
I started with anti-depressants. The list of side effects I suffered was LONG. I think I experienced every single side effect listed in the flyer. What was worse, was that the pills did not make a difference. I was still suffering from depression, in fact, the depression got worse. I became frustrated and the voice in my head that said this wasn’t right got louder and louder each day. I finally decided to seek the help of a therapist.
The initial few sessions were diagnostic. For the first time in my life I was honest about the things I experienced growing up. For some reason, I was shocked to learn that I was not suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder. I had always known that wasn’t right, but I had second guessed myself enough that a diagnosis different from that was a bit of a hit. I discovered that I was in fact suffering from PTSD. I could not wrap my head around this. How was this possible? I filled my spare time pouring myself into books and articles and medical journals. But still, how could this be? I am not a soldier. I haven’t been in any terrifying battles. Or… had I? After a few months of consistently seeing my therapist (I prefer Life Coach), I finally figured it out.
I am not a soldier, but I have been fighting hard battles all of my life. My war wounds do not come from lands over seas and my trauma was not brought about by witnessing blood and life lost. The land I fought in was my own home. The blood was mine. The life lost was mine. I experienced things no child should experience and my innocence was taken from me early on. The affects of those experiences would haunt me well into my adult years. Self sabotage and self loathing prevented me from having fulfilling relationships. All because of terrible things that happened to a little girl who got lost before she ever had a chance to live.
Today, I stand before you, a Warrior. A survivor of abuse, neglect, abandonment, suicide attempts, self destruction, depression, and anxiety. Am I completely healed? No. Will I ever be completely healed? Probably not. But every day I fight. I fight to take it all back and have the life I dreamed of. The life we all deserve. A life of love, happiness, peace, and joy.
My reason for finally speaking up about this is because I want t raise awareness about mental health. If you can relate to any part of this post, you are not alone. You have a friend, an ally, a fellow warrior on your side. Someone who understands what it means to suffer, to feel pain, to feel lost, and to hit rock bottom. Remember that we have all weathered a storm or fifty in our lives. That is why it is so important to be kind to everyone who touches your life.
Mental health disorders are not a sign of weakness rather a medical condition that require attention. God wanted us to help one another survive this thing called life. Together, we can raise each other up and live life as it was envisioned to be lived. It is my goal to make a difference in people’s lives. To help anyone who has suffered rebuild and find peace.
Until Next Time,