At this stage in the game, hiatus could be known as my middle name. Yet my hiatus is the reason why I am writing this post for you all today. Over the past few weeks, I have been dealing with a lot of personal issues. I’m not the type of person who tells people their problems as I have a hard time trusting people and believing that they genuinely want to hear about what’s making me upset. After seeing countless status’, comments, and posts on social media and in the blogosphere, I thought it was my turn to join the conversation. I have never been one to put myself out there, but I hope by doing this it will help people come to terms with their own demons.
It’s weird to type this out and know an audience that’s bigger than myself could possibly read these words. I want to hit backspace or save this post as a draft, but I am going forward writing this because I know I’m not the only one who feels the way I do. I am currently suffering from manic depression, anxiety, and I self-harm. If you knew me in high school, you may not have noticed, but I was struggling then as well. It was a lot easier to hide my unhappiness then because I did have friends around to lift me up and keep me busy, but more recently, my own personal demons have got the best of me.
Once I left my small hometown to venture off to university, I was stricken by anxiety. A new city, school, and environment was something I had been patiently waiting for for 4 long years, and here I was regretting the decision to move. I managed to keep my head on straight and persevere, but I didn’t have any idea what was coming next. As the months went on, I found it increasingly difficult to be happy as I had been before. That’s the thing about depression… it never really goes away. You can go from having a string of rainy days and wake up one morning and have the sun shining through your window and feel like a changed wo(man). Having a sunny day had me believe that everything I had been dealing with was behind me. Yet, that wasn’t always the case.
When you tell someone you’re depressed, it’s hard for them to understand the full seriousness behind your words. When someone will tell me “cheer up” or “things get better,” I realize they are trying to help but at the same time it infuriates me. How can someone tell me to cheer up and act like everything is okay when in my mind, my world is collapsing around me? Although those reactions are a mixture of anger, fear, and envy; you can’t let them get the best of you. The first thing you have to do is realize that although someone may not be able to understand your situation, they don’t want you to feel the way you do.
I wish I had an answer, or knew a way to banish mental illness, so many of us could lead happier lives. I think the number one thing to do though, or that I can personally do, is talk about it. I honestly believe that people have been approaching mental illness in the wrong way. The severity of mental illness changes from individual to individual, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a serious issue. A huge reason behind why people don’t get help is that they don’t think someone will take their problems seriously. Discriminating against someone with a mental illness is just as bad as discriminating against a cancer patient, or someone suffering a different disease. The negative connotations surrounding depression, anxiety, self-harm, etc are what hold people back from reaching out to get the help they need. Believe me, I would know.
In high school, I had the opportunity to talk to a therapist. I gained the courage to make an appointment, but I never went. I had always been afraid that the person on the other end was only listening to me because they had to, not because they wanted to help. I never looked back and fought my battle on my own, which was only to my detriment. If I wasn’t blessed with some amazing friends who helped me find my way, I don’t know if I would be here writing this post today. That’s why I’m here in hopes that my words and experiences will help make people think about mental illness with a new state of mind. Help put an end to the stigma associated with mental health and remind people that although we are suffering, it doesn’t define us, nor confine us to a certain way of life. Each day is a brand new battle, and everyone has something they’re dealing with, so let’s band together so when we look back; we can say that we were a part of the generation that moved headfirst towards positive change.
Don’t forget, if you need someone to talk to, I will always have time for anyone who needs an ear. If you aren’t comfortable talking about the on-goings of your life in the blogosphere, there are many other outlets available to you:
Kid’s Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255)
International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred)
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Self-injury Outreach and Support
PS. I’m back this time, for good. If I can use my words to help people and make myself feel better at the same time, why would I ever leave this platform again? X