Coping With Mental Health Issues- Ask for Help Even If You Don’t Feel Like
Mental health issues have plagued my family for years. Let alone coping with mental health issues, nobody even wants to talk about it. It’s isolating, shameful, and very much a taboo subject. I hid my depression and anxiety from my family for years. I thought that I was just a sad, lazy person who just sucked at life. I’d no idea that I was suffering from an actual illness. I wasn’t the only member of my family who struggled, but I was the one who survived. This piece is pretty scary for me to write, not many people know about this dark time. I’m writing this in the hopes that I can convince even just one person to ask for help. Coping with mental health issues isn’t impossible. You can and you will, just ask for help.
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Coping With Mental Health Issues
Twenty years ago, my cousin took his own life at the age of nineteen. He had battled drug addiction and depression for years. It wasn’t really talked about outside of the family, we all knew he had a huge problem but no one knew how to help him. There just weren’t the resources back then. There were doctor visits and family interventions, but none of it seemed to help him. Four days after I moved to the United States, I received the phone call that I’d been dreading for the longest time. My mom didn’t even have to get the words out, I just knew what she was going to say. It was absolutely devastating for us all.
I’ve had my own issues with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. There were weeks where I couldn’t get out of bed, days where I wouldn’t shower or get dressed. I’d have the highest highs, thinking to myself ‘life is great, I’ve never been happier’, but in the back of my head there was always a voice telling me that the darkness would soon take over. Sometimes I’d get depressed for no reason, other times, it was some c****y life event that sent me tunneling into despair.
My lowest moment was at a time where my personal life was crumbling before me. My family was shattering right before my eyes. I spent a whole summer paralyzed in my bed, thinking of all the ways that I could just end it all. There were two things that made me fight to stay alive that year, my kids and what my cousins suicide did to my family. As much pain and despair that I was in, I couldn’t put them through that again. The burden my kids would have to live with was stronger than my feeling of being a s****y mother. The fact that I had those feelings was the little glimmer of hope that I needed to get myself some help.
That summer I had been seeing a therapist but I wasn’t completely honest with him all the time. I had this facade of a happy-go-lucky person most of the time, until one day I marched into his office without an appointment and begged him to help me. I hysterically told him of all the dark thoughts I’d been having. He wanted to prescribe me anti-depressants. I told him that I was scared to wait two weeks for the effects of the medications to kick in. I was honestly terrified that I would walk out of his office that day and take my own life. That man saved my life. He called some of my family members and made sure I had a solid support system until the meds started to work. I eventually pulled myself out of the abyss and slowly started to enjoy life again. Six years later I had my daughter and I often look at her and think ‘this is the reason I found the strength to keep going’.
That was a defining moment in my life. It showed me that even at my most hopeless time, I still had some strength. There’s been many more c****y life stuff thrown my way since then and I honestly think going through all of that made me realize just how strong I am. There’s a saying, ‘you’re stronger than you know’, that used to be my mantra. I’ve now altered that saying to, ‘you know how strong you are’. This year I’ve repeated that saying over and over to myself and it helps me to know that no matter how hard things get, I can and will get through it.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Reach out to someone, anyone. Life is so worth living. Coping with mental health issues is absolutely possible.
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