Fair warning this is a deep blog post that does not have pictures but has a really deep message that I really wanted to get across. This past month has been hard with my own mental health and others around me. I just wanted to make a blog post talking about mental health and my struggle with it and hopefully help some of you who struggle with mental health related issues.
First off I just want to go over the basis of mental health and what it is for the people that aren’t familiar with it. Mental health is how a person is in regard to their emotional and psychological well-being. Basically for me, I take it as a way you think about things in life and how certain things or situations make you feel. Mental health does not make someone crazy, in fact, it makes them so unique. Some of the smartest people struggled with mental health, just to name a few:
Abraham Lincoln- Depression
Mary Todd Lincoln (Abraham’s wife)- Schizophrenia
Charles Darwin- Panic Disorder-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Vincent Van Gogh- Depression
Issac Newton- Depression-Bipolar
Edgar Allen Poe- Depression-Alcoholism
Elton John- Bulimia
Kurt Cobain- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Bipolar
There are many people who suffer from mental health, and many do not even know what some of these disorders are or place stereotypes on them from movies they have watched or what they have heard.
I myself have been clinically diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I have struggled with Anxiety for a very long time. I remember being 13 years old and waking up in the middle of the night to a panic attack. For those of you that have never experienced a panic attack, I would never wish it on you. For me, a panic attack feels like I am in the bottom of a swimming pool and I can see the surface but can’t get there. I can’t breathe and I can’t move. My heart pounds so hard and fast, I literally can feel it all throughout my body. Mine panic attack vary in time from seconds to minutes. They happen in public and in private.
Part of having GAD means that you do not know what causes you to be anxious, you just are. I know that there are some things that make me anxious, such as planes. When I was around 15 or 16 I started having panic attacks when I would hear a plane go over my house. There used to be an airport where my family lived and I swear that the planes were so loud so that meant that they were going to crash into my house. Part of me knew that was not really going to happen, but the other part was so certain it would. I used to jolt out of bed and look out the window to try and see if there was a plane coming toward my house, and every time there wasn’t a plane. But each and everytime I heard a plane, I had to get up and check, just in case. There were also times where I was in class in high school and heard a plane and swore that I was going to die with my classmates.
I also have something that is called Agoraphobia, which basically translates to fear of the marketplace. Most people if they have heard of agoraphobia, see is as the disorder that doesn’t let you leave your house. This is totally untrue. For me, I feel very anxious in big places or when I am surrounded by a ton of people. I always have an escape plan on how to leave an area very quickly if I was to be in danger.
To most people, you would think I am crazy, and for a while, I thought I was too. It took me two years to accept going to a doctor and asking for help. I thought that if I was medicated, or talked to a therapist or counselor, that that meant I was crazy. But having a mental disorder does not make you crazy, like I said, it makes you unique. I heard a great quote once and it went something like this “people are failed by their brain just like they are failed by other organ diseases”. But it is so hard because most people don’t see mental health like that. To the people who say “oh just stop feeling that way” or “move on” or “it’s not that bad”, you need to learn about mental health and know that is some of the worst things to say to someone who is anxious, depressed, etc. If we could stop feeling the way we do, we would, but it’s not as simple as you may think. Our brain isn’t processing things right, we are over analyzing things so much, feeling so deeply about things, and this causes us to not be able to calm down, rationalize or be okay with what is going on.
My anxiety has also caused me to push away people that only want to help. I do not want to burden anyone with my problems, I didn’t want to ask about how I get the help I need. I at 18 had no idea how to find a therapist. Like do you just walk into the office? Call? Will it be covered by my insurance? So many questions ran threw my mind but the most important/biggest one was, will it help? And the answer is YES. Therapy helps. Talking about what is going on in your mind to a professional, not just your family or friends is so much more beneficial. You can talk about whatever you like, they are paid to listen. You also get to learn coping mechanisms and ways to process whatever your struggling with whether it be anxiety, depression, etc. Therapy is so good even if you hate it at first. It may seem pointless but I promise it’s not.
I just wanted to write this post for all those who struggle with mental health. Know you are not crazy, you are loved, and asking for help is totally okay. If you or a friend is struggling with mental health please ask for help, tell a close friend, family member and know it is okay to be put on medication, to go to therapy. Also if you are having suicidal thoughts, do know there is a hotline for you to call or text and it is totally okay to call. Do not feel like you are alone, because you are never alone.
I love you all, sorry to get deep this week but this has been close to my heart. Have an amazing week. 🖤