The Mental Health Chronicles: Happy One Year!
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
tw: mentions of suicide
Today marks the one year anniversary of when I truly started to root for my own happiness. One year ago today, I started taking medication for my manic depression, also known as bi-polar II. Up until that point, I had denied that I had any sort of mental illness and convinced myself that I didn’t need help and that it was normal. Told myself that I didn’t need medication and to just push through constant panic attacks and bouts of depression. I had gone back and forth between the idea of going to a doctor, but I didn't want to admit that it was real. Once it was on paper, it became a part of me that I would never ever be able to get rid of. I was scared to take medication because I didn't want to become dependent on them. Years ago, I had a friend that had gone missing; his family informed us that it was especially worrisome because he was off of his pills. Weeks later, the news were broken that he had taken his life. I was mortified. Would I react that same way if I missed days of medication for whatever reason? I already had my fair share of suicidal thoughts and I did not want to explore the idea of those thoughts being amplified.
During my lowest of lows, I couldn't get out of bed. I felt drained from the smallest movements. I cried constantly. Even when I was out in public I would just start crying. I felt like I was having a heart attacks for days on end. I couldn't help but tell myself repeatedly that I was worthless. At this point, I could not ignore the fact that something was definitely wrong. That was when I finally came clean to my family and got the help that I needed.
It took me 20 years until I finally decided to put my pride aside to quit torturing myself. After a week or so of taking meds, there was a tremendous shift in my life. I felt like I was seeing things more clearly. This must be how “normal people” live life. Yes, I have had days where I would miss taking my medication and it definitely does take terrible tolls on me. But life is still so much more bearable now. I didn't have the need to cry over every little thing anymore, I started standing for myself, I stopped creating mountains out of molehills, and it became much easier to love myself.
Mental health and illnesses shouldn’t hold such a strong stigma that it keeps us from giving ourselves proper treatment. I would not say that meds have completely "fixed me," but I definitely feel much more free to live my life. There is nothing wrong with having a mental illness; it may be a part of you, but it does not define you.
If you have the means to do so, please reach out for help. Don't deny yourself a life of breathing easy. Root for your own happiness! :-)