“But How?”: A Small Look into My Mental Health Journey

I’m somewhere between the boughs of exhaustion and extreme restlessness.

I was on another Internet binge, searching for answers for my mental health.  It had become some sort of a past time now; a hobby if you will, I sit up on Saturday nights, and instead of going out with friends, or spending time with my family, I would look mindlessly through articles aimlessly, for answers that didn’t really seem to answer the questions I would ask myself; questions I probably should be asking a professional.  I had become so familiar with the process, even my computer had now auto-populated the words.

It started off as just something I thought I could hide, something I thought was meaningless.  “Maybe it’s just a phase, I’m just in a bad mood and I will get over it.”  That is how it started.  When it didn’t go away after a month, I began to worry, but I still didn’t do anything serious about it.  After three months, and my family started to notice, I still didn’t do anything about it.  I figure I could just fix it on my own.  I would self-diagnose, research and develop a treatment plan on my own, just because I just wanted to get rid of it, so it wouldn’t be a burden to anyone.

It’s difficult going through an anxiety-ridden or very low depressive moment, especially when no one believes you in the first place.  When it seems that no one feels that your emotional instability is valid, you really just want to deal with it and get it out of the way, so you can move on with your life.  No one wants the “depressed girl” around all the time.

Avoidance and denial were the games I played, and I would like to say for a long time I played them well.  I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t think they would believe me; let alone, I didn’t think they would care to know it was even happening.  I mean, you can only imagine the things they would say, right?

So, when you finally hit the rock bottom of your truth, and finally admit to yourself that you have a problem or that something’s been off for a long time; something that may never be right or it “normal” again, what do you do?  Do you bottle it up and bury it deep inside you because it’s stigmatized that you just learn to “deal” with mental health, or do you find a way to breakthrough those demons and find the right help and healing that you need?  If you chose the latter, you’re right, but sometimes the tough question is not what to do, it’s how you do it…

But HOW?

Personally, it took a lot for me to finally admit to myself that there was a problem that I needed to rectify within myself; that constantly saying yes did not mean that I was a reliable person, but that I was enabling a possible ability for others to manipulate my emotional stability, and that is not ok.  I found myself struggling with finding a way out and also struggling with how to find a way through to a level of peace and mental stability.

When I finally realized there was a problem, it did not look like what your average “mental breakdown” looked like.  I did not spiral out of control and I did not need to check myself into a facility.  It looked like blank stares, sporadic bursts into tears, long periods of silence, random mood swings, angered outbursts, body aches, unexplainable pain, irregular stress patterns and inexplicable mood changes.  It looked like things that mental health breakdowns don’t commonly appear to be, because someone is not screaming or crying in front of you; however, someone with these symptoms, or look like they are exhibiting a multiple amount of these symptoms would need to seek some type of assistance with them, immediately.

My assistance looked like and needed to be filled with love and understanding and support; it needed to be emphasized with positive and encouraging word choices and it needed to be enhanced with affirmations and support from family and friends.  The key to managing my mental health awareness is having a heightened sense of my self-care, which begins with meditation and prayer, and ends in meditation and prayer.  My emotional and mental stability requires positive reinforcement, calm reassurance, laughter, happiness, grounded intention and most importantly a positively influenced support system that is willing to ensure my mental health wellness is also a priority.