“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.




Life Isn’t Linear: How Getting from Point A to Point B Gets Interesting

How many of us get from Point A to point B in straight path with no issues or bumps along the way?
None of us?  Thought so, lol.
I don’t know anyone who has taken a straightforward route to get to where they are today.  The pathway to success is not a guaranteed “one-way street” and it is definitely not one that will not take you on a journey that will not test you.  Sometimes, we get to live our best lives, but getting to our finish line means taking some crazy routes along the way.
Up to this point, if you asked me if I ever imagined life would go this way, or turn out the way that it has for me, I would have never guessed that things would have taken the twists and turns that they have.  I cannot say that some of the things I have been proud of, and I DEFINITELY am not going to sit here and say that I am happy with everything that has happened, because there are some times I wish I could turn around and do over (if there was a way to turn back time and see if there was an alternate route, don’t you wish I would do that in a heartbeat?!); but more than ever, I am happy about the lessons this life has taught me.  I am proud of the path I have created for myself and the person I have grown into because of what this journey has taught me in the end so far.
I took this quote out of an article I read today and it couldn’t have rang more true:
“Nothing about your life is linear.  Your work will not be linear.  Your relationships will not be linear.  Your future will not be linear.”
I have never expected life to be a straight-laced, “A-to-Z” type deal.  I expect no circumstance in my life to be no different than the last one, and no life lesson to be the same than the last one.  Each experience that I deal with is nothing more than another stepping stone on my journey, another tool in my toolbox to build upon the wisdom I want to instill in those I encounter along the way; and especially for my daughter, who is now someone who has joined me along for this bumpy ride called life.
There will be days when I will take two steps forward, three steps backwards, five steps to the left and maybe even two more steps to the right.  No matter what may happen, all of these things will be happening for the good, and will get me moving towards what’s next for me.  No matter what my “Point B” will be, it will be faced with all the openness and the trust I have to offer it, because there’s no looking back for me now.

A Process Towards Rediscovering Myself

Life’s journey all begins in process.  I whole-heartedly believe that this life we live in is unique and while everyone has the same overall goal of happiness; the way in which we achieve that happiness is vastly different.  We all have our own journeys that we will face, we all have our own truth to discover along the way, but most importantly, the way in which we all get to our destinations; our process throughout this life, is vastly different and it is the defining factor in how we become who we are and what our purpose is in life.  All of these things tend to blend together at some point in our lives; but one thing that will always remain certain is that no two people on this earth share the exact same process and I believe that is truly what makes the world diverse.

As we all go through life, we all are completing a process; no matter how big or small it may be.  We are being tested in many different aspects and what we learn and the things we gather from those tests help shape us and help us to understand our truth.  The more I reflect on this in a more personal manner, I find myself focusing more on the idea of my process and how that leads me on a pathway towards defining myself on a deeper level as I transition into a new chapter in my life; one several of us may be or will be familiar with at one point in our lives; Chapter 30.

I’m currently 29, and only have seventeen days officially until I turn the big 3-0.  In the last few years, I have begun a process of my own to start developing a deeper understanding and a deeper level of self-discovery.  I felt like I only knew myself on a superficial level and wanted to know more about what my truth was and what it would be as I began to mature into a new era of my life.  Lately, 30 has felt more like turning the last page of a chapter, and beginning a new one.  I can literally feel a shift in my life happening; a positive shift that I am mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally preparing for.  I’ve matured in so many ways and grown in so many ways in the last few years, and I want to see how those things begin to settle and manifest themselves as I grow into my 30’s and beyond.

For so long, I have had this “unknown” feeling about myself.  I have finally started to sort out just what it is in my life that I want to do and want to accomplish, and I feel like I will be able to accomplish those things as I go into “Chapter 30.”  I know life always sends you unknowns, but I feel like I will be more prepared for them now than I was in my 20’s.

One thing I’ve learned going through this personal process thus far, is that it is not always an easy task, and just like anything in life, it will have its barriers.  Your process may be stunted by obstacles that are completely beyond your ability to control.  Oftentimes, the uncontrollable obstacles are the most difficult ones to overcome, because they are beyond our realm of understanding.  They are the ones you want to fix the most but you know deep down you cannot fix them.

The reality is, your life’s process will bring about all of these things; good times and bad, the key is focusing on how you overcome those things and how those different experiences shape you as a person.  These experiences are why develop you as a person and what help you tell the world who you truly are to this universe.

I hope that with my process, I am able to gain all that the universe has in store for me.  I hope to find out the wonderful things and even the ugly truths about myself.  I hope that my process is one that will build me up to be someone to withstand some of life’s greatest struggles; because that is how you know when you can survive the hardest battles.