If you follow this blog, then you probably know that I don’t discuss personal topics here. And while general health and wellbeing is one of the things I blog about every now and then, mental illness is not exactly the focus of this blog. There are far better and more in-depth blogs that you can visit to read on mental illness issues.
However, I chose to share this post here today due to some recent encounter with a friend. I felt obliged to put my thoughts out there, because otherwise it will just feel wrong.
And I know that pressing publish on this post will come with a lot of hesitation, but I also don’t feel like it is a matter of choice at the moment.
I will start with my advice first, and that is:
Regardless of your situation, your status, your position, do not ignore your mental health and do not fear or hesitate to ask for help if you feel that you need it.
I have suffered with anxiety and depression most of my teenage years and into adulthood, but I only ever knew that these were even called anxiety and depression 3 years ago. I knew something was not right with me, but I didn’t really know what it was.
I remember I once told one of my parents that I felt that maybe I should see a therapist. But, here is the thing, I grew up with a toxic parent who didn’t even acknowledge that there was such a thing as mental illness.
Their understanding was that only “crazy” people needed to see a therapist. And that going to a therapist is a shame. People would shame you, call you names, and assume you are unstable and not right in the head.
Unfortunately, at the time I was young and a little bit scared, and so when I was told that this was bullsh*t, I believed it to be so. I was told it was just me being silly and overly sensitive; that I could just snap out of it.
Fast forward to 8 years later, I didn’t snap out of it, and it didn’t disappear. In fact, it kept getting worse and worse, developing one disorder after the other. I even reached a point where I briefly couldn’t speak anymore.
I am okay now; much, much better than I was 2 years ago, and that is because I finally took the decision to choose myself over everyone and everything else.
I never thought I could ever do that. I was always too scared. But apparently, you do reach a point in life where you get the courage to stand up for yourself. You realize that you are more important and that you come first. And when I did that, I was finally able to get the help I so urgently needed and deserved.
Back when I was trying to figure this out and wondering if I can get help, there was no such thing as “Mental Health Advocates” or “Mental Health Awareness Month.” No one ever mentioned it anywhere around me online or offline. And so it was just my word against that toxic parent.
Now it is more spoken about openly; people are sharing their experiences everywhere and encouraging others to do the same. It is truly amazing.
But, unfortunately, there are still people who are in a similar situation as mine; whether it’s a parent, a partner, a position that they fear to lose, there are so many scenarios, but the outcome is the same.
If you don’t put your health first, you are the only person who will suffer, not your parent, not your partner, and not your colleagues.
What you need to understand is that it is not something you can control. When you ignore it, it doesn’t go away. It keeps developing and taking over your mind, one cell at a time.
And, sadly, in some cases, people choose a rather awfully painful exit out of it, when they are suppressed by these outside situations and they can’t get the help and the medication needed.
Those who take mental illness lightly and do not understand how damaging and painful it can be are not ones whose opinions should matter.
Mental illness is just like physical illness, the more you ignore it and delay its treatment, the worse it is going to get and the harder it will be to treat.
And you are the only person who will be able to tell if you do need help. So, please, if you do, I urge you to go ahead and get the help you deserve.
You don’t need anyone’s approval and you have every right to live with a peaceful and a healthy mind.
Till next week, happy days!