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Let’s Talk

28 Jan

A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my Facebook feed (as one does), and I came across a cartoon that my cousin had posted and I laughed so hard that I spit my sparkling water all over my computer. Not because the subject matter was funny, but because I could 100% relate.

mental illness

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with mental illness. I have experienced both situational and clinical depression, I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress from two separate car accidents and most recently I suffer with fairly intense anxiety. But for most people who know me, it would take you a while to notice the effects of my mental illness on the outside of my personality.

I am incredibly outgoing and I love a good party. I can put on a brave face and then head home to suffer the consequences of social interactions later in the evening. I love to meet new people and would make everyone my best friend if I could. But I also seriously love my bed, a good bowl of pho and a bottle of wine…. to cry my heart out over. Sometimes, for no reason at all. I honestly try not to dwell on my sadness; I love a full belly laugh. But some days that is not always possible.

mental illness

I am not ashamed of my mental illness in the least. I am genetically predisposed on both sides of my family and have seen, through friends, family and the media, the devastating effects that untreated mental illness can have on people and those around them. The first few years of my struggle were terrifying and I had no answers. But the people around me started to point out that something was not right with me and with the support of my parents, I sought help. I am forever grateful for the support system that I have because of the honesty that I have decided to have about my condition and I am so thankful that I got help.

In my day to day life right now, my mental illness has been deeply impacted by the stress of our adoption. Things look promising, but the road has been long and difficult. Adoption is not for the faint of heart. I have learned so much about myself throughout this journey and have only recently begun to share my emotional struggles with others. I am currently medicated for depression and anxiety and it has made all the difference in the world. But I get that it is not easy for everyone to understand what it is like to experience such feelings and that is why I share my story.

My Mom recently sat with me, during the height of my depression (before my medication had leveled me out) and asked me what it felt like. I’m so glad that she did because it enabled me to try and put everything into words so that it could live outside of my body. It feels like a heaviness. A heavy sadness, that even in moments of pure joy and happiness (which still exist!!) never really lifts. But that is just my experience; I know that everyone else’s is personal and unique.

So why, beyond needing to get all of this out of my heart, am I sharing this? Because the stigma of mental illness still persist and many, many people from all walks of life are suffering with it. AND tomorrow is Bell’s Let’s Talk Day. I am so inspired by this campaign and the work it is doing to shed a bright and positive light on the help that there is for people like myself who live with mental illness.

mental-illness

Because of the help I have received and the support that I have on a daily basis (those of you who politely cope with the barrage of my feelings, both good and bad, bless you. You are truly angels) I am surviving and thriving even though mental illness is a part of who I am. I have hope that there is a future for me that does not revolve around my mental illness. I am a fully functioning wife and mother. I provide to our household income with three part time jobs (I’m also a little type A, that’s a nifty mix with mental illness!) and I love what I do on a daily basis. I love to exercise and find that it does alleviate some of my symptoms.

mental illness

If you too struggle with mental illness, in any of its many, many forms, please, please, PLEASE know that you are not alone. I know that some days it feels impossible, but there is help that you can benefit from. My heart breaks to know that not everyone has the same support system that I do, and I would love for you to find a community that will stand behind you and cheer you on towards mental wellness.

Please reach out for help and maybe, if you are brave enough, share your story during this Let’s Talk Day. Let’s help to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

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