Thursday, May 30, 2019

My Mental Health Journey

Mental Health: a person's condition with regards to their emotional, psychological, and social well-being.


With May being National Mental Health Month, I wanted to share a little bit about my own personal journey with mental health. My depression first emerged my freshmen year of high school, when I was just 14; however, it took until my first year of university to really understand what it was and how it affected me.

Over the course of the past ten years, I've dealt with varying levels of depression. I've had times where I feel so helpless, crying all the time and feeling very alone. I've also had times where it's just hiding under the surface, popping out occasionally. Over the years, I've learned how my depression shows itself. When I'm having a flare-up, I can feel my whole mindset shut down. I get into this kind of funk where I don't want to do anything and start feeling poorly about myself.

I've been on antidepressants for 9 years.

It used to bother me that I needed to be on something to feel like myself, but now, I embrace it. I recognize that there's a chemical imbalance that I need to fix. I've tried being off my medication for a three-day period, which showed me how crucial it is that I take my prescription. On day three, my mind set changed drastically. In the future, I may be able to decrease my dosage, but for now, it's something my body needs.

Depression is scary.

It's hard knowing your body has the capacity to put your mindset into a hole. You can lose hope, stop going out, and really see your world change. I've been through it all, but thankfully, am stronger for it. I can recognize my mood start to change and can try to proactively readjust. I've also found ways to cope.

My Coping Mechanisms:
1. Take a drive. Going on a long drive always helps. I can enjoy pretty landscapes, sing to my favorite songs, and put my focus on something else.
2. Talk to God. Sharing my feelings with God gives me a chance to share what's really in my heart. It puts my mind at ease knowing He's there, listening. 
3. Force myself to get out. As much as I never want to, forcing myself to get out of my house does wonders. Whether it's getting outside or grabbing coffee with a friend, it lifts my spirits.

Depression will forever be something in my life.

It's a chronic illness, in a sense. Thankfully, I've learned a lot about myself through the process. Last year, I wrote a letter to my depression which really helped put things into perspective for me. I recommend doing something similar if you're struggling with your mental health.

Thirteen years later and I'm toasting to the journey I've been on with my mental health and to another year embracing it.

If you struggle with your mental health, please reach out or visit mentalhealth.gov.

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