Breaking the silence on my mental health.
I am going to break my silence on a topic that many of you know I have dealt with for a long time: mental health. I told myself the celebrity suicides, I wouldn’t use their deaths for a blog topic, but my own recent experiences have led me to change my perspective. This post is immensely hard to write, but an example of a broken system that needs to change.
Mental health problems are a real thing that can leave someone crippled, alone, and blind to see a way out. None of it is by choice, and it is not something in which you can quickly turn off. Most of the time you know what you are feeling is irrational, but regardless of all of your efforts, you cannot get out of the fog. You can forget figuring out a way to get the 500-pound weight off of your chest; it is not something you can do by yourself. It is an endless battle that can effortlessly turn into a never-ending, downward spiral.
Trying to get help.
I went back to work the Monday after Ben died. Not because I was free of pain or anguish, but the silence of being by myself had gotten past the point of unbearable. I knew that being in the office would be familiar and force me into interacting with my colleagues in a way that would require me to hold it together. Tears were unacceptable in this environment. My endless workload would keep my mind occupied and freed from wandering toward impossible emotions. Shockingly, for the first couple of hours, it worked!!! I received some level of relief for a brief moment, and I felt productive.
Then out of nowhere ‘it’ happened. I don’t remember what ‘it’ was or what caused ‘it,’ but it was as if a switch flipped. My feelings could not be held inside any longer. I lost my train of thought, I couldn’t breathe, and my heart began racing. The composure I maintained until this point was fading quickly and I had to leave.
After Ben’s death, my Aunt regularly checked in on me to see how I was doing. Since mental illness is prevalent in my family, she wanted to take extra precautions to ensure I was alright. I called her when I left my office, and she convinced me to go to a local hospital’s intake office for an evaluation. I put on my big girl panties and decided to deal with this. Meet it face on and take the necessary steps to get better.
Right here I want to make sure there are a couple of things pointed out:
- I had someone to turn to with how I was feeling. This person also has a background in the medical industry and a good friend that is a licensed therapist. She was able to get valuable information to guide how I accessed help.
- I knew I needed help and I asked for it! Although I was not suicidal, I had to see a medical professional to process everything going on and outline a path forward.
The system has to change.
The reason I call out these two points is that a lot of people who deal with depression, anxiety, etc. don’t get to the point where they are comfortable to ask for help. The judgment and stigma associated with the admission of these ailments is one more thing to address. Or if they acknowledge the issue, there isn’t a clearly outlined process or readily available information to follow. I will write another post about happened at the hospital after I arrived, but that is a story for another day. I do not know the solution to this problem, and I hate that I cannot be a voice to offer recommendations for change.
If you are going through anything right now, please know you are not alone. Whether you need someone to listen or advice on how to seek treatment, please email me through my contact page. I will respond as soon as I see the message and will do everything I can to help.