Ask for help…looking back on this road that is the one thing that I can say made a world of difference.
I know it’s hard because when you are in that deep dark recess of your mind you think you are the only one who has felt this way. Well I am here to tell you that you are not the only one. You are not the only one who has felt hopeless, been sad, dragged a razor across your skin, swallowed those pills, panicked at nothing and couldn’t drag yourself out of bed. How do I know that you are not the only one? Because I have experienced all of these things and even a few more. I have lived a very large amount of my life taking getting out of bed and showering as a win, I have fought the uphill battle into coping and that’s what I feel I am doing now. I no longer fight depression and anxiety; I cope and live with it. There have been so many days, hell years, where I have been so ashamed of what I have been through and with what I was battling that I would have rather died then let someone know that I cut myself or that I can’t stand to be in my own skin sometimes. But once I reached out and got the help, put in the work and got myself on the right track everything changed.
It’s not going to happen overnight and there are still many days where I struggle. There is no miracle cure and let me be the first one to tell you it is a ton of work. I have seen multiple doctors, had wrong diagnoses and I have even found out that horrible things happened to me that my mind actually blocked out. But after I have worked as hard as I have I now speak about my mental health without shame. I no longer hide it and in many ways I am quite proud of it because I am exactly who I am today because of it.
The first time I got help I didn’t even really ask for it. My mom found the cuts that I couldn’t explain, after multiple doctors and physiatrists I began taking a medication for Bi Polar 2. I also began seeing a therapist and through the process of EMDR I began to rebuild my life from the inside out. With the help of my family, and all of the hard work that I put in, I had built a life for myself that was free from the torment I had felt from my teen years. However some things still did not feel right, I found myself still falling into the dark hole and I knew there had to be something else, so I sought treatment. I knew something wasn’t right so I told my husband, made a Doctors appointment and got help. I was not going to let this take over again, I wasn’t going to stop enjoying music, stop reading, stop living because I knew that the cost was to high.
I saw a specialist at CAMH and it turns out that I wasn’t actually BiPolar, I suffered from Depression and Anxiety so the medication that I had been on all those years wasn’t really what I needed. We made the decision to come off the meds.... well let me tell you that the non-medicated life does not work for me and I am really ok with that because I am finally on a medication that works, I am finally taking something that works for me and properly targets the parts of my brain that need the help. That’s the other thing to remember with this disease, it’s a sickness like any other. It’s not made up, it’s not “all in your head.” We suffer in silence most of the time because you cannot physically see the effects but trust me we suffer almost more than others who have physical ailments.
The meds in combination with the therapy that I still continue to do, have made me feel, for the first time in my life, “Normal.” I never really understood what normal meant and now I feel like normal is not wanting to crawl out of your skin, being intimate in a way that is fun and openly talking about the struggles you have had. Also normal is what you make of it.
My new normal is tattooing my story on my body bit by bit. Normal is shaving all my hair off because it makes me feel more myself. My normal is standing up without shame saying, “I have depression, I have anxiety, I have cut myself, tried to kill myself, my dad is dead and I have been sexually abused.” My new normal is no longer hiding and if you get the help (please get help), put in the work (and a ton of work it will be) and NEVER give up (that’s easy and you’re too good for that), you can have a new normal too (It’s pretty cool).
Be brave my friends because it gets better, I’m LIVING proof of that.