It was always there, but I was not taught that mental health is something that exists. Mom said it’s wrong for me to break down, it is wrong for me to cry out of sadness, frustration, or anger. “Stop crying, you can’t behave like this, do something else to distract yourself” I was 11. Okay mom, I’ll make you happy. I start to keep these “negative” feelings to myself because I was “wrong” for having them. The first time I ever felt relief is when I start to use physical pain to cover mental ones. I self-harmed. I was 13.
Switching back the timeline to 2019. I am a 21-year old Psychology student who is well educated in mental health knowledge and also trying hard to be an advocate. I don’t expect to make big changes but having a positive impact even on one person around me is good enough. While speaking up for other people and raising awareness, I was actually in denial when it comes to my own mental wellbeing (We all have our own problems ). I know this is a panic attack, I know I am depressed, and I am tired from crying to sleep every night, but nope, I’m fine I can TOTALLY handle it. It took me a year to finally accept that I am not okay and seek professional help.
When I got officially diagnosed, it was a relief, but it was scary too. At least I know I’m not crazy, I’m just mentally unwell, but what am I gonna do? Being on medication is helpful. However, being on meds and not having the right support is painful. That one person I trusted the most, the one I rely my happiness on, thinks I’m a burden. I’m always “overreacting”, I “need to calm down”, I need to “stop thinking about it”, I am “affecting people badly”. For multiple times I was left alone to handle my panic attacks, my depressive episode, and my suicidal attempts. I seek out to that person for help, but he cuts me off, as I was a burden. I felt guilty and sorry. As an advocate, I feel angry when someone is treating a mentally unwell person this way. As a loved one, I forgive and I told myself it’s okay for him to treat me this way because he doesn’t have the mental health knowledge that I have. Not everyone knows how to deal with someone like me. (In denial, again).
Best decision ever made other than seeking professional help? Cutting off toxic people, like the one mentioned above. I realize that to make myself feel better is to love myself more. I learned that it is never selfish to put myself first, and I was never at fault for being mentally unwell. Self-love is not just buying something you like or pampering yourself. There are many ways where you can perform self-love. Having boundaries, saying no, cutting off toxic people, taking care of your mental wellbeing first, these are all forms of self-love.
I am diagnosed with GAD and moderate-severe depression, and I am not ashamed to tell you that I am happy and making progress.
For whoever going through the same, thank you for being brave. Please always remember that you’re just being human. Being mentally unwell will never make you weak, it makes you stronger. Your illness can never define who you are. Don’t you worry, as there are always people like us out here supporting each other. Healing will be a long journey, but you will never be alone. Good luck ❤️
BY - VANESSA