Mental Health Awareness

This month it is one year ago that I discovered my mental illness. I wish I could say that I have healed and recovered from it completely, but that is not the case. Although I am doing much better, it has been a long rocky road since then filled with medication, therapy, addiction and mental breakdowns.

I had great months of happiness and for a while everything seemed to be pretty perfect, but unfortunately that didn’t last for the entire year. I was in a great place for roughly the first half a year where I stopped my medication, I finished therapy, stayed sober and lived healthy most of the time. But then I slipped onto a path of darkness from which I am still recovering now. Certain life events and situations have triggered me to relapse and for a while I had lost control of my body and mind again. I created a toxic mindset and put myself in suffering in such an extent that I couldn’t recover on my own anymore. I fell back into old patterns when I neglected my diet and health. I started drinking again, eating unhealthy and minimally exercised. The difference now was that I knew it is only temporary and that my mind is strong enough to fully recover and get back on the right track.

Something that is important for me to address is that being mentally ill is nothing to be ashamed of. I have met so many people in my last year that have opened up to me about having depressive episodes and reaching out for help. I don’t know why many of us don’t talk about mental health, whereas on the other side we don’t have a problem to talk about our physical health such as dieting or getting into a better shape. Before I discovered that I was mentally ill, I saw mental problems such as depression, suicide or anxiety as a sign of weakness which I know now was a false perception. I used to think those people are looking for attention and are selfish but nowadays I think completely different about it. Admitting to be mentally ill and looking for help is one of the strongest things to do in my opinion. I admire all of my friends that have seeked therapy to deal with their emotions to prevent to stay in darkness. I have such respect for them because I know it is not easy. I rather admit that I am dealing with a mental issue than hiding it and pretending that everything is fine.

Everyone has their own issues and problems, for some they may seem bigger and for some smaller but who are we to judge? We all live our own life and what one person is going through can’t be understood by anyone else in the same matter. I speak openly about how I deal with my mental issues and I don’t hide my past. I have received many different reactions to it and to be honest it doesn’t matter to me because in the end I am the one behind the steering wheel and on this journey. One of my most eye-opening experiences was when I had told a former boyfriend about being suicidal a couple months earlier and that I couldn’t deal with what was happening in my life at that time. He shushed me and told me to lower my voice. He didn’t want to talk about it in public and even when we kept seeing each other for a few months later, he never asked again about it. Now I realize that I don’t want to have people like that in my life. Not everyone might be comfortable talking about mental issues, but that is no reason to discriminate you because of being mentally ill.

I am being honest, there are good days where I feel totally fine and I am sincerely happy, but then there are also days where I just want to numb my pain and want to hide. It is hard work everyday to not get myself sucked in into depressive patterns again. If you feel that you are experiencing depressive episodes, be open about it and don’t be shy. You are not alone and raise awareness of what you are going through by talking to your close circle or seeking therapy. You may be surprised what it can do for you. You are strong and courageous by doing so and wanting to change your life for the better. And if you know of someone that goes through a dark phase, show empathy and try to understand. What we are going through is not what defines us, it is only a temporary condition we find ourselves in and we are the only ones that can change that.

“Sharing is the key to breaking down negative attitudes and misperceptions surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.”