My Mental Health Journey
So this post is a hard one for me to write, but one that I know needs to be shared. It's difficult for me because very few people know the depths of the depression or the arduous anxiety that I struggled with and that would keep me up at night. However, I know that the time has come to start really owning my mental health journey so I can continue my healing. So here we go...
It was in 11th grade that I remember finding a small sharp box cutter knife and going into my bathroom locking the door, and taking the blade to my arm while crying uncontrollably. I remember feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness and wishing that the pain and hurt would stop or that I would just simply go away. It was in that moment that I felt like I had lost my mind, and that my world was about to end.
The next day I woke up, and carried on like nothing had happened the night before. The cutting had stopped right after that instance (by the grace of God) but the feelings didn't. It felt like the rest of my junior year and all of my senior year was a complete blur and that I was living in a fog.
When I graduated high school the only thing that I knew was that I wanted to leave, and never come back. I thought that it was my surroundings that made me feel the way that I was feeling. So I ended up in Florida (900 miles away) to attend college, but as luck would have it my struggles followed me there. I barely passed the first semester of college, and all I remember was feeling so miserable and finding others who seemed to be just as miserable as me. There is so much truth in the phrase, 'misery loves company.' Thankfully the few following semesters my parents scared me enough to raise up my grades. The raising of my grades fooled me into thinking that I was doing better all around. Yes externally I was doing better as I was surrounding myself with some healthier people, and becoming more involved in my college. Unfortunately the internal part of me was a completely different story.
I still found myself dealing with the aggitating anxiety, and the debilitating depression. After a couple of good semesters I started flunking again, and this time almost flunked out. I ended up taking a break from school (due to financial struggle) and it was that break that led to the complete breaking of me.
Never being able to admit that I was broken (becuase a strong independent female can't be broken) I never opened myself to restoration.
I knew that I had to get help soon, or I would stay stuck in the state of brokenness and never walk into the promise and purpose that God had called me too. So I reached out and started seeking professional help. I not only found professional help, but more importantly started rebuilding a firm foundation of faith. Growing up in the church I was exposed to the basics, but never grasped grace, realized relationship, or found faith. So it was like I was starting from the beginning.
When I started partnering the practical (professional counseling) with the spiritual (Christian faith) that was when true healing started to begin.
This healing process started about 10 years ago, and it is one that continues on a daily basis. You see I am way further than I have ever been, but I also know that there is so much more ahead. I have good days where I feel like I'm Beyonce after her Coachella performance, and then there are bad days where I feel like I'm Eeyore sitting in his pile of mud.
So how do I work through those hard day's and not digress in my progress? Well there are 3 main differences this time around around that help me:
1. Community: my husband (I will have to do a whole post on how amazing he is in my journey), my church, my closest friends (you know who you are) and my mentors
2. Faith: my relationship with Jesus is the biggest factor in getting through the hard days (more to come on a later post)
3 Education: I have studied and learned about my struggles and how to better manage and/or overcome them. Knowledge really is power.
I am hoping that after reading this post you will feel encouraged that there is hope and also feel a sense of connection. I am honored that you sat and read thru this vulnerable post, but more importantly I am honored to continue this journey with you.
Until Next Time