For too long I kept myself away from any idea that I may actually need help. I lived my life, through every struggle, every optical course, thinking that I had come out unscathed. I laughed, loved, gave others all of my strength, thinking that I still had enough left over to keep myself floating. Little did I know everything in my life would lead me to this point of realization. I wasn't floating, I was drowning.
To save you the long details of my entire life, because that would be an entire novel. Also, I have a deep seeded love for personal privacy, so I'll just get to the important bits. Growing up, life was not easy. I come from a family of immigrants, I am the second of four siblings, my mother was a single mom with an abusive ex-husband. So this all equates to us not having a lot of money, dealing with childhood/young adult trauma and what I learned now, a whole lot of mental suppression.
So, let's jump back to now, how has all of this affected me...well, to be honest for a long time it didn't. I took every blow with my head intact, took every move as a step into a new adventure, and well, I learned how to live life with little money we did have. Granted, I do love the sense of adventure I have now for moving and exploring new places, and not wanting to live beyond my own means is a great way to manage money now. I also learned how to see through people. I see their fake intentions, and I very carefully pick and choose who has access to my personal life. Which, all of this seems great, and it is, but mentally something else was going on.
In however many years of trauma my family endured, I always seemed to be calm. Obviously, I was struggling to keep up with being a regular teenage girl, but I never let it show to others around me. Basically, for the majority of my life, I was wearing a mask of being "OK" and just let that progress for years. Which I guess, a lot of people can see that as me just going through the motions of coping with all of the stress and you wouldn't be wrong. In a way, it helped me survive all those years, but it's also what started to take me down a dark path in the most recent ones.
I started allowing those around me to treat me unfairly, which I didn't realize at the time, took a huge toll on my mind. After years of combatting abuse, in my adult life, even though for other's I could clearly point out that they were under distress, I was blind to my own. I allowed these people to hurt me, I allowed myself to take the blows because I thought this was normal. I allowed dark thoughts to take hold.
As things seemed to get better once I finally detached myself from one issue, another seemed to pop up around the corner. Anxiety and stress ruled my life to the point where I couldn't even handle having three tabs open on my computer. My family going through loss, struggles, more health issues. My friends going through personal issues or just honestly having success had been keeping me on edge. "Was I doing enough to help out," "Am I being a good friend," "You need to do better in life," were constant thoughts in my head. While all of this was going on, I unknowingly began using my mask of being "OK" and continued to allow the stress to pile on.
It wasn't until I had one too many drinks one night where I had come home and apparently, all of my deep hidden emotions came spilling out. I needed help. Fast.
When you first think reaching out for help, the first few things go into the mind. "No, I don't want to be told I'm crazy," "I don't need this, I am just a little stressed." We associate this kind of help as giving into the "loony bin" and I am guilty of that. I didn't want to go to someone who would hear me "complain" about how hard my life was and then get told that I was insane and needed to get checked into a facility. Or I didn't want those around me to see me as this kind of "weak" minded individual who needed to be tiptoed around.
Well, surprise, that isn't what actually happens! Going into my first session, was a game changer. I walked into the room with my mind closed to the idea of spending more than five minutes there...and after an hour I left feeling like an hour was DEFINITELY not enough time. I realized that there is so much in my head that I need to let out in a healthy way. Which I am still trying to figure out if it's a good thing or not. Though I do understand now that I may have needed this kind of help years ago, I am glad that I am finally able to have the outlet to figure out what's going on.
We need to take a stand on viewing mental health as more than just a "crazy" person's problem. There are so many people out there that are like me, worse than me or maybe more well off that still need to seek help. The movement on social media for better understanding of our emotions has been great and really has shined a light on mental health and development but it's not enough. We need to move these conversations from our social media out into the real world. We need to let these people know that they are not alone, they do not need to suffer alone.
For those of you who may feel like you are just going through life, confused as to what the point is. Get the right kind of help you need, go to therapy. For those of you who just feel like they need someone to talk to after a long day, please consider therapy. There is a reason these services are here.
You are not alone. Your feelings are valid. Please get well soon.
For those who feel as if you need an emergency hotline:
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-784-2433
Teen Hotline: 310-855-4673National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255