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April! Mental Health Awareness Month!

Guess what? It's mental health awareness month! Normally I don't keep up with these but this year I've finally managed to pull some stuff together to start this year. I may not be able to speak for everyone, but I can at least speak for myself and let you get a glimpse at what life is like in my point of view. I have been diagnosed with various mental illnesses/disorders. I can attest that a few of these doctors didn't want to listen and really try to figure me out but within 30 minutes would automatically assume they knew everything and that was it. Through over seven years of study and research, only a few of them actually relate. And yes I have reconfirmed with many other medical professionals since then and still do. I do agree with and have been officially diagnosed with PTSD, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and on the Autism spectrum. I am a domestic violence trauma survivor and still deeply carry those scars. Some of you may be able to relate, and some of you maybe not.


Either way, this is a journey into someone else's life and mind. I hope that you accept that this life is completely different from yours. Though we may share similar interests or views, doesn't encompass all the aspects that make up a human being: past the looks, the words, or even the actions. It's the deeper weaving that motivates or inspires us to live the lives we deem best. Even if they aren't the best for us. Our childhood, how we were treated in school, our interests, our skills, our culture, our environment, our teachers and so much more are all threads influence and inspire our thoughts, words, and actions. But what happens when some threads get tied? cut? or were never there? What happens when your mental health can alter or destroy parts of your life? What happens if we have the power to help ourselves to recover but don't?


As I have hinted earlier on, I will be going into different depths of mental health. I have experienced going in and out of hospitals, both for physical suffering and mental health struggles. I've fought with doctors and medications. I've suffered from bad medical professionals, some that almost cost me my life. Ever since I survived domestic violence and suicidal ideations/attempts and got a handle on myself after researching what was wrong with me; I have very strongly wanted to teach and inform others about mental health and mental wellbeing. Don't worry, we won't jump into the depths of PTSD or trauma yet and start with just understanding the basics. How are we to understand a foreign concept if we have issues with naming what we are experiencing ourselves? We would need some basis for understanding our own minds and mental health.


I came across this video a while back and it's a good start to what I'll be covering in this post and hopefully a layout of what is to follow in my next month's worth of posts! I want to delve a bit deeper into mental health that most media or social sites don't cover. As soon as we take those steps, we can start getting into some fun and interesting research studies! But first, let's get a grasp on some key points about mental health.


What They Don't Tell You About Mental Illness | Elizabeth Medina | TEDxSpeedwayPlaza


The video above does a good job and showing another life going through depression and how they managed. There were some deep aspects that may have helped push over her depression such as her father having cancer and the cultural dynamic of their household. Sometimes it feels like it's creeping up, but not enough for us to consider it a hindrance in our life. But then pieces keep falling and we realize more of us is now missing than we thought. Recognizing the slip and seeking help is not only the responsible thing to do, it's the most mature and wisest thing to do. Your health and life matter. Taking the right action to push to be better or to recover means you DESERVE to have happiness. I know many want to say that EVERYONE deserves a happy life, however, you have to be able to work and put your effort in to earn it. You don't work for it? It won't be handed to you. I'm not trying to be harsh in the slightest as this was always my motto and guidelines as I went through my walk through hell. I never expect more from someone that I myself cannot do. And because I have done it, I know that some strict boundaries are very helpful to get started moving. Each step doesn't have to be successful, but as long as you keep trying and pushing with every given opportunity: you will get there. Sometimes the best you can do is keep from sliding back or minimizing the length of slipping back. Perhaps the aim is lowering intensity but every little challenge is a building block to help you build yourself up. You deserve the results if you put in the effort. And if you put in the effort and keep the effort, you will get there.


How I see it: You want to reach a goal. Your goal may be to enforce boundaries. Now if you keep doing what you usually do: allow people to push you around, take advantage of you, you don't say no when it is costing you your health, or whatever...things will never change. But each little chance that you have to say something is the building brick you need to help build your foundation. This foundation is a skill of your desired goal. You have to build it through repetition and doing actions that represent or feed this skill. A co-worker is asking you to pick up on an extra project even though they know you are swamped. You may feel guilty speaking up but that push you feel is exactly the barrier holding you back and preventing you from being better. Now I'm not saying to explode and tell them how it is and this step may need some days or weeks to prepare. But a gentle saying such as "I'm sorry I won't be able to help with this project. I have too much to work on as of now and it would be detrimental to my health if I took on any more at this time.". This states how the work is making you feel and how it will affect you. You aren't accusing them or attacking them, but just stating your facts. You may get lash backs from this but that will be normal for people who just look for people to manipulate or use. They typically do not like losing a pawn and may try to badger or bully you back into submission. But standing your ground and preparing before such incidences are key to gaining those bricks to build your skill. With each attempt, it WILL get easier. Sometimes it won't feel like it's easy but after some time, you will be able to rely on prior incidents to support your confidence. This will help you keep moving forward.


Glennon Doyle Melton, who speaks in the following video speaks of her struggles. Involving a bit more than Elizabeth Medina but not detracting from the severity of her struggles either. But these both are pretty common stories of life taking us on different paths that give us the same story with very different details. Don't think your story isn't shared with others. Your details are your own and your own personal story but the suffering and situations are very common in life. It does bring comfort to know that we aren't the only ones suffering and going through this.


Lessons from the Mental Hospital | Glennon Doyle Melton | TEDxTraverseCity


Below is a really good video I have to recommend watching. I listened to this one a few years ago but still leaves a huge impact on me. Some of us are trapped in our own minds and we are holding the key. Sometimes we can self-sabotage ourselves and not even realize it. This video gave me hope. If you are in that dark place right now, his lesson may seem so far-fetched and like it won't turn around for you. But it will. Changing your attitude is not just changing your perspective but it must also include effort in changing your words, thoughts, and actions. Such as: how can you say you love yourself if you keep putting yourself down and keep binge-drinking until you feel physically sick? You'll have to decide where your boundaries need to be and make that change.


The prison of your mind | Sean Stephenson | TEDxIronwoodStatePrison


This month is going to be a deeper look into some of the basics of what many people suffer from. Starting on Depression and Anxiety where far more people than can be seen are suffering with it than most people even realize. Though some of these posts will be very personal about my story and struggle, I hope to be mostly giving my side of what happened as a comparison point on what is probably normal (neurotypical) or not versus a glimpse at what someone with my condition may be going through.


I hope that this begins to give a decent overview of where I'd like these posts to go. I have so much I want to explore and am learning as I go! So please forgive me for these rough start posts. I hope to improve with every post that gets put out so that it will be of better quality and of easier reading down the line!

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