Let’s have a talk about something near and dear to my heart: mental health, and because May is mental health awareness month this is a great time. I find mental health to be so important because I have seen the ebbs and flows of my own struggles. Everyone’s situation is different, not everything works for everyone, and on top of that something that works for someone right now might not 1 year from now. Mental health is ever changing and it is so important to check in with others but also yourself. That check in could truly save someone’s life.
I personally suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I have dealt with a lot in my life that I did not properly address and it has led me down a dark and twisting path, one that has almost cost me my life. On April 10, 2016 I tried to take my own life. I never properly dealt with my grandparents and uncles deaths, one of my very close friends passed unexpectedly at 21, a few months earlier I was raped, I was having relationship issues, and while I should have been getting ready to graduate I was failing classes and would not. That night I went out with my partner and I got wasted, had a great fun time, I was supposed to go home with him but I went to my home instead. I wrote my goodbye letter, stuck it in his wallet, went and laid in my bed with my dog and I swallowed an entire bottle of sleeping pills, I had no intentions of waking up. But I did wake up, to the sound of my boyfriend beating on my apartment door because he needed his wallet. I was disoriented, I was covered in my own pee and vomit, I had no voice, but I was alive. I let him in and he thought I was just feeling rough from the night before, I handed him his wallet, we chatted about the night for a bit, and then he left. I believe I fell back asleep for awhile. The next few days were a blur and I don’t remember much because the sleeping pills were still in my system causing fog. Eventually my boyfriend found the letter in his wallet, I thought I maybe had dreamed that part. He called my mother and so began my journey on healing.
I didn’t want to and I didn’t know how to heal. I was angry that I was still alive, just another thing I had failed at. I caused every person in my life to walk on eggshells around me. Fearing that one tiny thing might set me off and cause me to try again. I credit a huge part of my healing to my dog. I was not a good dog mom during those few days of brain fog, I don’t know if I fed her, watered her, walked her, but she stuck by my side, she never left my side, and she loved me just the same. Taking care of her motivated me to keep going. That may seem silly but finding even the smallest of things to live for is important when you are at your lowest. She needed me to survive in order for her to survive, so I did. I dropped out of school, I started working full time, and I was easy on myself. I had intentions of finishing my degree but when I eventually started at my job that is now my career I realized I did not need to go back in order to be successful. I worked to change my mindset on how I viewed a successful life. I started therapy to work on addressing all the things I ignored for so long.
I can not say that I am fully healed today. I still suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD. But I no longer allow myself to live forever in the sadness and I no longer run from it. Feelings are great, we need to feel them, but suffocating in them is bad too. You need to sit with them and address them because they are something you will simply never outrun, but letting them consume you is detrimental as well. As with all things in life balance is key. Therapy, journaling, sitting in nature, traveling, my dog, these are all things that help me, find what helps you. I think asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do even though difficult at times. Life truly is worth living and I am eternally grateful I was not successful seven years ago. I would have missed out on so much life over feelings that are temporary.