I don’t talk much about my own mental health on my blog and it’s not because of any reason in particular, I guess I like to keep things more positive, but my mental health is a huge part of my life and I should discuss it.
Lately, I got contacted by two places who do mental health and addiction treatment. They asked me to post articles they wrote and I gladly did. I have help links at the bottom of the blog and also up at the top and I think our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
I think sometimes we, and I as well, tend to “ignore” or push away the fact we may be struggling.
I have dealt with anxiety and depression for pretty much my entire life. I have dealt with addiction for nearly 10 years and am recovering now.
I have dealt with self injury and skin picking, binge eating and intense shame and guilt for my past choices and for simply putting food in my mouth.
So what gets me through it? This blog and my husband and my cats.
My readers are my support system along with my husband and my cats.
So what is a bad day with depression like? Well, it can vary to be honest. Some days I can hardly get out of bed, other days I am awake, but have no motivation to interact with life. Some days I am feeling okay, but I get exhausted easily and some days I am full of energy and don’t sleep for 24 hours.
Depression can seem normal, sad, confusing, tiring and so many other things to those around us. We may not “seem” depressed, but be screaming on the inside. We may “seem” sad, but be having a good head day and actually feeling better than the day before.
Depression does not appear into one particular form. It’s different for everyone and it’s suffered differently.
This doesn’t mean that others aren’t capable of understanding, it just means that each person who is suffering may need to be treated a little differently.
The thing with mental illness and addiction, is that it cannot be cured. It can only be treated…the problem is that a lot of people don’t get the treatment they need and want for many reasons.
No health insurance, insurance won’t cover behavioral health, extremely long wait to get in to see a doctor, or they have to see several providers before even getting the proper help, they may not realize they are “sick”, their family may not think they need help…I could go on and on.
Unfortunately, this may not change anytime soon, but it’s important to educate one another so that loved ones of those suffering can help and those suffering get the help they need.
So I’ve been asked questions throughout my struggle and here are some of them, which I will answer.
“Do you ever feel like dying?”—My answer is yes; but I feel like dying in the sense that I want the pain to stop, not that I am planning to die, making plans to die, or will attempt to take my own life.
“Why do you feel sad when you have so much to be happy about?”—Honestly, I don’t know. I try not to feel sad, but I just do. I make an effort to try to feel happy or positive, but my brain doesn’t always agree with that goal. If I could force myself to not be depressed, I absolutely would.
“Why can’t you realize how good you have it? Other people have it worse than you do.”—And they are right, other people do struggle with things that may be considered worse than depression, but for someone who is depressed, it’s hard to see that and even if we do, it’s hard to empathize with that fact due to our own circumstances.
Depression is all encompassing. It affects every, single aspect of our lives. It colors our relationship views, our spiritual views, our views of self, our views of worth and this isn’t because we are just negative people, it’s because our brain chemistry is a little mixed up and that is something we cannot control.
There is a difference between being sad for a day and being okay after that and being sad everyday, sometimes not even knowing why.
It’s a huge feeling of frustration, helplessness, and confusion and these feelings are felt by those around the depressed person as well.
Now for the addiction topic. Addiction is not a choice. Having the first drug or drink IS a choice, but continuing down a destructive path of addiction is NOT a choice.
Addiction typically stems from a few things: Genetics, mental illness such as anxiety and depression, and the need to be accepted.
We’ve all felt that need to fit in. Some of as children may wear certain clothes, act a certain way, join sports or interests, and do other things that make others like us; then those of us with the disease of addiction may follow more destructive ways to be accepted, even though we know it may not be the right choice. We do this, once, expecting to be thought of as cool or liked, but we feel the pain go away, the sadness disappear after drinking or drugging and that is usually all it takes.
The reason I say it’s a disease? Because people without it can do the same thing and stop after that first use. They can stop after one drink, one joint, they may not like the feeling of being high or drunk and it may not appeal to them, but a person with the disease of addiction has a brain that is wired differently.
This is a lot of information and opinion to digest, but it’s important to me that my readers understand that even though I promote natural health, I still struggle.
I don’t eat the perfect foods all the time, I don’t always drink enough water and sometimes I don’t get much done during the day, most of this due to my depression, but this isn’t because I don’t want a healthy life enough. I absolutely do, but sometimes my depression has other plans.
So if you are suffering, please take care of yourself. Make a self care list and follow it, one at a time. Take it easy. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
If you are a loved one of a person suffering-just support them, ask them if you can help, if you are afraid for their safety then absolutely take action and if you are confused as to what to do, there are so many resources out there to give you support and point you in the right direction.
See the links below for some resources and check out the MENTAL HEALTH tab up top.
Al-Anon-Support for loved ones of alcoholics