Depression- Let’s talk about it. Postpartum depression- Let’s talk about it. Anxiety- let’s talk about it. And most importantly, suicide – LETS TALK ABOUT IT!
These are issues many, many people deal with, yet no one seems to talk about it. Why is that? Does it reveal a sign of weakness? Does it make you appear to be crazy? Does it show that you don’t have it all together? Is it because you think you’re alone in your struggle??
Let me answer all of these questions for you – NO! It does NOT reveal a sign of weakness, you are NOT crazy, you don’t have it all together (who does??), and you are most definitely NOT alone in your struggle. Statistics show that in the United States, almost half of adults (40 something percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14. Think about that for a second… the chances of you or someone in your family struggling with one of these illness’ is more likely than not. I guarantee you people you personally know are currently struggling and you have absolutely no idea.
I am honestly sick and tired of this being such a taboo subject. While I’m sitting here typing this out, I can feel my blood boiling from the passion I have within me to make this message loud and clear. For all to hear and to know that mental illness is not a personal failure! For you to accept this truth and to believe it for yourself! It is not something to be ashamed of, and it is most definitely not something to be silent about! Because once we are able to grab ahold of this truth and believe it for ourselves, it starts the process of healing.
You are not alone no matter what your mind will tell you. It is an extremely common illness and even more common to stay silent and hide it. That’s what saddens me the most. To know that there are people hurting very deeply, a lot of times to the point of taking their own lives, and yet it is still something most will never talk about or admit to.
Mental illness is a growing epidemic in our society today and an issue that needs to be addressed in more ways than one. Suicide rates are climbing at a faster rate than ever and I have no doubt it is linked to people being silent about this matter. I also believe a lot of it is linked to the rise and fame of social media which I could write a whole other post on. We need to stop playing perfect and pretending like everything is okay all day everyday – It is not real life for anyone.
It seems as if every week I hear about another suicide attempt. Another teenager taking his/her own life, another mom who couldn’t handle the craziness that comes with Postpartum depression, or simply just another soul who lost his/her battle. Help is available and overcoming IS possible.
Let me tell you about my story.
I’m sharing this blog post today because it is something I have personally struggled with for years. Actually, now that I type this out, I’m realizing that it has been half of my life (I’m 31 and my anxiety started around the time I was 15) that I have struggled on and off with depression and anxiety. As someone who has faced this monster for years and years, I can tell you that it does get easier with time, help, and the right resources. The more times that you overcome a series of anxiety attacks or come out of a depression spell, you realize just how capable you are of overcoming. This is a truth that you need to hold onto and remember the next time you find yourself in the pit again. Because statistics show that most likely it will happen again, but the knowledge that you can overcome from your past experiences and holding onto the truth of Gods’ word will see you through.
A little bit about my story – as I mentioned above, this crazy world started for me around the time I was 15 years old. Long story short, I competed in a cheerleading competition and got sick and threw up while competing on stage. It was a fluke thing that at the time that I didn’t think much about. But as I got home, I realized this moment in time had affected me far more than I had given credit. I started getting nauseous every time I went to school and was around people. I would find myself sitting at my desk trying to listen to my teacher when all of a sudden a rush or wave of panic (what I now know was an anxiety attack) would overcome my body and I would feel the need to throw up right then and there. Did it ever happen? No. But I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to escape every time just to get rid of that feeling (anxiety attack) because if you’ve experienced one, you know that it’s absolutely debilitating. You will do anything to make it go away. This was a mental battle I simply couldn’t shake for months and months.
If you battle with anxiety, you know that some of the things you worry about that trigger panic attacks aren’t justifiable. The things you worry about might sound crazy to others, but it’s just something you can’t shake. It’s not as simple as telling yourself to stop. It’s a mental battle you face day in and day out until slowly, over time, you either overcome it or it gets easier the more you face and overcome that same thought/worry.
This cheerleading incident would be the start of mental battles I would face for years to come. I could sit here and write story after story of battles I’ve faced over the course of my life from suicide thoughts as a teenager to having panic attacks with my kids in the car (one of the scariest moments of my life) – but I want to speak to the other side of it all. The victorious side that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Because you see, what didn’t kill me only made me stronger. What could have possibly taken my life a number of times only made me realize the strength and the fight I had within me that’s within you too. Jesus didn’t leave my side through it all and I’m sitting here writing this today because of Him.
I fully understand that some of you reading this today may not know God the way that I do. But I can’t write this story without including Him because He without a doubt had a part in my success of overcoming these mental battles. When I didn’t feel like I could go on another day, He reminded me of who I am in, who He has created me to be, and my purpose in life. We all have a purpose no matter what your mind or someone else may tell you. Don’t ever forget that!
If you are reading this today and rolling your eyes, this post isn’t for you. But I would ask that you approach this subject with a little bit more kindness and a little bit more grace. It’s hard for those who do not struggle to fully understand those that do. It’s not a subject that can justifiably be put into words, rather it’s a feeling that helps with fully understanding. Chances are that you know someone who struggles with mental illness… talk to them, reach out to them, and don’t stop. You may just be the reason they come out on top. Don’t underestimate your worth in their life, because often times people in these situations find themselves worthless and it’s your interest in their life that might just be their saving grace.
If you are reading this today and you feel a pit in your stomach because this is you, I feel you and I see you. I wish I could give you a big hug and tell you everything is going to be okay. Oh how I know your pain! If I can encourage you to do one thing today, it would be this… do not be silent about your struggle. Do.not.be.silent! Talk to someone, reach out, DM me… You are not alone and people care more than you may realize.
Here are a few things that can/will help you if you are facing mental illness:
- Admit you are struggling
- Talk to a friend or family member about this struggle (and continue to talk to them – do not play it down, rather be open and honest at all times)
- See a counselor
- Take anti-depressant/anxiety medication (I am a firm believer!!! This is not something to be ashamed of. This medicine was created to help people like you and me)
- Lay off of coffee/any type of drug/caffeine
- Talk to God & read the Bible
I pinned a few inspirational quotes/sayings from Pinterest below. I believe in you and for better days ahead,