Today’s challenge is strictly and entirely regarding mental health, so what is mental health? Mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. Not only does it affect how we act, think, and feel, but it can help determine the way that we relate to others, handle stress, or make decisions throughout our lives. Mental health can change overtime, but is greatly important and should be taken very seriously.
When I was younger, I struggled a lot with abandonment and trust issues. My father wasn’t a consistent part of my life. He would come and go as he pleased, and for my brother and I, it was difficult to deal with. My self-esteem was directly affected by this, which made it difficult to feel as though I could trust anyone else.
As you may know, I was in a verbally abusive relationship with my son’s father for 7+ years. With my childhood issues, on top of the cheating and verbal abuse, I was mentally done. There wasn’t much more that I felt I could take at the time. In 2013, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. During the summer of 2014, I overdosed. That was a really bad time for me, and my son’s father was of no help, but more punishment, I guess you could say.
In April 2015, I had finally had enough. I’d recently found out he’d been in a relationship with someone else for the last two years, and I couldn’t forgive him for that. You can’t get back two years of lies, betrayal, and manipulation. Somehow, though, his cheating was always my fault. I “didn’t live up to his high standards in a wife,” he was “no longer attracted to me,” I “got fat after we got pregnant,” he “should have listened to his Dad when he told him not to marry me,” and SO MUCH MORE.
Walking away was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. You would think it should be easy after how poorly someone in an abusive relationship is treated, but you’re brainwashed into believing the things that they say to and about you. That, on top of being isolated from family and friends, makes it feel impossible to leave the situation, but I am so grateful that I left when I did.
It took me so long to find out who I was without him in my life. I wouldn’t say you get “used” to being beaten down, but it becomes a part of your normal, everyday life for so long that you aren’t sure how to react when it’s no longer happening. Believe me, it was nice to not have to deal with all of that anymore, but it was an adjustment, nonetheless. Going back to work full-time, being a single parent, moving back home; my entire world shifted. Even then, I knew it was for the best, and I was incredibly proud of myself for finally walking away from the toxicity.
After all of the trauma that I had endured, I was later diagnosed with MDD (major depressive disorder), anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and BPD (borderline personality disorder). In the beginning, I was in disbelief that I had PTSD. We typically associate the disorder with war veterans, so I couldn’t imagine comparing the two with the same disorder. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I do suffer from triggers relating to my past, and it has taken me quite a bit of time to accept that everyone with PTSD experiences it differently. No one situation is the same as another.
When I was diagnosed with BPD, it shocked me. I’d recently researched some of my issues, and BPD had come up. Upon reading more about it, I was shocked that what I was experiencing was actually something that others were experiencing around the world, and it was a disorder. Even more so, I didn’t know much about it beyond those symptoms. Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned more about my diagnosis than I ever had before. Following other bloggers on Twitter, I’d come across an account that was retweeted on my timeline (@TalkingAboutBPD – www.talkingaboutbpd.co.uk). Not only does Rosie have BPD, she openly talks about her diagnosis and what her life with this diagnosis looks like. Discovering her blog, as well as reading through the hashtag #bpd on Twitter, I’ve learned so much more about who I am with BPD, and why I do or experience some of the things that I do.
If you have mental illness, you know how incredibly terrifying it can be at times to learn things about yourself that you probably didn’t realize before. You, also, know that it’s hard not to feel alone sometimes. Even if you don’t have mental illness, more than likely, you know someone that does. As a friend or family member, regularly check in on them to see if they’re doing OK. There will be times they will say that they’re fine, even when they’re not. Educate yourself, learn the symptoms, and always be there for those you love.
Although most of you don’t know me on a personal level, you are always welcome to reach out to me if you need someone to talk to. I will not judge you, and I will not ignore you. It is OK not to be OK. If we can all help another who understands us and/or what we’re going through, we can get through this. We all need somebody sometimes. You can reach me through one of the following:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: @LifeWithAiden
- Instagram: @dani_chronicles
A stigma remains around mental health today, but hopefully with more of us opening up and talking about our diagnoses, our everyday struggles, and what helps us to overcome them, we can break the stigma and create a welcoming atmosphere for others to reach out and seek help or guidance. Do not let society silence you, or the hardships that you face and surpass. Together, we are not alone.
Day 15 coming soon.