For the most part, I’m okay. I haven’t always been able to say that. I mean, for most of my formative years I would grumble, “I’m fine.” Everyone around me knew that was a lie, but I thought I was pulling it off decently. It wasn’t until I found myself in writing that I felt comfortable sharing that maybe I wasn’t okay. At that time, I needed help and I needed it fast.
I wrote a blog at the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Month about the guilt associated with my happiness as a vocal advocate for the mental health community. In that blog, I talked about how I have mostly considered myself to be in the recovery part of my mental health journey. The bad days don’t come as often as they used to. When they do, I’m usually equipped to handle them in a healthy way.
That doesn’t, however, mean that I’m cured. I absolutely love to hear success stories of patients who struggle for a bit, go through some intense therapy, and move on with their life leaving depression in the past. I absolutely believe it’s possible. Everyone’s mental health looks so different. What might need temporary help for one person might require lifelong care for another.
Personally, I feel great. I feel healthier and happier than I ever have. The group of friends that I have are ones that I would call my “forever friends.” The things that I’m doing and planning right now are setting me up for my life, rather than just for next month or next year. I’m genuinely recovering. However, I still have my depression and I still take medication.
Like every human on the face of the Earth, I have bad days. Like every person who’s ever gone through a treatment or recovery, I have moments of weakness. You put being a human together with the natural rollercoaster that is “getting better” and VIOLA! You’ve got some perfect storms brewing!
My depressive episodes are nothing like what they were at 16. Even though I occasionally get sassy with my family (Sorry, guys), they’re mostly full of tears and isolation. Here’s an example: During a depressive episode, I won’t change my clothes for 3 days. I’ll sit and cry over seemingly small things, do everything in my power to stay in my bed, and lash out when someone tries to motivate me. Then, I’ll start feeling bad for not working out, showing up for the business, or blowing my friends off and I’ll cry some more. I eat as many carbs as I can find, which I subsequently will beat myself up for later. All of this is separated by about 4 two-hour naps throughout the day to aid my emotional exhaustion.
I don’t want you to pity me. I want you to look at this situation for what it is: reality. To be honest, my episodes are pretty mild compared to those who suffer from bipolar disorder or those who haven’t had any sort of mental health treatment. Episodes look different on everyone, but I can promise with 100% certainty that they’re never glorious
I’m lucky. My family and friends are loving enough for me to approach and explain how I’m feeling to them. We openly talk about mental health a lot. But, being able to explicitly say, “I’m not okay and need some time,” is never easy! If you’re years into this battle or just starting off, speaking the fact that you’re having a little bit of a breakdown into verbal existence can be extremely difficult. But, it can also lead to much easier communication down the road. You don’t owe anyone an in-depth look at your psyche, but simply saying that you need time and space is neither selfish nor rude.
I’ve been hesitant to share my breakdowns on social media. I’m supposed to be a mental health blogger and aspiring coach. In my head, that means I’m supposed to have this knowledge that makes me valuable to you. You know what, though? I have breakdowns. I have moments of weakness when I cry over getting the wrong taco (seriously, that happened). I have times when there’s total chaos and I’m not as centered in my life as I would want to be. But, above all, I am human.
Reading this, right now, so are you. You are a human being with feelings, emotions, weaknesses, strengths, blood, guts, and boogers all making up this beautiful thing that is you. You get to have moments of tears where you don’t need to flex your muscles. Because you are human, you are bound to have moments when life hits a little too hard. It could be a depressive episode, an anxiety attack, a breakdown, or just a big bitch fit. Guess what? It is OKAY.
We’re not going to stay in that space, though. We’re not going to waste time letting life beat us up. We’ll let out a few cuss words or tears and get back up. Got it? It’s not about what the episode looks like. It’s about how you recover from it. Because yeah, I might have cried over a taco, but you’re damn sure I got Taco Bell right after that.
How has your mental health been? Are you flying high, experiencing a little bit of an episode, or chilling somewhere in the middle? Connect with me on any of my social media accounts below. I want to hear your story!
Edited by Vanessa Reza. Contact information can be found on the “Work With Me” page.