“Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over.
When I was a child, I didn’t understand. Since I didn’t have access to the body’s emotions, I assumed the ones I was feeling were my own. Eventually, though, I realized these inclinations, these compulsions, were as much a part of the body as its eye color or its voice. Yes, the feelings themselves were intangible, amorphous, but the cause of the feelings was a matter of chemistry, biology.
It is a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things.
But I have seen that strength over and over again.”
– David Levithan
5.7.19 | Day 973
#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth Day 7
2002, age 17: I professed to my parents at the kitchen table that I recognized I’d been growing increasingly + inexplicably unhappy for reasons I could not pinpoint.
2003, age 18: I am diagnosed as bipolar, and my boyfriend at the time told me he couldn’t be with a girl who’s been diagnosed as such.
2004, age 19: I experience my first mental breakdown, which lands me in my first IOP for bipolar + generalized anxiety disorder, with an underlying (but slowly growing) problem w/ alcohol. I complete the program shortly before my 20th birthday in 2005. Things were good.
2005-2007: I begin to romanticize my illnesses while my problematic relationship w/ alcohol continue to grow + build. My self-esteem is threadbare, I long for acceptance from anyone that would pay me attention, I begin recklessly sleeping around, and chase my Xanax w/ whatever I can get my hands on. These two years were a slow burn which resulted in me being found unconscious at a Bright Eyes concert; the paramedics are shocked I came through alright.
2008, age 23: After the birth of my daughter, I endure relentless post-partum depression, and find myself locking myself in the bathroom, desperately trying to take apart my razors. I let it go undiagnosed/untreated, and I cope with alcohol instead.
2012-2013: I give the psychologist another go, longing to be heard + understand the source of my pain. I caught them not listening to me on more than one occasion. I continue to find solace + refuge in alcohol. And online emotional, extramarital affairs.
2016, age 31: After the birth of my son in 2015, I begin to recognize tell-tale signs of post-partum anxiety. I seek help, am placed on Zoloft; I blatantly disregard the “do not take with alcohol” warning, and begin to drink heavier than ever before. Less than 6 months later, after foolishly conning my way back to Xanax and entering a more in-depth online extramarital affair, I receive my final call, my spiritual wake-the-fuck-up call, & I stop the benzos, booze, + the affair immediately. I enter my 2nd IOP, this time for substance abuse.
2019, age 34: I responsibly wean off my Zoloft after entering an unshakeable depressive episode in September of 2018, which rendered me unable to feel much of anything. I lose my zest; my lust for life begins to fade. The tail end of February until the beginning of May finds me overfeeling, overthinking, overtly sensitive to all the elements, I begin to cry multiple times a day, and eventually suicide ideations begin to transpire.
Given my history of mental illness (almost always coexisting right alongside with me self medicating, and never giving TRUE healing a fighting chance), and the insurmountable amount of responsibilities that come with being a working mom of two (often accompanied by overtime and traveling), whilst trying to juggle/oversee the chores + errands needed to maintain a functioning household, coupled with a slew of new “challenges” — I am unable to determine what external factors are triggering and/or further exacerbating my internal landslide.
I ask for help for the first time in my life, unafraid of fully, truly, WHOLLY healing from all the past traumas, unresolved pain + invisible, self-inflicted wounds.
Today, I have my first psychiatrist appointment in years. 🌻