Today I’m going to be talking about suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Mental health, especially for me, is a topic I never get tired of talking about. Mental health has such a negative stigma attached; it’s still taboo because nobody ever wants to tackle real issues such as depression. There are still people who think mental health issues are “all in their heads” and not a real illness such as heart disease or cancer. They think it’s “shameful”… when it’s really not. You should never be ashamed of having an illness no matter what it is. It’s still something that’s not talked about openly when it should be. I’m trying to help break through the veil and stigma of mental health afflictions by talking about my story. The more people who share their stories may help those who think they’re alone with dealing with it.
I’m no stranger to depression. I’ve battled it for a long time, and it’s something I know I’ve touched on here on C&K before in this post. Depression isn’t a one size fits all diagnosis. Some people throw all mental illness issues under the same umbrella, like everyone has the same experience. That’s completely false.
I want to reiterate my point; mental health issues are different for every.single.person. Maybe you don’t have depression, and that’s great! I’m happy for you! If you’re the type of person who is depressed, you shouldn’t be ashamed of your diagnosis. Even if you’re not diagnosed yet, but suspect you may be depressed, please seek help.
Going on antidepressants was one of the most wonderful things in the world for me. Before I sought help, I was at the point where I’d have major mood swings, from sobbing hysterically to white hot anger in the span of a few seconds. Depression made me tired, but I couldn’t sleep.
Before medication, I felt worthless like my family hated me. I started drinking heavily every day to try to self-medicate. Bingeing on food even when I wasn’t hungry to try to fill the emptiness I felt became the norm. I lost interest in everything I loved; it got to the point for me that I didn’t want to be around friends and family at all. Even taking a shower felt like a chore that I just couldn’t deal with. It was bad, people. When I finally got to the point of seeking help, I sobbed in the doctor’s office because he was actually going to do something to help me feel better.
Over the years I’ve tried several different medications. Some made me feel completely insane and worse off than before. I’ve tried medications that actually made the feeling of crazy go away so I could function normally. If you’re on the same path of trying different medications, please don’t give up before you find one that works. When you start feeling better after taking medicine, it’s extremely important to keep taking them even though you feel normal. It’s the medication actually working for you. The withdrawal process from antidepressants is brutal, plus you’ll be right back to where you were before you started taking them. If you want to stop taking your medications, talk to your doctor about it before taking the step yourself. They can advise you of the best way to wean yourself off of them.
What you can do to help
Do you know someone who is battling this invisible illness? If you do, please, please continue to check in on them even if everything seems perfect in their lives. I can tell you from first-hand experience that even if it looks like someone really has their shit together, they could be crumbling inside. Reach out by talking to them face to face, calling them, texting, through social media, and ask them how they’re really doing.
If they feel like talking about how they’re feeling, really take the time to listen to them. Tell them how much they mean to you, because you never know if they are losing their own internal battle. You never know if your words are just what someone needs to hear to prevent their own suicide.
If you or someone you know is in need of resources, please visit my resources page. We have links for suicide prevention, self-harm, safety for children, legal aid, elder abuse, and more for the US, Canada, and UK. As I become aware of more resources, the page will be updated. If you have any links that I have not provided on the resources page, I’d love for you to send them to me so I can share them with you, my readers. If you know someone who is in need of resources, please share the link to this post, or directly to the resources page.
If any of you are struggling with depression, please know you can always talk to me about how you’re feeling. I am not judgemental about mental health issues; I have no right to be. If you’re local to me we can always go grab a cup of coffee and talk. I’m here for you, I’ve got your back, and I’ll do whatever I can to help you when you need it.
This isn’t specific to mental health issues; if you’re struggling with anything in your life, whether it’s coping with the pressures of parenting, job stress, or whatever it may be please reach out. I promise I’m a good listener.