If you're looking for a cheerful read, this wont be the post for you...unless you have a warped sense of humor and mental health struggles give you a good smile. In that case I'd call you a sick f*ck, but tell you to keep reading (whatever floats your boat, man.) I recently had what I would best describe as a mental breakdown. I wish I was exaggerating and being overdramatic, but really that's what happened. I often talk about having depression, but I only ever scratch the surface. I guess when you're so focused on simply trying to feel happy you don't really want to talk about all the reasons why you aren't. But I made a promise to myself that this year would be the year that I truly open up and let people see me for who I actually am. I'm tired of sugar coating the bad bits of me or hiding them all together out of fear of what people might think of me. Instead I will be sharing those parts out of love for myself and the desire to get better. I've already learned that you wont find solutions to your problems at the bottom of a bottle; now I'm learning that bottling everything up and leaving it on the shelf isn't really much of a solution either. Eventually you run out of room in your bottle and at that point you've just made a mess of yourself.
A few weeks ago my boyfriend held my hand as I walked myself into the emergency room for having thoughts of wanting to hurt myself. My depression and anxiety had gotten to the point where it was starting to feel like not living was my best option and that scared me. After a pretty awful hospital experience and having to flee from being admitted to the psych ward we came up with a plan for the weeks to follow my breakdown. Lots of love and attention from the people who matter most to me got me through the immediate danger I might have been to myself and I can't begin to express the gratitude I have for them. They made my heart feel full despite it being broken. They helped show me all the things worth fighting for. So I fight on. I was able to get in to see a psychiatrist pretty quickly after getting out of the hospital and she prescribed a couple of medications for me. One is a mood stabilizer aimed towards my depression and possible bipolar disorder and the other is an adrenaline blocker for my ptsd. I've been going to a therapist for over two years with the common goal of working through my issues without medication because I had been put on antidepressants as a teenager and they made things 100x worse, but this recent scare made me realize that whatever is going on in my head is bigger than I can handle on my own and I needed help. Mental illness is like fighting a war where the enemy's strategy is to convince you that the war isn't actually happening. I wasn't really sure how big the issues were until they were so big that my brain practically blew up. I constantly question if my feelings are real and valid or if it's just my mental illness trying to trick me. It's unfortunate that it took a hospitalization to make me realize that I needed help, but at least now I know how to make it a fair fight. I have my strategy; my weapon of mass destruction if you will. I have a glimmer of hope in what was otherwise complete darkness in my head. I know theres a lot of negative stigmas that surround the use of medications for mental illnesses so I hate to joke around and call them happy pills, but if you can't laugh at yourself then what's the point? My mom always used to tell me if you can't laugh you're just gonna cry, which is probably why I have the sense of humor that I do. But laughing at life makes shi*t easier; it makes it bearable. Not to mention they say that laughter is the best medicine...whoever "they" are.
I no longer think that prescription medication for mental illnesses are a bad thing, some people simply need them to function the way "normal" people do. I don't think I am going to rely on them to be happy even if I do call them my happy pills. My hope is that these medications help me to find out who I am without my sadness. The real me. I hope these happy pills help break me out of this prison inside of my skull...like a really good sidekick or something (can we have capes?!). I can't wait to get to know the real me and I can't wait to show you all! If you or someone you know is struggling with depression I encourage you to seek out the help you need or extend the helping hand you have to offer. Try a little tenderness.
Please treat yourself to some soul food and listen to this short lecture by philosopher Alan Watts. You wont regret it, it might change your perspective on things a little bit :)