Mental Health

Sitting here, eating my dinner consisting of gloriously nutritious🙄 Arby’s sandwiches, I saw on my personal Instagram feed that today is National Mental Health Day. I guess it’s kinda fitting for me, seeing as how I have struggled with my mental health for the longest time.

I know I’ve told my story numerous times, but I’ve dealt with depression for many years now, at least the last 15, or maybe even longer. It wasn’t until last year, around August 2019, that I finally sought medical attention. I had taken several online quizzes (I know, real professional help, right?), and every single one I took gave me the same answer: severe depression. I was angry all the time and easily overwhelmed, either causing a panic attack or I would start screaming and throwing things; I would lash out verbally at everyone; I had serious thoughts of suicide. And those were just some of my symptoms.

I talked to a doctor, and even a counselor. The doctor got me onto some antidepressants, and I’ve had to step up the dose a couple of times, but I think I’m at the level I need to be. The bad thoughts are gone, at work I’m more in control of myself, and I don’t have a constantly-pessimistic outlook on everything. Everyone at work has noticed the difference and are pleased with my progress.

If I were to give any advice, it would be pretty much the same as you hear all around: if you need help with depression, anxiety, or any number of mental illnesses, for the love of God, get help. Don’t bottle things up like I always did. Don’t hope it will blow over and go away on its own, because it won’t. Even if you just need to talk to someone, that’s a big step. I think that’s the biggest, hardest obstacle to improving mental health: recognizing you need help and reaching out for it.

Men especially need the help. Society is really big on male “alpha dominance”, that men should be tough and emotionless; men shouldn’t cry; if a man has feelings, he’s a pussy. Men are humans. Many men are severely depressed, but will keep it to themselves, due to society’s stigma. Fortunately, this stereotype is fading, and more people accept this fact. I don’t know how many times I’ve broken down and cried. I have had to take a manager at work aside and just talk, getting emotional and crying in the process. The road to recovery and healing can be long and arduous, it can be difficult. Even when you’ve gotten to a good spot and things are looking more positive, you can’t rest on your laurels. You have to continue to care for yourself. I always had a problem with this, but you have to make yourself a priority. I’ve always put others first and let myself go physically and mentally; however, I’m learning to put myself first sometimes.

Now, the quote for the day:

“We readily go to the health club when our doctor suggests we need more exercise, but we regularly neglect the ‘mental health club’ that our well-being more truly requires.”

Pico Iyer

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