Learning about the experiences of others can help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and give those who are suffering the courage to seek help. Remember, you are not alone.
I was taught to be a good provider, work hard, and things will work themselves out. I struggled with my emotions as a youth, and teenager, and wasn’t quite sure which emotions were appropriate, and which were not. I realize now, that all emotions are to be valued and given equal weight, when they arise, something I think I always knew, but didn’t acknowledge until I was in my 50’s. I was forced to acknowledge in 2012.
The issue I deal with, well there are many, but the big ugly monster in the room is what for lack of better term I call rage attacks. Mine come in the form of verbal aggression where when nervous, angry, or upset I lash out verbally saying some of the worst things I can to the person or persons around me.
The illness I have does not define me, I define it. I was always afraid to go out and do the things I loved, but one thing I was not afraid of was work. I worked 25yrs with the illness and I worked as a Truck Driver. I took my meds everyday and went to work. I got Married and had 3 Boys along the way.
I have realized that many with a mental illness are the strong ones. We are the ones who deal with something very difficult on a daily basis and yet we conquer, overcome, and in the end thrive. I refuse to be devoured because I am the lion seeking to devour the fear and the hardships that I face ahead. We are the king of the jungle because time and again we devour our fear, we devour our sadness, we devour our daily struggles with a ferocity many without an illness can not.
I encourage everyone who has been victimized to seek help and not carry a burden that seems insurmountable.
After all the facts I now know, I can happily say I’m adjusting well to my new life as an advocate for change. I learned I am NOT my illness, I am NOT my past and I am NOT a victim. I am an overcomer and if this story helps another person, which I hope it does, I’ve succeeded in one mission in life.
I am independent and free. If you could take anything from this story let it be this, be proactive about what you want and how you feel when it comes to a mental illness. Depression is real and although others may mock you or say its not don’t let that bring you down even more. Find the strength within to fight.
Most of us, or possibly all of us with depression are not looking to hear any advice, the million reasons why we shouldn’t be depressed, or opinion about how to snap out of it. What I want when I’m depressed is to sit next to me, put your arms around me and say “I’m sorry, this sucks. But you are not alone.”
I can’t miss a single day of medication, or else I spiral into darkness. Is it worth it? Definitely. Life is so beautifully complex, and without the darkness I would not appreciate the sunlight. Sometimes I feel like my emotional dial is turned all the way up. I feel things so much more powerfully, my world is a prismatic collage of sharply vibrant colors, some intensely dark, some pulsating with life and light, and everyday is a new challenge, learning how to navigate through a sea of torrid emotions. I am grateful for my life.