Mental Health

For the first time in my life I have the proper treatment for my mental health. It is utterly amazing what medication, and the right help from professionals can do. I have been medicated in the past and/or seen a psychologist and done tests, etc., but never have I felt [consistently] like this.

[side note: one of my pet peeves is when people ask me what happened to make me depressed or anxious… or tell me to be thankful for what I have… I know that sometimes, depression and/or anxiety are triggered by external events but in my case, it was/is primarily a chemical imbalance coupled with my reaction to situations, because of my nature. I know it is just ignorance but I wish that mental illness wasn’t so taboo so the general public could be more educated. SO MANY people deal with a mental illness of some kind in their lifetime. It would be so awesome if they didn’t feel wrong or alone while suffering]

Part of me can’t help but feel ripped off for the past however long of my life where I’ve struggled and struggled with depression and anxiety. It’s like a veil has been lifted from my face and I’m shocked into the realisation that this is how most other people feel all the time. Sure, I’ve had periods of my life without depressive episodes or major anxiety… but in the past month (since my psychiatric evaluation, mental health plan and consequent med dose increase) it as though I’m finally seeing in colour. Everything is clearer.

But you know what? Aside from happiness, contentment and feeling so damn greatful… the strongest emotion I’m feeling is PRIDE. Because now I can see that I coped so freaking well with that heavy veil of negativity clouding my thoughts. I am phenomenally strong. Depression, especially, is like walking through life in heavy layers of cold, soaking wet clothing with rain belting down on you – but everyone else sees a dry, warm version of you.

Depression robs you of basic motivation. Not in a ‘oh, I can’t be bothered right now’ kind of way… but in a deep-set, heavy, burdensome way that hits you out of no where. Often I would wake up with no will to do anything, I felt utterly hopeless – but I DID. Even though nothing seemed worth it. I kept going. I was a fucking brilliant mama considering the inner struggle I fought most days.

Anxiety weakens you. So alongside all of the above, I found myself doubting every action that I did make. At it’s worst I felt immobilised by fear. Anxiety attacks sure can be traumatic. Despite being mental illnesses, I went so much physically. The scariest part of anxiety attacks and suicidal ideation for me was that I partially dissociated anytime that things got too heavy.

My mind was so cruel to me. I was my own worst enemy. Every doubt and fear was fleshed out in my mind and I turned it in on myself. There was so much self-loathing.. so much pressure and expectations from myself. I think to those who had no idea, I came across as negative and self-centered. However, these thoughts are uncontrollable. Without help, it’s simply a downward spiral.

I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday when I was talking about the future with Mike. I said to him “It’s so strange, since Lucy’s birth I have this overwhelming desire to make our dreams a reality.” I have always been determined, even when depressed, so it didn’t even occur to me that my drive was altered. But here I am with what feels like an injection of ambition and strength. & again, that makes me proud, to think that despite all the chemicals in my brain robbing me of my motivation and ability to positively look forward to the future; I sure fought through it.

It is funny adjusting to not dealing with the symptoms of severe depression or generalised anxiety disorder. Who knows what the future holds, but hopefully this will be my new normal. Depression and anxiety are so familiar to me. Particularly in the past 4 years. I’m still working through some of my internal dialogue and those automatic thoughts that have been my ‘go to’ when things get hard in my life. I feel like I have got to get to fully know this ‘new’ Rachel.

I don’t like what it took for me to truly actively seek help and help myself (I may talk about it in the future). But I’m so proud that I did. I’m so proud and thankful for the people in my life who have helped me through this (especially my husband and sister). Nothing I could do could repay them.

Anyway, I’m writing this quickly to share where I am at… and hopefully to inspire others to actively seek help if they are in that dark place. Things CAN be better. Believe me, I never thought so until proven otherwise. I always said that ‘it’ (depression and/or anxiety) was “just how I am”. & you are so much stronger than you think.

———————————————

OH, & I’m 24 today! Happy birthday to me 🙂 Waking up to little Lucy and Cammy cuddles was the best birthday pressie ever!

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6 thoughts on “Mental Health

  1. I’m right there with you. It does get better, keep up with your treatment. I’ve been struggling with this for a long time. I’m good until I go off my meds, and I won’t be ashamed of this either.

  2. Rachel,
    I’m so very proud of you! You’ll never know how your words encourage others like myself who suffer from major depressive disorder and GAD… It is encouraging to know there IS hope and a light at the end of that long dark scary tunnel.
    Thank you for being so brave to talk about it and share your experience despite the ignorance that seems to pervade our society with regard to mental illness. You are a shining light of hope.
    ~ Charity
    Jacksonville,FL, USA

  3. Rachael. Thank you. You give me courage that maybe one day I too might be able to speak about what I am going through. But as you can probably appreciate every time I try to I freeze up and I can’t. You described exactly how it feels. A friend blogged the other day that PND is both chemical and emotional. Drugs help with the chemical and talking to someone helps with the emotional. Still trying to plug away at it by myself.

    Happy belated birthday!

  4. Hello,

    My name is Leigh. Your exceptional blog deals with your experiences with conception kiddies and depression awareness and I know you are familiar with the importance of mental health. It seems we have shared some similar experiences. It is for these reasons that I contact you today. I’m sorry this is in the comments section but I couldn’t figure out how else to get in touch with you.

    I am ‘every woman’, the girl next door and the one you never would have suspected, however, for years I have been struggling with depression. I have written a book about my experiences entitled “The Blue Veil”.

    Through this book, it is my aim to reduce the stigma of depression by increasing awareness of the issue. I am donating a large percentage of the proceeds to 15 carefully chosen mental health awareness organizations worldwide. I have provided the list of these organizations at the end of this email.

    This is where you come in. I am organizing a 2 month long online book release campaign, structured around various depression awareness weeks around the world. It will be from July 1st to August 31st. My request is, during this period of time would you be willing to host me on your blog for a few days of those months? This can be carried out in a few ways:
    -I would send you a couple/few articles that talk about my book and of course depression awareness. You would post these articles on your blog over a few days during those months (letting me know which days you will choose)
    OR
    -You could write your own prose about “The Blue Veil” and depression awareness and post these articles on your blog over the course of the months (letting me know which days you will choose).
    Now you may be wondering what is in this for you and your blog? Well, I could provide you with a free version of “The Blue Veil”. You could also review the depression awareness organizations I’ve listed at the bottom of this message to see if there is one you would like to be included and I will certainly look into it.

    More on “The Blue Veil”:
    Up to 58 MILLION suffer from it in the US alone, and VERY FEW talk about it. Is it your friend, colleague or neighbor? Now, finally, ‘The Blue Veil’ brings a modern, raw account of depression. Read it and understand your loved ones better. Be assured that no one is alone.

    “Leigh has everything going for her when the unthinkable happens. She loses control of her own emotions and everything in her life begins to slip away. With a marriage strained to the brink, the loss of her father, fertility issues and the loss of her job, will Leigh be able to move beyond The Blue Veil and take back control of her future?“

    Thanks so much for your consideration and efforts. I understand that you are busy, so I wanted to express my sincere gratitude. It is with great respect for you and your blog that I write this email and it would mean so much to me to have your readers aware of my efforts.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time if you have any questions regarding my request.
    Sincerely yours,
    Leigh Turgeon
    email: leighturgeon@gmail.com
    Twitter: @leighslead
    The Blue Veil Blog http://behindtheblueveil.blogspot.ca/
    FB Page The Blue Veil https://www.facebook.com/TheBlueVeil
    FB Page Leigh Turgeon https://www.facebook.com/LeighTurgeon
    1-613-794-4657

    List of Depression Awareness organizations:
    International
    Families For Depression Awareness (Origin: US / International) http://www.familyaware.org/
    To Write Love On Her Arms (Origin: Australia / International) http://www.twloha.com/move/
    World Federation of Mental Health (International) http://www.wfmh.org/00awareness.htm
    US
    National Alliance on Mental Illness (US) http://www.nami.org/
    Bring Change To Mind (US) http://bringchange2mind.org/
    Canada
    Mental Health Commission of Canada (Canada) http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/
    Canadian Mental health Association (Canada) http://cmha.ca/bins/index.asp
    D.I.F.D (Canada) http://www.doitfordaron.com/videos/mental-health-awarenss-video-power-to-the-purple-challenge/
    Australia
    Sane (Australia) http://www.sane.org/stigmawatch/stigmawatch-activity
    Blurt (Australia) http://blurtitout.org
    Beyond Blue (Australia) http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?
    United Kingdom
    The Depression Alliance (United Kingdom) http://www.depressionalliance.org/how-we-can-help/depression-awareness-week.php
    Scotland
    Action on Depression http://www.dascot.org/
    Ireland
    Lean On Me (Ireland) http://www.leanonme.net/ie
    Aware (Ireland) http://www.aware.ie/

  5. I have GAD and it is SO hard for anyone to really understand, because outwardly I’m the most positive person anyone has ever met. I’m just now getting treatment at 20 after a life of thinking feeling like this was normal. Thank you for sharing. I just found your blog today when I was reading up on Montessori and I can tell you I will be a continued fan! And your children are just darling.

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