The Mental Illness Journey

| 29/01/2016 | 0 Comments More
My Mental Health Journey

My Mental Health Journey

The Mental Illness Journey

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” -Nido Qubein

The aforementioned words could not be more true, and I feel they are very applicable to one suffering from a mental illness. Life is a journey, and all “now” is, is a starting point. If you are struggling with a mental illness, sometimes everything seems impossible. So it can be beneficial to look ahead at the future. Think about where “now” can take you. Maybe you can even use your present circumstances to your advantage.

One day about a year and a half ago I remember standing in my living room, watching my husband prepare to leave for work. Inwardly I felt like the world was ending. I wanted to die. I could not bear to face the world by myself again today. As he opened the door to leave I collapsed into sobs on the couch. He turned back to comfort me, but I could not be comforted. I felt alone, helpless, and miserable.

If you have ever suffered form depression, you can likely sympathize with how I felt that day. At that moment, I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere. I felt like I didn’t have the strength to go on. But it was a starting point that has brought me to today. Perhaps your starting point is somewhere dark and lonely, somewhere that seems hopeless. Just remind yourself that this is just a starting point and you CAN get better.

Today my moods are mostly stable. I am happy to be alive, and I have survived all of those dark tunnels of depression and the crazy highs of mania. Things did get better for me, and they can for you as well. If you are in one of those tunnels, or are riding one of those uncontrollable highs, think of where you would like to be. Do you want to have stable, regular moods? Do you just want to climb out of a dark tunnel of depression? Where do you want to go from here? Having a clear goal in mind will help with the next step.

Even more importantly, how can you get there? First and foremost, you must admit to yourself that the extreme highs and lows, or just lows, or the flashbacks, or the panic attacks, etc. are NOT normal. They are symptoms perhaps of problems with your brain chemistry or other physical problems.

Remember that your illness is NOT your fault, but it IS up to YOU to seek help for it. No one can feel what you are feeling, so don’t wait for someone to reach out to you before you take action. Speak to caring family members or friends. Explain to them how you have been feeling, or what you have been dealing with. In the situation I mentioned above, my husband called his boss and told him he needed a personal day to deal with some family issues and he stayed home to take care of me. His support and that of my parents has been so unbelievably helpful. Even on days when I’ve been down and my husband wasn’t able to stay home, knowing that people know how I’m feeling and care about me made a difference.

Talking to friends and family is a great step to take, but you cannot stop there. Seek professional help. A good counselor or psychiatrist can make a world of difference. They can assess your situation objectively and offer unbiased assistance. Whereas family or friends may shy away from the issue due to stigma or misconceptions, a good professional is educated and balanced in their opinion. Do NOT keep from going to a professional because you are embarrassed! Your very life can hang in the balance here, especially if you have dealt with suicidal thoughts in the past. Remember as I said before, there are physical reasons for your illness. It is not your fault and nothing to be ashamed of. Seeking professional help can be invaluable in starting to move towards mental wellness. (For some tips on choosing a mental health professional, read this article

In conclusion, remember that your mental illness is just a bump in the road. A giant bump perhaps, but your life can go on even with a mental illness. Take little steps and be determined to make it through TODAY. Worry about tomorrow when it comes, not now. Don’t let your present circumstances determine where you go.

By Megan Ernspiker

Tags: ,

Category: Mental Health

Leave a Reply