What happens in your life when things go wrong? Do you talk about it? CAN you talk about it? Is it a big problem? A small problem? A health issue? A money problem? What’s happening in your life that you need to handle? Better question… HOW are you handling it?
I suffered A LOT in high school from what is essentially ignorance and silence on an issue that was almost considered to be taboo in my home. Mental health. I struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, depression and self harm. But I never even knew that those things were a possibility even though there is a genetic predisposition to depression in my family. My mother had postpartum depression and she was on medication for several years to essentially cope when my younger siblings were toddlers. But she stopped taking medication and basically shoved her entire experience and struggle under the rug.
When I was put into mandatory counseling at the age of 17 due to a teacher at my high school finding out about my self harm. My mom was called. My parents were notified because I wasn’t of age yet and since I was at school they were required to be notified. My mom cried and asked me where she went wrong with me. She didn’t tell me she had suffered from depression for several years, or that she had considered counseling for herself off and on for several years. She asked what was wrong with me. Why was I upset? Why was I angry?
Once in counseling I was just embarrassed about everything. Ashamed. Guilty. Mad. I didn’t understand why I was being blamed for everything when I was feeling extremely victimized by all the people around me. My parents, teachers, friends, my sister, my boyfriends, myself..
It was hard to admit that I had a lot of pain. All I thought I felt was anger. And I didn’t realize at the time that the “anger” was just pain. Internal pain I couldn’t escape from. I fought it. I fought myself. My mind. I felt so guilty, all I could think about was how much I had hurt my parents even though I felt like they had hurt me too. I was so ashamed of how I had made them feel. I felt like they were disappointed. Ashamed of me. Exhausted from trying to deal with me. And each one of those feelings alone is hard to handle, all of them combined was devastating to me.
I learned through counseling just how dangerous silence can be. No one acknowledged that there was a possibility something like this could happen to me. No one gave me a warning. I’ve since learned, I am also genetically predisposed to other health problems, cancers, diabetes, heart disease, hypoglycemia, and dementia. I question a lot of things now. I learned to handle my panic, to an extent, and I have learned to manage my hypoglycemia through my diet. I lost weight to avoid diabetes and I get regular cancer screenings. I still occasionally go to therapy. Sometimes you just need to talk.
I have good days and bad days. When I get stressed out I feel like there are WAY more bad days than good days. But when I am happy, it can be weeks of good days. It’s hard when you try to deal with it alone. And I feel like that’s one of the things that led to my problems in high school. Trying to handle everything alone. It wasn’t supposed to be happening and I needed to just be able to handle it. Everyone had problems and I was just being weak.. The internal battle was only escalated by the fact that I didn’t realize that problems like the ones I was having were not normal. There IS help. And help is a GOOD thing. Your brain is a muscle. It gets tired, sore, worn out. If you mess up your knee you go to a doctor. If your brain is hurting, you go to a doctor. It’s not a bad thing. It shouldn’t be such a taboo. Ignoring the problems completely doesn’t make them go away.
There are so many things in this post that can be posts in and of themselves. I just want to emphasize that silence is not the way to handle things. The problems you’re facing will still be there and if you have the option to have someone else help you with them you should use it.
Best wishes to each and every person out there who is struggling and feels alone. You’re not alone. You deserve help. So get it.
Thanks for reading.