I have been thinking about this post for the last several weeks, but wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take it and wasn’t sure how far I wanted it to go. After the last few weeks and a couple of classes in the program I’m in at school, it’s helped me to make the decision on where this is going to go. Bare with me on this post.
In my Psychopathology class last night, a presenter came in to talk about different disorders, and illnesses, psychotropic medications, their benefits, and their risks. After a few hours of talking, he showed the YouTube clip, ‘the black dog’, which I have attached to this blog post. It’s a few minutes worth of your time and I suggest you watch that first before reading this post, as that was the clip that helped me decide where this post is going to go.
This is where it gets a little, or a lot, personal:
Not a ton of people know, only a select few, but I have dealt with anxiety and depression on a very regular basis since my senior year in high school. I’ve been on and off different medications, but six years later, I’m still dealing with these. Sometimes there is a reason for it, sometimes there is not. Sometimes it lasts for a long time, goes away for a while, and then comes back. Sometimes it comes and stays for a very long time. I never know what any given day is going to bring. This has helped me ruin a lot of my friendships, or to highly damage them, and to have many conflicts with my family members from the way I treat them.
I always thought it made me a weak person, that I should be ashamed and hide it from people. It’s not like that. It’s not supposed to be like that. It’s not a shameful thing. It doesn’t make someone weak or others better than that person. It’s a mental illness. People don’t choose it, it’s not what they’ve done, it’s how they were created, things that have been broken along the journey called life, so to say, and how their brain works/doesn’t work.
The illness does not define you. It does not make you a bad, unworthy, useless, or weak person. Trust me, I’ve gone through all of those. So many people feel like they will be judged and looked at differently if only people knew what they were dealing with. If only people knew what feelings you dealt with on a constant, daily basis, or if they only knew the thoughts that cross your mind, that they would no longer want to be friends or involved in your life. It’s time people stop thinking of people with a mental illness as less than others or be afraid to talk about it. It’s a very common thing and the illness does not discriminate. You would be surprised how many people actually struggle with this illness.
I recently started going to counseling last week, after a few close friends recommending me to do so, and it’s probably one of the hardest decisions/things I’ve had to make. It took me many months of different friends suggesting it to actually take the step to set an appointment up. I always thought counseling was for weak people, but oh, how I was wrong. It’s anything but that. It’s difficult. It’s hard. It takes effort, energy, time, and makes you acknowledge situations in your life that you would rather keep buried and ignore and never return to. It takes strength and takes acknowledgement that something is not right that needs to be discussed and worked through. So many people go through life with this illness thinking that one day it will just go away and get better, but it never does, it just gets worse the more you try to ignore it or bury everything. They think that they should have it all together because of what family they come from, what friends they have, how fortunate they are in monetary value, the kind of job they have, or because they are Christians, love God, are leaders, examples to their friends and younger family members, etc. It doesn’t change who you are as a person and the amazing value that you have or the impact you can make on others around you. It effects your ability to do so, at times, but it doesn’t make you a less valuable person or a less of a role model or a less of a light to the places you decide to go.
You can either do nothing about it and let it defeat you, or you can learn how to get help to be able to manage it and to live with it. Trust me, though, it’s easier said than done. It won’t just disappear like we all hope.
I guess the point of all of this is to bring awareness to this subject so everyone isn’t all ‘hush hush’ or so people don’t feel like they are the only one they know that deals with it, which makes them feel alone and like they have to act a certain way around people so they won’t figure it out. You aren’t alone. You are valuable. You are loved. You are treasured. You are HUMAN, imperfect, but so precious in His sight.
So there you have it. If anyone has any questions or would like to talk further about anything, I’m more than willing to talk with you. 🙂