Those who know me and those who have seen my blog or my public posts on Facebook know that I have been very open about my struggles of the last few years, especially the last 2.
I was hospitalized and on short term disability in 2015, and I isolated myself for a much longer time than that. I had let others tell my story (or, at least, how they saw it) while I hid from a world that I couldn’t understand anymore and in which I felt I could not function. I let others dictate my reactions and tell me how I felt and what I wanted. I lived with an unbearable pain and a weight that pushed me lower than I had ever been. I panicked at the thought of completing even the most mundane of tasks and I crumbled when thoughts of tragedies engulfed me, which they often did.
But I eventually found just enough strength to fight back against my illnesses. I knew that I didn’t want to give in or give up, and I wanted the life I thought I was ensuring for myself on May 13, 2011. I battled through the darkest times of my life in 2015, hoping that 2016 would bring my life back to me in every way that I thought I needed.
But such battles are not fought by only one. We are joined by those we love – their strength and love, their help and guidance allows us the focus and determination we need. We are, however, faced with losses of those we loved as well. We lose friends and lovers, who, despite your commitment and your resolve to regain every bit of who they knew, simply cannot provide the things you need or for which you ask. They cannot understand or accept who you are and what you need and you see them walk away, even while you call for them to stay. In the end, 2016 was probably worse than 2015 in many ways, because 2015 had been the beginning of hope, while 2016 saw much of that hope destroyed.
My heart has been broken many times in the last 2 years, shattered even, but my spirit has not.
I continue to fight for my mental health, with a growing strength, an incredible support system and a will to show others that it is nothing about which we should be embarrassed, and it is something from which we can recover.
It is a hard fight. A long fight. But, it is a fight worth fighting, and a fight worth winning.
I am open about my experiences and struggles because it helps me to know that there are people who hear my story who can learn something from it, who can possibly learn to reach out, or can learn how to help and understand their loved ones. It helps me to talk because it alleviates some of the pressure from the weight of depression and anxiety. It helps me to breathe.
I have faced loss that I never imagined was possible over the last 2 years, but I have gained strength and clarity as the fog of my illnesses has lifted. I have found a future that isn’t full of scars and tragedies, as my illnesses wish me to believe. And I have all of this because I decided to talk. I decided to ask for help. I asked to go to hospital because I wanted help. If I hadn’t talked then, I don’t know where I would be now, but it certainly would be a much darker world than the one in which I live. I have joy and happiness in my life because I chose to talk. Not every day is full of sunshine, but that is also why I continue to talk.
So, if you are struggling, or if you know someone who is struggling, I implore you to talk. Not just today, and not just for a while, but as much as is needed. Today is Bell Let’s Talk day, and it’s a good day to start. Start talking and don’t stop until the fog has lifted and the clouds have cleared and the weight is gone. Start talking for the health of you and/or your loved ones. Just remember, it takes more than a day.
I’ve lost some things and some people, but I have gained so much more.