Mental Illness Awareness Week is October 6-12, 2019. Learn from my story.
I'd like to believe that over time, something that is talked about and shared more, it becomes less of a stigma. Next week is Mental Illness Awareness week. Mental illness effects you, your mood, your day to day life. People sometime confuse it with mental health, and think it's the same thing. No, every one has health. One person's health is different than the person beside them. Illness is when you are sick, and your quality of life suffers.
The sad thing is, there are so many people aware of metal illness, but people will still treat you like you have a plague.
I've had my share of metal problems for over 20 years. I fight depression, anxiety, and there are days that I don't have the will to be among people. The last eight years or so I've actually been more open and honest with people about it . While I was married, most of the time I couldn't keep a full time job. Working five days back to back wore on me. I didn't want to be around people. I was taking anti-depressants, but I was also in a failing marriage.
Fast forward through life. I was divorced and felt like I lost my best friend. I lost my father and was torn on it. My mother had Triple Bypass Surgery, came out like a champ, but that plays with you. Building a life on my own again, then moving back in with my mom. Countless other things piled up. I was going through the motions of life. I was worn. I was tired, and I honestly didn't care if I lived. I was on my 45 minute drive to work and I prayed I would get in to a wreak cause I couldn't deal with things. I needed help and I knew I needed it right then. Luckily, I had a doctor's appointment that day. I showed up early.
The next few things that happened, I don't ever wish upon anyone. The doctor's office had to call the police. I get that. I also get that a police officer doesn't know what kind of situation they are going to on a call. I have family in law enforcement. I honestly didn't like the policy that I was to be cuffed and brought to the hospital in the back of a cruiser. I'm depressed, not a criminal. Three nurses and two policemen were standing beside me as I dumped stuff in my car. Pocket knifes, needles because I'm a diabetic, I took off my jewelry, locked my car and handed them my bag and phone. I wasn't a threat. Never in my life would I had thought I would be as excited as I was to see an ambulance. The ambulance would be my ride to the hospital instead. Expensive ride really, but my big butt in the back of a cruiser was going to be comical.
I realized I wasn't going to the correct facility as soon as they left the doctors parking lot. I wasn't happy, but you'd think it would be the same. No. It wasn't. Again, I completely understand their protocol on things. I understand taking my belongings and going through them, and giving me the paper scrubs. I was so afraid I was going to move wrong and bust a seam. I was severely sick, and crying, and freaking out slightly cause tears and paper don't mix. My real fear now was my mother showing up. She did. Bless my mother, I love her dearly. I know she didn't know how to act. I couldn't hide that I was sick and I was losing a grip on life. When she came in she was confrontational. "What, why are you here?" I remember that question, she asked me that more than once.
That day changed a lot. A lot of tears were shed. I could open up and admit I had a problem again and I wasn't fine like I thought. I had my medication changed and it's helped. My mom slowly accepted that I was struggling, and finally lost the mindset of "Well I can't say anything to you, I don't want you to freak out." That hurt hearing that. I had took some time off work, so some co workers knew. I didn't want to say much to people because people judge. I wasn't sure what my mom told my family. I was worried.
I stopped worrying.
To me that was helping the stigma, and the black plague feeling. Yes, I have days that I can't function. Yes, I have days that I panic. Yes, there are days that things will trigger a panic attack and I have to take more medication. But, there are days that I am perfectly fine. I wake up thankful to have life. I get to spend another day with my dog Bruce Wayne and try to be an amazing person. Seriously who is going to spoil Bruce like me?
I'll admit, I never want to do any of that again. I also want anyone who's reading this to not suffer in silence because you are worried about what someone will say. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a website with a lot of good information, you can see that here. They say 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness this year. Yourself. Your family. Your friend. Hug that person. They haven't changed their feelings about you, so don't change yours.