Struggling: No shame here
Living with a mental health condition not only meant dealing with the constant battle with the demons in your head, but also the shame and stigmas surrounding mental health.
I’ve been thinking about all the stigmas around mental health and the treatment of those suffering from mental illness. This made me think of the biggest stigmatising happening in my life daily and that’s all done by myself. Of course I don’t intentionally set out to place stigmas upon myself, but I am, like many women, my biggest critic and when things got difficult I found myself in a situation where I would stigmatise myself by focussing so much on my problems and what’s gone wrong that day. So may it be financial issues, a hard day with the kids, work, struggling to get things done at home or even forgetting something, I found that I became so critical of myself that I placed the stigma of anxious failure or even blaming it on my mental health condition. Through my cognitive behavioural therapy I’ve learnt to view things differently. Focussing on the tasks I have completed and making a list of things I would still like to do gives me a more positive outlook and through that I learn to take responsibility for the actions I have taken that day. I remind myself in my critical moments that there is absolutely no shame in struggling and there is no shame in asking for help. Looking back to when I realised I was struggling emotionally I stopped myself from seeking the necessary help, convincing myself that there’s no one on this planet that would understand and that any relationships I have with my friends and family would regress and therefore I would loose everything. Seeking help in fact proved the opposite. The first positive steps I took was admitting to myself ( which was harder than I ever thought it would be) and to my husband that I was in desperate need of help. I’ve crossed my first hurdle and the next in my quest to better my mental state was making contact with a therapist. I felt victorious! I have conquered my demons for a day.
After several therapy sessions I once again realise how many lessons I’ve learnt through my mental health illness. One major lesson is grasping just how afraid I have always been of loosing people that I did everything to keep them happy and I in turn lost myself. I became so dedicated to others that I abandoned myself and found myself shipwrecked on isolation island surrounded by darkness and emotional storms so strong,I was drowning in it.
Admitting defeat was so much more empowering that I could ever comprehend. The lessons I learn daily is powerful beyond measure and it is equipping me with the tools I need to come out stronger at the other side. Admitting I was struggling taught me that there is no shame in asking for help. Those who truly cared stuck around and those who didn’t, well, today I can honestly say I wish them the best! Life has a cruel sense of humour, but there’s valuable lessons to be learnt from every scenario. Like I said before, I am by no means nonsensical about my journey with anxiety and depression, but with every setback I learn. The lessons aren’t always instantly clear, but I eventually get it.