Mental health is fucked up. It is something that a huge percent of the world suffer with but never share. There is such an insane stigma around the idea of it that for YEARS people just kept their mouths shut and said nothing.
I was one of those people.
For 8 years, I battled with anxiety, manic depression, bulimia & addiction. I was 15 years old when I was first diagnosed and I was 23 when I first shared what I had been through.
My fears around being judged, shamed, and criticized were consuming for a very long time. I was going through so much yet told no one. I was being treated at Sunnybrook Hospital for most of my life but most of my closest friends had no idea.
My anxiety and depression triggered a lot of self destructive coping mechanisms for me. When I was young, it was bulimia and self-harm. As I got older, I kept those 2 and added on abusing drugs and alcohol. Because of how my brain was wired, I became an alcoholic/addict without even realizing.
I was never okay with myself. I always thought I was worthless and that I wasn’t deserving of a great life. I lived in this crazy world in my head, where I believed every negative thought I heard and seldom heard something positive. I couldn’t bare to be alone because my thoughts were so toxic that they would put me into panic attacks regularly.
I hated who I was and was on a path of self destruction.
I was becoming a monster because I couldn’t fix what was happening on the inside, and the only way to deal with it was to do anything to distract myself from the pain I was in.
I went to countless therapists, doctors, for years and eventually to in-patient treatment where I spent 2 months rehabilitating my brokenness.
Going to treatment saved my life. I had hit my moral and physical bottom right before leaving and knew that I was ready to change my life.
I had no phone, no tv, no magazines, books or contact with the outside world. I had one 10 minute phone call a week that I made to my parents and that was it.
I finally was forced to look inside and see why I was in so much pain. Why I hated myself and why I did everything I did. It was extremely painful but ultimately lead me on the path of recovery.
Once I was able to remove all the harmful coping mechanisms, I learned new ways to handle my emotions.
I had a feeling problem and never had the tools to handle what came my way. I finally felt like I was becoming whole again. I was ready to share my journey with the world and hopefully help others in their own.
I became a mental health advocate because I wish there was someone that I could have turned to when I was going through everything I did.
Talking about mental health saves lives. No matter how big or small, everyone’s story matters. You never know who you can impact with what you have been through.
I am one of the lucky ones that made it through. There are so many others that don’t get the same chance.
Today, and everyday, I choose to talk. I will never stop sharing because mental health is life or death.
Don’t let you fears stop you from helping to save a life.