When I was sixteen and I started this blog, I did so because I felt trapped. I felt like I was stuck behind my inability to express myself to those around me. My head felt like this uncontrollable creature that howled and shrieked every moment I was awake. I needed an outlet; I needed a way to get it all out of me. I did, and I am so proud of how far it has come. Every post has helped me in some way to gain back the power I lost.
But over the years I’ve built another kind of prison for myself, and I’ve been battling internally with myself about it.
would I be putting myself out there too much?
Will people ever understand if I tell the truth?
Am I being dishonest?
I may have written about similar things in the past, but I never explicitly linked it back to myself. But I have decided that I will no longer be shamed into silence.
My life changed when I was sixteen and my mind did too. I cannot pinpoint the day, because the change was a process and I thought it would gradually disappear. It didn’t, and after my family noticed the change I went for therapy. I was immediately diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Depression. But I didn’t want to go on medication and we (my family and I) decided that I would combat it naturally. I would exercise everyday with my dad, and if I felt bad again then I would go back to therapy. This seemed to work for a while.
Slowly, my symptoms and the depression seeped back into my life when I was eighteen. I had a highly stressful and target-driven job that I loved, but when I came home from that job I was empty. It felt like I had no control over anything. I felt myself slowly slipping away from things I once enjoyed and from loved ones. It was horrible to see what this did to my mom, but it was beyond my control. I didn’t have the energy to be happy anymore. It felt like my life was colourless and meaningless. My mom convinced me to go to therapy again and I did.
I should have gone for a second opinion, but I didn’t, and the misdiagnosis led to a whole chain of events that I won’t go into. Since then, I have been on a number of medications I truly believe should not even be on the market. When I finally did get a second opinion and a third opinion, I had been on mind-altering drugs for three years. My body had changed, my weight increased drastically and my immune system was run-down. I had memory problems and I had spent 3/4 of those years asleep. Weaning myself off these highly addictive drugs was something I never wish to repeat. I broke out in rashes, cold sweats, and battled nausea for weeks. Weeks turned into months and I battled insomnia and smoked more cigarettes than I should have. I was so anxious about getting off of the medication. I had to adjust to feeling everything I had numbed for three years all in the space of a few months. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I now know that I have Major Depression and General Anxiety. These disorders are something that I have. They do not define me, they do not make me ‘crazy’ or ‘unreliable’ or a ‘psycho’. Mental illness is not glamorous, and it’s not romantic. I just see things differently and my mind processes things differently. I worry about every thing around me to the point of exhaustion. I feel everything. But I will not be ashamed of it any more. This is a part of me, and for once I am so proud of it. These disorders made me a better, kinder and a more understanding person. They helped me empathise with many others and they have made me vulnerable in a way that I am now fearless.
This journey has also taught me that not everyone will understand. Some people will make you feel small; others will thank you for your bravery. Some people will use it against you, and others will hold you against them when you can’t breathe.
Writing this my heart has been beating loudly, my skin has broken out in hives and I have cried a few times. There is a part of me screaming, “don’t publish this! No one will understand!”
But the truth is, I am tired of being quiet about something that so many people experience at least once if not all of their lives.
If you have experienced this or something similar I encourage you to talk about it. I encourage you to let it make you stronger and kinder.
Thank you for reading.
P.s I am always here.