I can’t believe I’ve come this far. Finally, I said the words aloud to someone else besides my husband:
I have depression!!
I’ve never been so open about my mental health. For most of my life, I hid it, ashamed at being labeled crazy or psycho, even worried that someone would take my children away if I spoke up about how bad my mental health was.
Now, I’ve come to a point in my life where I had no choice but to either face it or end up in the nearest mental health facility.
Yeah, it got that bad.
There are many painful experiences that I never dealt with, pushing down all the pain and burying it in some obsolete corner in my mind like everyone else in my family does. We are pretty good at it, too.
It’s not a taught trait, more innate and inbred, learned by watching and absorbing how family members deal with their own experiences. Plus, after reading the poems that my mom had that almost mirrored many of mine, a fact that still baffles me, let me know that mental health has been an issue in my family for decades now.
Finding The Middle Ground Of Grief
As a child, I got to know death intimately and not by choice. If it were up to me, my mom and dad would still be alive and well, only a phone call away. But life had other plans.
The first realization of something I never dealt with was the death of my mother. When I heard those words that my mom was dead, it ripped every innocence she gave to me right out of my chest and released back to her, jumping into her casket as I looked upon her face at her viewing and funeral.
After stripping away substances that distracted me from the pain and acknowledgment of what I needed to end this horrific cycle, I had to start at the root of the problem, that being my mother’s death.
Everything changed after that. We moved out of the only house I knew, where we had all our memories. (We moved back, but that story is for another post.)
Shortly after the funeral, both my brothers moved out of town with other family members. I never thought I would be separated from them. They were one of the last few lifelines to what life was before. There was no turning back now.
I became very subdued, staying in my room all the time, crying when I should have been sleeping. Ironically, this is when I really started diving into my writing.
How do you process grief as a child? Are you supposed to go through counseling to realize what you need to accept? I realize now I needed professional help. Back then I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Maybe if I had I’d have been better off today. (Lessons to take in for my own children.)
I’ve been to counseling a few times in my adult years. The last time I went, it made me aware of how much in my short span of a life I’ve been through.
Counseling is great for most people. Personally, I found paying someone to discuss the things I already replayed in my head constantly was not helpful.
It should be the other way around. I want people to pay me to read the about the replays constantly playing in my head.
Without my liquid stipulation, I had to deal with what haunts me everyday. Plus, my mental health and personal wellbeing were dwindling, in my perception. By doing this, I’ve become my own psychologist. I’m not qualified to handle anyone else unless their life is similar to mine, which few are
I’ve learned that it’s ok to cry when you think about someone who has died. I had to let go of the anger of losing my parents and accept that it is ok to feel that every now and then.
Now, I let myself feel those emotions without any apology. For some reason, I’ve been apologizing for being myself and hurting when I’m hurting. It makes me vulnerable and I hate that because it gives people ways in to hurt you.
I’m still working on myself but I am proud of myself. Last time, I couldn’t admit to having depression, just the anxiety part of it. I figured that whatever they gave me would probably help with depression, too.
I was right.
That will be the last time I hide my mental health illness. Why should I act like it’s not something I am dealing with because it may make someone uncomfortable? I kept my family away for a few years because I was ashamed at how bad I had let myself and the house get, all resulting from my battle with my mental health. It’s official: if you want to be around me, you’re going to have to deal with me.
Remind yourself or someone else: There is no timeline on grief and it’s not created equal.
“Grief is a lonely experience,”
excerpt line from “A bomb, a death, a war’s painful legacy: Remembering the first Californian killed in Afghanistan” an L.A. Times article by Thomas Curwen.
A bomb, a death, a war’s painful legacy: Remembering the first Californian killed in Afghanistan
The 2,000-pound bomb followed its instructions as it raced through the cold December sky above the small Afghan village…www.latimes.com
Originally published on maryjoneswriting.com