Mental Health and Me

Anxiety.

Depression.

Suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Self-harm.

Low self-esteem.

Eating disorders.

All of these things have affected my life, but thankfully, only half of them are still an issue. The biggest ones, suicide and cutting, were a major struggle for several years of my life; however, though they seemed impossible to overcome during that period of time, I finally got myself out of those extremely dark places – and not long before I became a Mom.

Low self-esteem has always been a huge problem, ever since I can remember. I do know the earliest cause of it, as well as the other things along the way, but I still can’t shake it, almost thirty-two years later, even with a Husband who makes me feel amazing, and a wonderful Pregnancy that made me feel absolutely beautiful. No matter how many times Hubs calls me gorgeous, no matter how many compliments I receive from others…I just can’t feel like I’m any of those things, nor can I stop putting myself down or being so hard on myself. I guess hearing certain things from one’s own parents, for their entire first eighteen years of life, destroys them in that way. It doesn’t help that many people take one look at me and decide not to give me the time of day, without knowing a thing about me…nor does it help when I get stared at nearly everywhere I go, sometimes with dirty looks on the staring person’s face. Those actions make someone like me feel even more self-conscious, and lowers my self-esteem that much more.

Eating disorders are no joke. I was diagnosed with both anorexia and bulimia when I was fourteen. I was the thinnest I’d ever be at that time of my life, but my bio mother had been telling me I was fat and limiting my food intake for as long as I can remember…so I had it in my head that I shouldn’t eat, or if I did, I should puke it back up. Thankfully, it didn’t get as out of control for me as it does for many, but it was still a hard time that continues to affect me to this day – especially because of how overweight I am now. I’ll never resort to those old ways, or other unhealthy ones, to lose weight, but I still have trouble accepting my size and how hard it has been to lose weight, for the past several years. The saddest part is, I’m not overweight because I had a Kid (like many people I have known automatically assumed) – birth control after having my Son, as well as a med a few years later, put me higher up on the scale. A week after I had my Son, I was in my pre-pregnancy jeans; by the time He was three months old, I’d lost all the Pregnancy weight, plus an extra five pounds, and looked fantastic! So yeah, it is hard as hell to accept the fact that things meant to help me, destroyed my body in such a way, and continue to do so, years later.

My struggles with anxiety stem from the trauma from which I suffered as a child, apparently. That’s what the therapists I had as a teen told me, anyway. Lucky me, right? Thanks a bunch, bio mother. Anyway, it has gotten better over the past several years, but mainly in the social aspect. The general sense is still a battle, yet nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I’d like to thank ME, for working so hard, all on my own, for many years, to make it that way. It is extremely manageable, with the right tools and consistency…but it isn’t for everyone, and it can be thrown off by other uncontrollable things – as I’d discovered last year. Anxiety affects me physically, as well, which is unpleasant, so I really hate it and need help controlling it.

Oh, depression – how I despise thee! It runs in my biological family, so it’s no surprise that I ended up dealing with it, but certain things also didn’t help with it. For instance, the aforementioned trauma, as well as losing one of my best childhood friends to suicide when I didn’t even know what suicide was. Those few factors certainly set me up for a rough time, but I never knew I’d deal with it for my entire life. Thankfully, it has only been severe when something caused it to be. The two worst times, were in high school, and when my Son was only a few years old. When I was wrongly diagnosed as bipolar as a teen, I was prescribed a mood stabilizer as a result; that medication caused me to become severely depressed and almost psychotic. I ended up cutting myself the most I’d ever done by that time, and also tried to commit suicide in a more serious way than I ever had, while on that medication. It was a nightmare, and one that nearly killed me. When I was in my mid-twenties, I’d been using the Mirena IUD for three years; it poisoned me with an insane amount of side effects, most of which were physical, but the worst was another round of the most awful depression. I’d been planning to switch IUDs before it had even hit, and I didn’t know at the time that Mirena was the cause for the sudden horrible change in my mental state; however, upon having it removed, it was like a switch had been flipped. I was beyond relieved when I was freed from that black hole, as it was absolutely terrifying to feel so low, when I had (have!) the best reason in the world to be happier than ever – my Kiddo.

In my last monthly update post, I’d talked about my more recent struggles with my anxiety and depression, and how I’d decided to go back to the medication part of getting help. I am happy to report that the increase in my med has already shown some improvement in getting back to where I was when I initially began taking it, so I’m more than positive in thinking I’m going to be just fine. It’s the maximum dose for this particular med, so I can’t go any higher, but I’m hopeful that it will continue doing its job in helping me be the best version of me. I’d tried many different anti-depressants in my teen years, and I had so many issues with them…so the fact that this one is working, and with minimal side effects, is a damn miracle. I’ve also switched to taking it in the morning, to see if it affected my sleep at all, but unfortunately, I’m still struggling in that department. I’ll most likely go back to taking it in the evening, like I was before the increase, as it didn’t make my sleep issues better or worse. It does suck that I’m still not sleeping well or consistently each night, and that I’m constantly tired, but that’s been the norm for me for years – even before Motherhood and adopting pets, lol.

I suppose I could open up even more about my past issues with things, but I think I’ve gone on enough about it for now. Just know that if you’re struggling with mental issues, and need someone to talk to – I’m here, always understanding, and never judging. I do want to stress how important it is to not only be self-aware, but to not ignore your symptoms and/or the concern from anyone around you. It is the most important thing to get help for yourself, but also for the sake of your loved ones and anyone whom you encounter. Untreated mental illnesses can be terrible for you and everyone around you. Not asking for or accepting help is much scarier than asking for or accepting the help you need. Talking about mental health is also important, as it can help others as well as yourself. I’m just passing on things I’ve learned over the years, after my many different experiences with mental issues of my own, and in others. By posting this, I hope I have helped someone, somehow, or can help them in the future.

Be well, and know that it can and does get better.

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