I’ve come back from a terrible depression, and I’ve learned through several bouts of it, that I need medication regularly. If I stop taking it, I fall into the pit again. And I fall deeper, into a darker darkness than I have known before.
Loving yourself is key. Somehow, I have taken back seat to other causes in my life when I am my most important cause. I form the foundation for all of the things that I do, and when I don’t take care of myself, I can’t fulfill my passions or do anything else worthwhile for long. So, I’m learning (still) that when I prioritize my self-care, I am happier. I make stronger connections, and connections are my purpose. I’m able to care better about others. I’m able to help others too. As a matter of fact, I’m sharing this in hopes of helping others who may struggle with similar issues. Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day, and mental illness is something I know a little about.
Mental Illnesses are diseases. They are life threatening and scary, and treatable and always there. It was an enlightening moment when I realized that my depression is similar to my dad’s diabetes. He needs to take insulin for his body to function properly. I need to take medication in order for my mind to operate properly. It’s a simple enough concept, but we are far from fully embracing it.
I am lucky. I have a wonderful group of family and friends who support me, and love me… even when I don’t love myself. They carry me when I can’t move. I am thankful for their patience and care. I am alive today because of it. I am grateful that I’ve been able to find an amazing doctor, and that she cared enough to provide the services (through a grant) that I so desperately needed when I was out of a job and out of money. I was at the end of my rope.
Not everyone has what I have. Not everyone survives the battle. Suicide is the most preventable killer. It takes courage to speak up, speak out or just be there for someone, but conquering that fear just may save a life.
Awareness, education, and just talking about the issues makes all the difference in the world. I have loved, lived with, worked with and served people with many different types of mental illness. And the thing is, mental illness can be scary. The unknown is scary, BUT by talking about our illnesses or to others who have mental illness, we bridge that gap between the unknown and the known. The gap between fear and understanding.
We must educate ourselves, educate others, and decide what we must do to make things better.
Below are listed some links to websites that support mental health awareness, mental health care and the mental health cause. If you’re reading this, chances are, you have made a difference in my life. Chances are, you know someone with mental illness. Chances are, you can make a difference in the world.
I love you,
The National Alliance on Mental Illness
US Department of Health and Human Services on Mental Health
To Write Love on Her Arms & Always Keep Fighting
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Please share links – if you have them of sites that you’ve found helpful in the comments section.
Listen up! Lift Him Up, Old Crow Medicine Show