My Mental Health and How I Fight

The issue of mental health is quickly gaining more awareness throughout our lives. With more and more people especially young people committing suicide this issue is largely undiagnosed.

Mental health issues are not visibly seen by the naked eye. More often than not the person that you may see who is smiling and joking always laughing and makes other people be happy around them are often and the ones who are who are the most depressed, and who have the most anxiety.

It’s often hard to just tell the person who’s fighting depression that they just have to be happy, they just have to watch movies, or go shopping. It’s not that easy. As one of my friends said, you can’t just tell a depressed person to cheer up, inasmuch as you can tell a person who is paralyzed to get up and run. It’s the same thing.

So what can we do?

First a little background on myself. I remember when I was 15 (30 years ago) I had some depressive episodes and actually thought of stabbing myself in the stomach. I thought of it daily, and I kept thinking to myself that I’m really just a piece of garbage that only made my parents disappointed. I knew which knife I was going to use, and was thinking of when. But somehow I didn’t do it. I passed every day for the whole school year, and I didn’t do anything about it. Grades weren’t the greatest, and I’m less than athletically inclined. But somehow I persevered anyway. “I’m just gonna keep going.”

⁃ Patience –

I move out a few years later, started drinking and smoking weed to cover my sadness and self hate. I drove drunk a few times, and once I didn’t even know how I got home.

In 1996, I met her. She’ll tell you it was love at first sight, but it only took me 10 days. We spent the whole summer together and really fell in love. We eventually got married in 1999.

Our beautiful daughter was born in 2002, and my son in 2004.

In early 2005, my son had a really awful rash on his skin. The only comfort that he had was to be held 24 hours a day seven days a week. He would scratch his arms and his legs on his bassinet or in his carrier because he itched so badly. The only comfort that he had was when his grandmother or any one of us was holding him. By the summer of 2005, I was averaging 2-3 hours of sleep a night, and my complete lack of sleep drove me into depression, and I’ve gotten so bad that no amount of jokes and laughing and even kindness from my friends and my coworkers and my family was able to get me out of this funk. I was starting to think of a plan how I would kill myself and I also had this gross notion to think that I would also take my son with me. But for some reason, and I’m very grateful about it, I didn’t follow through. Between my job and volunteer work in my church, I had such a busy lifestyle that I couldn’t think of anything else but my daily, and weekly to do list.

By the time we got to November 2005, our doctor had recommended us to a dermatologist for our son, who gave us a prescription for a skin cream. Within two days, all of the rash is from his body practically disappeared. On the third day we saw him laughing and smiling for the first time in his first year of life. It was incredible!

⁃ Patience –

Fast forward now to December 2017. I have had chronic back pain for several months due to a compressed spine in every single vertebrae from my neck to my tailbone. I had between 1 to 10 mm in compression. The pain that I feel is every single day, and some days I can’t get out of bed without pain. There were some days that I slipped disc sneezing, and some days I have extreme fatigue. Because of pain like this I actually thought “what is the point of being alive? I’ll never get better.” But something changed and what I’m going to say help me get out of this funk which took several months and it is now me 2018.

This may not help everyone and this might only be specific to me, but through my story what I’m hoping for is that it would be to be able to help you or anyone that you may know, and that you’re not alone. With patience, eventually you’ll be able to get out of it.

I started by looking at the surface first and deal with that: my back! I started exercising plus I had specific stretches that my chiropractor at BackFit told me to do. I also started taking a lot of supplements to help me with everything that was ailing my physical body, and mind. Besides my joint pain I was also taking supplements for brain, stress, and anxiety. I was taking at least 20 capsules or tablets in total in the day. For some people, that’s not too much, but for most it’s quite a lot. The reason I was taking this much, was to saturate my body with nutrients that can help alleviate everything that I’m going through. In a few short months one of the things that I noticed was that the pains that I felt were no longer debilitating or constant. Another thing that I noticed with the anxiety and stress supplements I was taking I was that I was able to cope a little bit better. However I didn’t feel perfect because I still felt stress when I’m in crowded situations, or if I’m in situations where I’m in an enclosed area.

Further to this started journaling in a notebook and a beautiful fountain pen. By getting my thoughts down on paper every single morning, it gave me an intent of what I wanted to achieve in the day. At the end of the day I would write down everything that I did throughout the day and how I felt about them. This has been the biggest help for me. I can’t explain why but by letting all the crap out of my head allowed me to feel content and it did not allow the negative talk that I had, stay in my head. Writing my mental chatter was one of the best things that happened in my life. I was also finding that as I write, I find the answers to the questions that have been bothering me, in a faster way than if I just let it roam around in my head.

⁃ Patience –

Depression can happen at any time we don’t know when or how it comes around but what we do now is that by the time of person reaches the age of 40, over 50% of Americans will have some form of mental issue in their life. Some issues can be easy, and some can be very hard. You will never know the battles a person is facing. For some people, their demons and battles are so big, they can’t even get out of bed.

One of the worst things that you can tell someone is “oh it’s only in your head.” Depression manifests itself in many ways and for some, like myself, it comes in body or joint pains, and for others it comes in as various illnesses or diseases.

Always be there for them, and if you’re the one suffering, PLEASE reach out.

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