Photo Credit: Olivia Lake
Senior Talks Mental Health
Mental health. Is something that is shied away from in our society and usually considered a touchy topic that a lot of us, if we were honest, is something we all struggle to conquer in our daily lives. In my own words, it is time to pull back the sheet.
The sheet I am talking about is the thing that covers up the cycles we are constantly going in feeling no way of escape. People who struggle with mental health, like I did, know that this is a scary place. This is the sheet covering our pain.
As a person who struggled with mental health for years, I have to admit that I did not see it coming, nor was I prepared. I was hiding under the sheets. I stayed under for a long time until something pulled them back.
I was only 14 years old when I started seeing signs. Depression and anxiety started to set in. People surrounded me, but I felt alone. I could have asked for help, but I was scared.
There were moments where I thought I was going to loose my mind or be on the urge of an anxiety attack. My depression was so overwhelming that I spent hours crying tears at night. And no one knew. I did not know what was happening to me.
Being around people was my greatest challenge. I was hiding behind a mask that concealed what was actually happening. I would smile, but on the inside I was in pain. A mask is something that hides a person’s true identity or reality. Just like a sheet, it covers true but painful emotions.
It was like I was internally bleeding. As I kept my depression and anxiety in a bottle, the more I bagan to feel it seeping through and that the top was about to unscrew. Everything I was hiding was about to come out and I could not let this happen.
My isolation became worse and I began staying in my room for, if I could, the entire day. I did not want to be bothered by anyone or anything, I wanted to be alone. I was close to feeling nothing but depression and anxiety. The pain had completely numbed my feeling of joy, happiness and peace.
You are probably wondering when my turning point occurred or when I finally broke. I was wondering when I was going to come out from under the sheet and from behind the mask, too. Well, here is where my life had changed.
I had been in this cycle for three years and my point had finally come. I broke. I was riding to dance with my mom and I did not say a word for the first few minutes of the ride. My mind was racing through controlling thoughts and I could not take another moment sinking in my ocean of thoughts. I needed to come up for air.
As a few moments passed my depression began to sweep over me and I finally began to let out my true reality. I began sobbing and I could not stop. My mom asked me what was wrong but I could not give an answer. My tears overwhelmed me everytime I tried to speak.
We arrived at my dance studio and my mom asked me again what was wrong. I answered her and said that I did not know and that sometimes I feel depressed. She responded that she was going to get me some help.
I told her I did not want to go into practice and she understood. But she did bring out my head dance instructor and she told me that she was not going to make me practice but that she simply wanted to talk.
I went inside and I talked to my dance instructor about how I was feeling; how I felt that I could not get passed it. And one thing I will never forget that she told me was that I was not alone. She told me of how much the people around cared for me and that I did not have to be afraid anymore.
This was my first step to finding relief and joy again–to know that someone had finally seen me and for once I did not feel alone. But they did not see me until I came out from hiding and that is the thing that our society is missing. No one can see you unless you come out.
Come out from under the sheet. Come out from behind the mask. Come out from the thoughts that continuously seek to control your mind. There is someone who can help you and who does care about you.
I am not going to leave you without tools to help you. I hope these few tips of wisdom will help you find the hope that I found.
Therapy. I went on to take therapy not long after and I can say that it helped me cope as well as conquer this battle as I learned who I was and how much I was worth. And I want you to know that you are worth it.
Find something you love. The interesting thing about depression is that it has the ability to drain all the desire out of you. You feel stagnant and feel as if you cannot find anything worth doing. But this is where therapy can become a great component. As you learn to heal, you begin to find life apirations and joy again. Sooner or later you see what you truly love.
Time. It takes time. Sometimes we try to rush the process and we neglect to take our time. Take your time. It is okay if you do not master finding joy or being happy over night. And the thing about life is that you are not going to be happy everyday of your life. Some days you will be sad. It is okay because it is just part of being human.
Breathe. Anxiety is something that has the ability to trap and consume. It is one of the most aggressive mental health issues in our society. When I was struggling with anxiety I was always cautious and always emotionally disturbed. I learned to just breathe. I am not talking about just the deep breaths you take; the breathing I am talking about is exhaling all of the stress and worry and knowing it is okay. Just breathe.
For me personally I made the choice to ask God to help me through this time as well and he did. I grew to find joy again and was restored to all that I was feeling empty of. My life had changed in a way that I thought it never could.
The last thing I want to let you know and to help you find peace is to tell you that you are going to be okay. At times you may not feel okay but just know on those days, that another day is coming and it just might be brighter.