January 28th, 2015 marked an important day. Million’s of people brought down their walls and began a dialogue concerning mental health and wellness in hopes to diminish the stigma, re-direct our language choices and support one another.
I decided that this would be the time to also share my story despite how anxious and afraid I am to do so and have been for as long as I could remember. First off, I need to be clear that I am not sharing this for any attention or sympathy whatsoever, I am simply sharing it in hopes to reach out to at least one person who also may be too anxious to discuss how they are feeling and to spread awareness that it’s important to re-shape how we think about mental health and wellness.
For years and to this day, I have dealt with anxiety/panic attacks and periods of depression. It was at its worst through high school where I tended to withdraw myself and enclose myself with feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, and weakness. I would constantly ask myself questions in my mind such as, “Why am I feeling this way? Why am I so stupid? why am I so weak” After thinking this way nearly every single day it came to the point one night which resulted in a one-time case of self harm and thinking how easy it could be to end everything. I was a mess, I hated who I was and who I saw in the mirror, I hated the way I felt and I had no idea how it would get better. This terrified me and I knew for sure that something was wrong. I ended up talking with a close family member but even then I was too hesitant to discuss the full details and the full extent of the situation. Explaining and releasing those bottled up feelings felt great and to hear and feel listened to really made a difference. I didn’t tell anyone up to that point all of what I was feeling and thinking. I was afraid of losing friends, I was afraid of disappointing my family, I was afraid of what everyone would think. In all honesty, I’m still afraid but I’ve been inspired by others who had shared their story so courageously and I felt like it was something I needed to. I needed to be honest, to be real and truthful with my situation.
I feel as though many who know me view me as a smiley, happy, strong person who can get up in front of an audience no problem when really deep down on some days I don’t truly feel that way and a lot of times the way I’m feeling or used to feel is hidden behind a smile. It’s very frightening how easy it is to hide that and if something wrong peeks through it’s so simple to just state that I’m tired or not feeling well and the discussion ends.
To this day I still find myself thinking negatively and I have many days where I feel lost or I break down and get in that state of mind again. Or I’ll have days where I tend to withdraw myself from everything and just want to curl up in my bed at home. This can last as little as an hour, can turn into a day or can even go on for weeks. I still deal a lot with anxiety and panic attacks as well but I’m slowly learning what to do in those situations, how to deal with it in a healthy way and I can say that I’ve come a long way from where I used to be. I still have a long road ahead but I’m determined to try to learn how to love myself humbly and greatly and to re-shape my thinking behaviors with hopes of inspiring other young women or girls who may be going through the same things I had and still are at this point in my life. Children, youth, young adults and even seniors shouldn’t feel ashamed of what they are truly feeling and shouldn’t have that fear of being judged. We are all human and most of us have dealt with mental health or has known someone who has. The issues surrounding mental health and the way everyone perceives it is in a state of transition and it’s a good start to be discussing it in our communities. We are showing the youth and everyone that it’s okay, that it’s normal and something that shouldn’t be shameful.
I hope that this transition and journey toward better understanding continues and that we will see a day where people feel safe and comfortable enough to share how they are feeling and that the societies way of dealing with mental health improves. If any of you are reading this right now and need someone to talk to, someone to rant to or maybe need some advice, I’m always open to listen. You can shoot me a message anytime. I will also leave a list of resources below if you or someone you know may need them. Love you all, let’s take care of one another.
WORLD SUICIDE HOTLINES:
Costa Rica 506-253-5439
Maurititus 46-48-889 or 800-93-93
New Zealand 4-473-9739
Republic of Ireland 1850-60-90-90
Singapore 800-221-4444 or 000-227-0309
South Africa 0861-322-322
South Korea 2-715-8600
Sri Vincent 1-692-909
St. Vincent 809-456-1044
Trinidad & Tobago 868-645-2800
Ukraine 0487-327715 or 0482-226565
United Kingdom 08457-90-90-90
United States 1-800-SUICIDE (7842433), or 1-800-TALK (8255), or 1-800-827-7571
RESOURCES SPECIFICALLY IN WINNIPEG, MB