Photo Cred: unsplash.com/neekmason
Finally, right? I know it has taken forever to get Part III of this series up but here we are. While there will be more posts to come about mental health this will be the last part of this series as it is written currently. I will be changing up the website soon and I am considering different ways of how I want the mental health posts to be on the new site but this will definitely be updated if any changes are made.
So, in part one I gave some general facts about mental health. Part two discussed some common misconceptions about mental health. Now, for the finale this is specifically for those of us that do struggle with mental health. With this post I hope to 1. encourage others to get the help that they need and 2. show people that they are not alone in the battle.
As always everyone's experience is different and this is strictly from my personal experience and point of view.
Due to those misconceptions that I discussed in part two it can be really difficult to come forward with hardships you may have with mental health. For a very long time a mental health diagnosis was synonymous with "crazy". I still have to correct some people from time to time because it does not mean that you are crazy. It simply means that your brain is built a little differently than other's.
I never really talked about my issues openly until I published this post. Even as a mental health professional who encourages others to reach out for help with their mental health I still struggled with even acknowledging that mine was is as bad as it is. No more. Mental health struggles doesn't have to be something we are ashamed of anymore. It is hard to open up about it because most people who do not deal with it themselves won't understand. "What are you so anxious about?" "I'm not sure." That sounds crazy to most people. "Why are you crying?" "I don't know." It is not easy to explain therefore, it is that much more difficult to understand. However, just because someone else doesn't understand it that doesn't mean that we should be ashamed or be forced to keep quiet. When I am not in the middle of a panic or anxiety attack I can usually describe it pretty well. But, I feel like I am at an advantage because it is something that I have had years of studying so I have learned how to see it in others, how to put it into words for documentation, and how to help clients understand what is happening. Most people do not have that advantage. If I am in the middle of an anxiety or panic attack you can forget it...I can't explain anything. When I first started having panic attacks I didn't even realize what was happening until it was over. It takes over in such a way that it completely inhibits all of your other senses from working properly.
When my depression is consuming me I generally can't tell you why I am crying or there may be something that I know why I am crying but it makes that situation 1000x worse than it would be normally or to someone that does not have depression. There have been plenty of times that I have been late to something because while I was trying to get ready I struggled to force myself out of bed or had a 10 minute breakdown where I was crying uncontrollably and could not continue getting ready...and had no idea why! And most people don't know that, they think 'Khia is just late again because she is always late' (even though that is sometimes the case lol- I'm working on it). We put on that brave face when we get in front of others and act like nothing ever happened. Once again, it does not have to be like that. Problems do not get solved by hiding them. Not saying that you have to shout out to everyone whenever you have an issue, but, it is okay to not be okay sometimes. It is okay to admit that you are not okay.
I put on my vision board this year (post and video coming soon) that I want to overcome my anxiety. I am tired of it getting in the way of work and socializing and every day living.
I have never been more vocal about my mental health difficulties than I was in 2017. I have also seen a lot of others being open about their issues as well (i.e. The Chocolate Channel & My Sweet Leilani Blog ) and while I don't love seeing that we are all struggling I am loving that we are no longer being as silent about it, especially in the Black community. I would love to see more of us coming forward, speaking our truths, and getting the help that we need. Now, my personal struggles are depression and anxiety but this goes for other (seemingly heavier) diagnoses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and others. Depression and anxiety are heavily diagnosed and recognized but the others should not be left out; they are very real and need a support system just as much if not more. I want to see us band together, eliminate our shame, and recreate how the world views mental health. I want us to all get to a point of not being ashamed of our struggles but instead embracing and conquering them.
This is a safe place to share your experiences. I encourage you to share in the comments but if you would like to chat personally please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.