May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is also the host month to my birthday. We’ll call it what is it: ironic.
I struggle with a handful of issues rumbling inside my head. More often than not, I’m shocked at my ability to keep it all together, especially now that I’m a business owner. I can confidently recognize my own short comings… and push past them.
Not enough people can pull themselves through their own swamp of emotions, though. Even I have my days where everything is dark. It can be hard to mosey on, but you have to try! You don’t have to be a victim of your own mind. Or better yet – you can learn to understand someone else’s struggle.
When were you diagnosed, and what were you diagnosed with?
I was diagnosed with Depression at first in 2011 and then was later diagnosed with bi polar disorder last summer (2014).
How did you know it was time to see a doctor?
I knew it was time to see a doctor when we first opened the shop. I was feeling really down and I couldn’t cheer myself up at all. Every day was just one sad day after another. I can remember dropping a spoon on the ground, and I just started crying for no reason. I knew that I couldn’t live that way; it was ridiculous.
What were the kinds of emotions you felt when you were diagnosed?
When I was diagnosed, I left the doctor’s feeling wicked pissed off. I was mad at myself thinking I may have caused this illness somehow. I still don’t want to accept that I have this disorder because I feel people don’t take it seriously. They think, “Well, she’s a girl so she must be moody or on the rag” or “Wow, she’s a Debbie Downer”. Shit like that pisses me off because I don’t want to feel this way, I have zero control of what or how I feel. It’s incredibly frustrating to be sad for no reason. Overall, I knew I had to go back to my shrink to get “better”. I still see my shrink regularly. I enjoy the time I spend with her because I can be as honest as I want without worrying about hurting feelings.
Describe your experience with mental illness in as few words as possible.
Difficult, frustrating, painful, lonesome.
How would you describe your experiences to someone who doesn’t understand mental illness?
The best way to describe depression is like Russian Roulette. The gun has one real bullet inside and that’s the depression; everything else is a blank. You have to pull the trigger to start your day. If you get a blank, your day is what you would call “normal,” but if you get the actual bullet, your day sucks.
What is some advice for someone who may have depression or bi-polar?
The only advice I can give to someone in my shoes is to remember that you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to go get help. It shouldn’t be embarrassing to go see someone. I understand if you haven’t found the right person who you can relate to or connect with. It happens a lot. That shouldn’t mean that it’s over.
How about advice for someone who knows someone else with these diseases? What kind of advice would you give them?
If you know someone with depression, I would ask that you be kind to them. You have to be patient and understand that they have no control over their moods and their depression. Be involved with them, and understand if they want to be alone, let them be alone. Sometimes it’s the best way for them to clear their head. Also, please listen to what they have to say. Knowing you’re there for them is sometimes the best thing for them. You may not have the right things to say, but letting them vent to you is a stress reliever. It can feel like they can take a weight off of their chest.