Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mental Health Check

Remember earlier this year when I wrote a post about the depression I was going through and I received awesome comments and responses from so many people? I wrote that post in January. That was almost a whole year ago, but not quite because if it were actually a year then Christmas would be over AND THAT WOULD BE TERRIBLE.

This post is a follow up.

Depression is THE WORST. But thankfully, my depression has got a lot better this year.  There have been ups and downs, but overall I’m feeling much happier and more hopeful than I was earlier this year. I’m generally a pretty positive, optimistic person.   When that goes away, and I feel completely lost and hopeless and alone, it scares the shit out of me. Pair that with anxiety and you've got yourself a real fun time.

There were times this year where I thought about ending my life. There were times this year where I convinced myself every single person in my life hated me, including my family. There were times this year that I didn’t eat because I didn’t think I deserved to eat. There were times where I made really shitty decisions to somehow make myself feel better only to feel worse (like food-related or alcohol-related or boy-related decisions.)  

I also had several bad panic attacks.  One was so bad that my body LITERALLY shut down and went completely numb basically as a way of saying, “Hey Pats. You should stop and you won’t, so I’m going to stop you for you.”   I had to go to urgent care a few times and I even got an EKG because I thought I had a heart attack. (Nope. Just a really bad panic attack.)

But! Some days were great and I was really happy. I was really empowered. I did a lot of cool stuff for my career. I wrote a lot. I focused on the positive stuff in my life. And most importantly, I got help. I started seeing a therapist every single week. It’s not always convenient – and there’s not always stuff to talk about – but having that carved out time in my week to focus on getting my brain in the right place has really helped me.  (And it took a few therapists to narrow down the right one.)

Also, thankfully Xanax exists for those really bad days. And Christmas music. There's no greater joy than listening to Christmas music when it's not the season. No offense to those of you who subscribe to the "Celebrate One Holiday At A Time" mentality. I'm against that and pro-Living My Damn Life However I Want.

All in all, my mental health is getting better.  Because I took the steps I needed to take this year to get it all under control. I didn't just try to handle it on my own because that's what strong people do. Or that's what I thought strong people did. I went through a lot this year and it was a really tough one for me. But I will say that I feel good, strong, confident, and awesome MOST days and I feel useless, hopeless and terrible only some days!  Baby steps!

I'm so tired of the stigma surrounding mental health and being labeled "crazy" by others... and also by myself. I call myself crazy all the time! But I'm not. I'm anxious, I'm depressed, I'm paranoid, I'm obsessive compulsive, I'm... okay, you're right, I'm crazy. But that's okay. I'm embracing it. It's part of my many charms. (Nestled right in there with my clovers and blue moons.)

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