I struggle with mental health issues. A LOT. I have depression and anxiety with Panic. I take two different medications to manage the lot of it. Sometimes, well most of the time, just the medications aren’t enough.
Fun Fact: Medication is never enough all by itself.
In order to control mental health, if you are prescribed meds, you also have to have some AWESOME coping skills, and you must USE THEM. Contrary to popular belief, medication doesn’t just magically fix everything. I used to think that if I just took the stuff prescribed, I would be instantaneously better. I believed that the medications would return my motivation and energy to me. I thought the medications would remove the constant panic and anxiety and paranoia. Fact: they didn’t!
I was forced to confront my false beliefs in order to attempt to control my depression and anxiety properly. I still do this. Lately, my mental health has been off the charts. But I haven’t been trying my coping skills, and if I am to be honest with you–which I ALWAYS want to be honest with you–I haven’t taken my medications consistently either. It’s hard to come to terms with taking medication daily for something one thinks they should be able to handle without help. It’s also hard to accept that it takes work to control their mental health.
I understand all of the things that would make a person hesitant about medications or counseling or whatever. I do. However, I also know that if it wasn’t for me finally reaching out, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would be a whole lot worse off. I, first, went to counseling at the student counseling center at my university half way through my first semester. I was too ashamed to tell anyone where I was going or what I was doing. I would say something like: “I’m going for a walk.” or “I’m going to the library to study.” I was afraid of what people might think of me if they knew I needed professional help. I continued counseling throughout my college career finally telling my best friend I had actually met freshman year about the counseling. She shocked me by accepting it completely. She even checked in with how it was going.
I stopped getting mental health counseling help after I graduated college. I figured the college counseling center wouldn’t see me because I was not a current student at that point anymore and no insurance. I knew mental health counseling is expensive and couldn’t afford it. I managed ok for a while. Until my job got too stressful. Finally, I got insurance through my job and recently earlier this year, began treatment again.
Currently, I’m trying to get back on track with my mental health medications while trying to go to my counselor bi-weekly as I’m supposed to to process my emotions and work through my anxiety and depression. The path is bumpy and hard. There are people who don’t understand and those who do. I want my story to encourage everyone to continue to work on their own mental health and to take care of themselves. I hope my talking about mental health brings awareness and maybe helps someone realize that it would be ok for them to seek out help too! For far too long, people have stayed quiet about mental health. Maybe it’s time to share our stories!
What’s your mental health story?