For #worldmentalhealthday 2017 I put myself out there – I suffered from mental health issues, namely depression. Today, I re-post an edited version of that testimonial as a contribution for #worldmentalhealthday 2018. Not that I hide it from people that want or need to know, but it is true that I don’t put it out there as much as I could, and that does not help other people like me.
In 2015, I entered an emotional roller coaster that looked like a spiral trending only in one direction. I was constantly sad, tired and disappointed in the world. Soon I lost interest in many things and I did not want to be in large social gatherings. I also lost my bubbly personality. Mostly, I cried a lot. It did not show at work, but it did everywhere else.
How did you go from mental health to depression?
Did something life-changing happen to do this? I can’t justify it by a single event but there were a series of individual events that were more negative than in any other year. Life was just playing tricks rather than treats that year. As it does many years of our life.
The week before I turned 34 was when I knew. My birthday was always something I celebrated with joy surrounded by friends. I just wanted to be home, no friends just family and even so, I did not care much about it. In a life-changing chit chat with my sister Patricia, I put it out there.
"I believe I am suffering from depression"
Being her pragmatic self, 3 days later, the day of my actual birthday, she approached it and said she spoke to a Doctor. I was offended, enraged, angry.
I was only getting to terms with it, how could she do this around my back. It all came out then, but at least then Hubby B also knew. He was oblivious to it, as many of us are when people around us suffer in silence. He knew something was up but was giving me space and time trusting it was just a blip.
Treating Depression: getting back to mental health
For the first few months. I worked on self-healing, spoke to friends, recognised what I felt and how it made no sense. I asked my husband and one of my best friends to force me to the Doctor if I did not feel better by a certain date. The meticulous me complied with my own deadline and went without the need for a reminder.
To this day, seeking professional help was one of the best decisions I made in my life. I am grateful that my therapist match worked so well. Her name is Catia.
The first time we met she diagnosed me a perfectionist. My thought was ‘do I really have to pay for someone to tell me this‘?
Our meetings got more productive from there and I applied myself as a good student, doing homework and reading the recommended book.
What I learned about me and my mental health
- I found out it was not my fault, that actually the feeling is much more human nature than one would think;
- I found out there was no absolute definition of happiness to live by and the constant search for it was part of the problem;
- And I also found out that I can reprogram my brain to react differently and identify my reactions separating them from reality.
It was life-changing. Not just versus 2015 but actually versus my entire life.
Since then, I place a great value in mental health development. I had daily self-assessments in the first weeks after I had Baby S, I refreshed some of the tools, I practised gratitude. I fell a bit low at times but I did not get stuck.
Since I came back to work post leave #2, it has been constant work to keep a healthy mind, as pressures just pile up. But the consciousness of where it can get to is crucial to keep me on the right track.
I read more about mental health, I read about areas that I know bring me down, such as bringing my kids to being happy and moral human beings while making the most of the time that I am with them and less worried about the time that I am not.
3 Years Later
This year, and as an update to my 2017 post, I have really doubled down on my mental health.
- I read about areas that make my mind grow and develop, personal or professional oriented;
- I tested headspace (and even got my subscription today, courtesy of my employer);
- I listen to podcasts and started on audio books;
- I write more – for anything that comes to mind;
- #bulletjournal changed my life and steered me away from the abyss;
- And for the last 11 days, I have started to wake up earlier than my wake up time to do morning yoga and have a few minutes to myself before the day starts.
I take great focus on continuing my development and will most likely go see Catia sometimes.
Our brain and mind are what keeps everything going. Let’s keep them going.