I can’t tell if it is killing me or making me stronger

It’s me again with another personal blog post about an important issue for a lot of people. Mental Health. I have decided to partner up with a close friend of mine on this post because we both have dealt with these issues. We are here with some advice for anyone who shares the same issues as us or ones similar.

“Why am I crazy?”

I struggle with an anxiety disorder, mild OCD, anger, and irritability issues that branch from my anxiety. I currently take medication for these issues and have noticed I have felt better. I also have been practicing techinquies so I don’t let my anger or anxiety get out of hand. I have always had anger issues as a child. My family thought I was just difficult. Little did they know it was actually something much deeper. Anger issues kinda run my dad’s side of the family. My grandpa and father can be hot heads at times. I have the same problem. My mother also has an anxiety disorder. She is a worry wart with insomnia. I have the same problem. So I guess you can say I get it from my family. I worry all the time about everything and then my OCD will fixate on it cause it to be the only thing on my mind till whatever I am thinking about has an answer. Then if I don’t get that answer soon enough I get angry at everything. I wasn’t having to count how many times I washed my hands I counted how many times I thought about the same thing over and over again. Till it drove me to the edge. 

I remember one time calling my boyfriend like 400 times cause I was worried he was dead or something. I would get these anxiety attacks where I would cry over “small” things and then get so mad I would want to punch something. Thank goodness I never hurt myself or other but I thought about it of course. There were times when my anger would get so bad I couldn’t talk or do anything. Sometimes my anxiety would cause me to just be depressed to the point I want to just do nothing at all. My OCD would cause me to thing irrational where I would say I will just drop everything and drive 4 hours to go find my boyfriend. My anger would cause me to say hurtful things to people I care about. I know it seems like I’m just a basic girl who worries too much but after going to therapy and getting tested I saw how it was a deeper issue. I now take medication and work on my issues not just for me but for my relationships with other people. Now here I am with my great friend Miranda talking about these issues. Soooo

Say hello to my friend,

My name is Miranda, I’m 22, a UTSA Alum, I struggle with minor depression, anxiety disorder, and I’m recovering from self-harm. I honestly can trace a lot of my issues from childhood, anxious between switching houses every other weekend, which parent I was spending which holiday with, typical post-divorce things. When dealing with an alcoholic father who would beat my step-mother, and myself during these drunk rages causing me to flinch every time someone touched me without warning. Followed by dealing with the typical girl going through puberty issues such as boys only ever asking me out because of a dare- being told by peers & adults alike that I was too thin and needed to “eat a burger”. Then- things hit a bad tipping point when I entered University. My Grandmother, my best friend, and biggest supporter lost her battle with breast cancer- I ended up drinking and going out a lot, feeling some recovery in alcohol and being with people no matter what it meant to my grades. I failed a class and ultimately didn’t know how to cope with it all- leading to burning myself whenever I felt “low”. I didn’t tell anyone, and the only person I talked to about any of my issues was someone who I still didn’t feel like I could be totally open with.

Point is- I struggled with this for a while. I felt if I did tell anyone- I was annoying them. Or worse. They’d think I’m some sort of nutcase, and it’s kind of a buzzkill to tell someone how you just want to shrivel up and die because it’s too painful to even get out of bed when all they are worried about is how much alcohol poisoning is too much alcohol poisoning. It’s even MORE of a struggle when I realized I was a senior and on the surface, had a lot going for me, and freshmen/sophomores I interacted with or mentored told me how I seemed to have it all. How happy I looked and how hard I worked. No way. I thought. I put a lit match on my arm last night because I felt like such a failure to my family for not getting an A in a class. But regardless, these kids looked up to me in some way. I have to do better for myself, I have to believe in the me that these kids saw. So I focused on recovery.

So we teamed up to offer some advice for anyone who wants to listen. We may not be a licensed therapist but I think we have some tips and words to give. 

  • Calling into work cause you honestly just need a day to rest is okay.

Sometimes you need the Mental Health day to just not only rest but just sit and do nothing. I have taken these days off from work, school, and life to just think about things. Not just things like work, school, life but how grateful I am for being where I am even if I am not 100% happy with it. A day to just sit and do whatever you want to get your mind off your worries. Go watch a movie, shopping, coloring, anything to just relax. Hell sit and cry if you need to. I spent hours crying about something and felt better after. Sometimes your mind just needs a break.

-Carolyn

  • No one issues are too little or too big to deal with.

No matter what don’t let someone write off what you are dealing with or act like what you are dealing with is nothing compared to others. It is something to you and if affects you. Your mental health is worthy of being taken care of. No matter how small it may seem. If it’s just mild OCD or you have to count every red thing you see. It is something you can take care of. Of course when you are ready. Also if you don’t look into it when it is a “small” issue it could turn into a big one later down the road. It’s like when you have a bad cold you still look into it that way it doesn’t become something worse. 

-Carolyn

  • Your mental health can affect your physical health.

I put apart my nails when I get an anxiety attack. There were studies on this where you can get acne, headaches, and other physical symptoms from mental health issues. Your weight can fluctuate, diet change, breakouts, and so much. I know when I was depressed I lost tons of weight cause I was eating and just working out to distract myself from the real issue. When I get over stressed I break out with pimples all over my face. Your mind and body are connected. Keep your physical health good check up on your mental health too.

-Carolyn

  • Nothing will get fixed overnight.

Know this! I thought that I could get rid of my problems easily but it takes time. You have to keep working at it. Keep going to class, therapy, or whatever it is that helps you with your mental health. It like learning a new sport or instrument you have to keep working at it to get better. Nothing happens overnight, hell nothing happens in a few weeks. It takes time but you will get there. 

-Carolyn

  • TELL PEOPLE.

Being open about your mental health can help de-stigmatize it. I know plenty of strong and funny men and women who struggle with depression. It helps prove depression doesn’t have a certain “look”. Even if it’s talking to a stranger on a hotline, sometimes just letting out your frustrations or crying it out to someone who’s there to purely listen to you can help a tremendous amount. Hell, nobody knew Robin Williams, renowned comedian and family-friendly actor struggled so hard until his suicide in 2014. Please don’t let it get that far.

-Miranda

  • Figure out what calms you, or makes you happy. (no, a significant other doesn’t count.)

This probably sounds like a given, but one for sure way to help get rid of that empty feeling, s to develop a hobby. It could be anything. Painting, writing, gaming, or blogging. Mostly whatever helps you communicate those feelings, and it may take a couple tries to see what you really resonate with. Remember: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE GOOD AT IT! It’s a calming activity!

-Miranda

  • Check out your medication options.

Many people may disagree- but if your mental illness is severe, check it out. Mental illness, in many cases, is a chemical imbalance. No matter how much yoga you do, how much tea you drink, or motivational posters you put up, your chemicals will still be off. I’m not saying this to be negative, but there’s a reason medication exists. Scientists didn’t have breakthroughs in modern medicine for kicks & giggles. Personally, being on medication made me severely less anxious. I was less worried about things that were clearly out of control, and my panic attacks decreased from around 3 times a week to once a half a year.

-Miranda

  • Have a conversation with your family.

I’m not saying have a family meeting and announce how you want to kill yourself. But finding a trusted family member can help you feel less alone. Personally, a lot of my issues stemmed from my perception that I was the “weak one” in my family. But after opening up to a family member who I honestly thought wouldn’t relate- I found not only did that family member once struggle with minor depression, but I had other family members I never knew struggled with depression as well. It made me feel a lot less alone and it gave my family member a lot more insight to my feelings as well. Nobody is a mind reader, careful communication goes a lot way in ANY relationship.

-Miranda

  • Remember that this is YOUR mental health.

I say this in regards to relationships. Don’t be with someone who kisses your scars, someone who gaslights you, or tries to make you feel guilty for the way you feel sometimes. This isn’t an indie movie or a sad song, this is your life. You’re an adult now. And your partner should be an adult too. Yes being with someone who goes through mood swings or sometimes doesn’t have full control over their emotions can be draining or hard- but they signed up for that when they started dating you and if they can’t put up for that then say goodbye because ultimately that is not going to  help you on the road to recovery or trying to achieve normalcy. I’m not saying that should serve on you hand and foot but they should understand and realize that you didn’t ask for mental illness.

-Miranda

“Personally- I got extremely lucky. I found someone who understands my mental illness and is patient with me. Once I burned myself so bad the wound got infected. He didn’t coo at me, hold me tight and cry with me. He held my arm and cleaned out the wound while telling me next time I’m in a low place to call him or anyone else that would offer me help or solace. He wasn’t mad, but he wasn’t coddling me either. He wanted me to get better (although he did encourage me to take a shower then take a nap to help me feel better). He does his research on my mental illness and tries his best to understand my moods and emotions. I love him for it. Trust me, whoever is WORTH being with you, will try their best to understand you too.”                      

– Miranda

So there you have it

Those are our words of advice. I hope they were helpful to someone out there. Mental Health is a serious issue that people should be okay with talking about. It might take awhile to talk about but it all starts somewhere. And it’s not just the “common” issues that should be okay to talk about but all from OCD, Dissociative identity disorder, schizophrenia, to depression. No matter what is “wrong” with you, you should be able to talk about it and have people be open to understanding you. That to me is the hardest part about having this issues. But when your family or friends learn to understand and help you that when things get easier.

Here is a link to a list of hotlines to call if needed: Click Here

Crisistextline  Text Connect to 741741
National Hopeline Network Call 800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or 800-442-HOPE (4673)
Planned Parenthood National Hotline  Call 800-230-PLAN (7526)

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