Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson had recently tweeted “I really don’t want to be on this earth anymore.” He has always spoke of his issues with depression and bipolar disorder. When Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain took their own lives last year suicide prevention and mental health issues again made news, temporarily.
Mental Health America posted statistics on their website revealing over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. One out of five report they cannot receive the treatment they need due to having no insurance, limited coverage or they cannot cover the cost of treatment. According to MHA, those with mental health conditions also have difficulty in finding treatment. There is a disconnect between primary care and behavioral health systems. Lack of treatment types is also a huge stumbling block in finding treatment.
I am one of those 44 million. I have a history of depression. Konnor’s death followed by other traumas may have caused a relapse of my illness.
The National Institute For Environmental Health Science states, “Either alone or in combination, psychosocial and physiological stressors can interact with genetic vulnerability to alter brain chemistry and thus alter the individual’s mental health.”
I understand mental illness. I understand feeling as if you do not want to be here. I have spent the last three months horribly sad. Feeling this way was especially damaging after spending the better part of three years grieving for my grandson Konnor. I was feeling as if sorrow wasn’t something I was feeling anymore, perhaps it was who I had become. I was spending a great deal of time in my car and home alone or simply in my head with too many thoughts. There was a void in my life and I was very down on myself. I was very disillusioned. It became impossible for me to control my thoughts or my feelings. I had to get myself together. Now.
I was willing to do the work. I wanted to become aware of my own behaviors and the workings within my own mind. I had come to realize my thinking, specifically my own negativity had been an old habit. I could break this cycle with a little work. Although I may not be able to control my emotions, with analyzing my thoughts I may very well gain enough knowledge about myself that my reactions may not be so severe.
I began by working with my physician seeking advice on holistic medications while also working my mind and body with meditation and yoga. I had tried conventional medications after the death of my grandson Konnor and I was unable to tolerate them at that time. I am also being treated by a licensed clinical therapist.
I am a work in process. I walked into therapy willing to explore ways in which not only to control unhealthy thinking but to eliminate toxic habits that prevent me from harvesting so much negativity allowing positive energy to enter.
One of the first things I am learning is I have always been and I will always be a very sensitive and feeling person. There is nothing wrong with this. Yet, I cannot take everything personally. Everything is not about me. Someone else’s negative action or reaction is more a reflection of them than it is of me.
I have always had issues with self-esteem. This created conflict within myself and at times others as I was quick to become defensive. With self-doubt you believe others will know you’re not good enough, unworthy. It’s a battle you create within your own mind yet to me it felt real. Feelings are real and painful. I am learning what is real and what I create.
Guilt is a feeling, not a fact. For every negative thought I am learning to block that thought with a positive one. For example: Yes, I have made mistakes, I had the best intentions in mind and when I knew better I did better. I am learning to take the lesson and let it go. My state of mind must be healthy, self-blame was my first tool to attack myself.
Living in the moment vs living in the past. So much of my time in my mind is spent going over events that went wrong. The could’ve, should’ve, and if I would have’s. I have made every effort to make amends. The past is gone. I can only move forward at this point. I cannot continue to hurt myself by reliving times of sadness or regret. By living a mindful life, living in the moment, I can focus on today and appreciate it for all the beauty that it has to offer.
In situations when conflict arises, taking time to evaluate my thoughts is best. Breaking down my thoughts and evaluating them rather than allowing my emotions to rule is best. This prevents me from making that all familiar mistake of saying something I will regret.
I’m learning I don’t want to be in any relationship where I am the only one working to keep it. I know my worth. I have spent many of my adult years seeking love and approval from those I love. In doing so I have neglected myself, my needs and my spirit. I have not listened to my heart when I felt I wasn’t being heard or being respected for who I was. I am learning to love myself and this is one of the hardest things for me to do.
I am ready to get mentally and spiritually healthy. Although I have suffered some deep emotional wounds, I am making a choice to stop hurting myself by reliving all the past pain in the process. Emotional scars victimize us, I am not a victim. This will be a lengthy process. I am a willing participant.
Realizing that change begins within me is the first step to feeling better. I think about the saying, “It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you.” With therapy and putting into practice what I am taught, blocking negative thinking and keeping my mind occupied, I can reach a point where a peaceful mind exists.
2 thoughts on “Mental Illness: Treating My Major Depressive Episode From The Inside Out”
Thank you for sharing this and being so transparent. You are very inspirational to me, and I recognize many of my own patterns that you shared about. I will be reading this many times – it is very helpful to me.
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Thank you so much for this comment. It is not easy for me to write about so much private emotion yet I do so because I know somewhere someone else is going through this exact thing. So if I help even one person then it is worth it. My heart goes out to you. 💕