Blog,  Health

Mental Health Awareness: When You’re Off Kilter

I’ve struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression for about eleven years now. Despite feeling I have probably had these issues most of my life, it was 11 years ago when things I realized I needed to get help.

The real struggle in dealing with mental health issues is when you think you’re managing your symptoms just fine and one day you realize you aren’t any longer.

During the last 11 years, I’ve had so many setbacks, medication switches and deeply dark days. Maintaining my mental health is an on-going struggle. That piece is the hardest part for me because I’m of the mindset: I took care of it and I’m continuing to take care of it, things should just stay the course!

Unfortunately, medications stop working, our circumstances change and our physiology evolves. I remember the first time (in the recent present) my medication stopped working. It was clear something wasn’t right with me, but I was determined to fix it myself. I didn’t want to talk to my doctor about new medications. I didn’t want to begin talk therapy. Again. I was convinced if I focused on relaxing – taking walks, practicing yoga or other me-time activities – I could get a hold on it and I would be fine. Sadly, it didn’t work.

Being Off Kilter

It was my husband who finally had to say to me, “I know you’re doing your best, but it’s not working.” He was right. I knew he was right, but I was pissed because I knew what this meant. I knew what I was going to have to do to get back on track. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I would struggle hard.

While I was off kilter, it was hard to get out of bed every day. I had to say the meanest things to myself every day just to get out of bed. “You’re the worst mom in the world if you don’t get up, get your children’s lunches packed and get them to school.” “What would people say if they saw you sleeping all the time and still couldn’t get up your lazy, bitch!?”

There were days on the weekend, I would only get out of bed for meals. Sometimes I would beg my husband to make an excuse if we had someplace to be because I just couldn’t be around people. I hated everything and I didn’t know why. Nothing made me happy. I saw no joy. Honestly, even though I could physically see colors, everything looked really bleak and gray to me. I recently read that’s a thing during depressive episodes.

So while I’m struggling just to live life, I also now have to sit in front of my doctor and prepare to battle for my mental health. It feels like the absolute worst thing in the world. It feels like an insurmountable feat. It also feels like there’s a chance you won’t be successful and will likely end up in a worse place.

Fortunately, I have a lot to fight for. I have an amazing husband and two beautiful, smart, funny girls. Even in my darkest days, days I would close my eyes and pray I wouldn’t wake up, I would eventually realize these shining lights needed me. I need them. Your mental health is worth fighting for each and every time.

I’m grateful to be in a wonderful mental place right now with a new medication and a new doctor whom I see for talk therapy. I am the strongest I’ve been in a long time. I hope to stay this way. But if I don’t, at least I know I have a doctor I can rely on who will help me get on the right track.

Do You Need To Talk to Someone?

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.

More resources here on how you can help a suicidal friend.