Good morning or good evening, from wherever you are reading this. Today’s blog is about the state of my own mental health five years ago, one year ago and where I am at right now. Personally, I know I still have a ways to go. This is the first time in a while where I’ve dedicated a whole blog to this subject, so let’s dive deep into my little world. Note: This topic will be split into two parts. This part, will be about my own personal history. Part two will be my advice on this subject.
In the fall of 2012, I had a major panic attack at an event. This caused a lot of things to change in my life. I did not recognize how anxious I actually was every day. That event in December was a wake-up call and I was able to start 2013 better than I ended 2012. While I had started going to Counseling during my Freshman year in 2012, I had never been diagnosed with anything before. Thus, kicking off 2013 with new labels: Depressed & Anxious.
There were days where I would go weeks without my medicine and claim to be fine. It drove my family away from spending time with me. I would become bitter and angry and would prefer to stay that way. I grew up disliking medications so much, because I would rather face it myself (without the help of science).
After July, my world started to become fuzzy again and I lost control over my own life. I was trying to do too much, and had to withdraw from school. I still had no clue on why I was here, who I was, and why marching band meant going to the hospital. I never trusted any of my new University friends, so a lot of what was said was told to my counselor. Instead of returning to my hometown in Texas (not a safe space for me), I went to move in with my Grandmother here in Oklahoma City. From there, I thought I was improving- small steps were needed daily.
In 2013, I had a terrible nightmare that woke up my Grandma and she and my Mom tried to calm me down, but I didn’t feel better until a week later. The nightmare is something I keep to myself, and while I’ve had that dream again and again, I have been able to appreciate fear.
By this time, my medications began to change. The one I was on for Anxiety was messing with my sleep and driving (had only been driving for a year). By the end of 2015, I had already tried three different prescriptions. I had transferred to the University of Oklahoma (and kept changing my major). I was living in Norman and my roommate was a Graduate student at OU. My depression meds were too low of a dosage. In 2015, I had started off the year great and was actually doing well. I only had one or two major panic attacks. One of them, was on my 22nd Birthday. I never thought I was ever going to make it to age 22. Mainly, because of the state of my depressed self.
Later in June, more health issues were shown not long after waking up from a nap in late June. I couldn’t move and (because of my trust issues with people) I was too nervous to call my roommate to take me to the ER. My Grandmother was only 45 minutes away, and I had her come take me to the hospital. My tongue was swollen and I spent the entire day in the Hospital. While the Doctor’s believed it was a mix of Anxiety and something else I missed finals week due to testing and withdrew a second time from University.
From the fall of 2015 to the spring of 2016, I took several medical tests to see why I had been paralyzed from the waist down and why I couldn’t participate in Marching Band anymore When the MRI results came in, my brain showed where I wasn’t getting enough oxygen to my brain. And, my Doctor did confirm my disorders.. In 2016 (January-September) I had resided in Texas but soon returned after internship was cancelled I returned to Oklahoma City. I was then referred to a neurologist who then referred me to a cardiologist. We didn’t have any results for either question until 2018.
Now, things are much different. My medications have changed and are where they should be. I’ve begun to recognize that my depression becomes heavier during September- December (specifically September & November). In 2013 and 2015, I was taking one medicine for anxiety, and one for depression. I still didn’t take my medicine everyday until the beginning of this year (almost). If I don’t go to work (one day a week), then I use that day as a reset day and I don’t take my medicine that day. Helps me keep everything sorted. And, to remind me how where my emotions and self is at, without medications.
Now, I am down to one medication for anxiety and depression, vitamins (three different types, and one medication to help stimulate blood flow to my brain. These last few medication changes have been added since the beginning of this year, as I was finally able to get test results from the Cardiologist. Ten percent of women have a hole in the upper chamber of their heart, and I am one of them. This explains why I struggle with marching band, because of the amount of energy it takes to keep my body functioning. The most recent vitamin added, is to help my body with being out in the sun. The heat has always been a problem for me, no matter how hydrated I am. This has helped so far and I am hoping that it continues to improve over the summer.
During the fall of 2013, 2015, and 2017 I experienced life lessons surrounding my friends, mental health, and family. Those who were friends with me last year, have left me alone. I have a habit of cycling through friends faster than normal. Part of it is because of the rough childhood I experienced. Another part is because of trust issues and internally knowing that I destroy friendships. The two friends who have been with me since high school are the only one’s I’ve been talking with lately.
I have been living in a one bedroom apartment on the third floor since December. I returned to counseling in November 2017 for a short time and then bailed (returned in March of this year). Within counseling, it’s easier to see the progress I’ve made. I sued to have to go to a session every week. Now, I can go every two weeks. I’ve been able to keep up with bills, as well as being able to handle adult things. My mental health is okay right now. It can be better, obviously. I do what I can during my downtime. Note: I am very restless and don’t like to stay in one area very long, so I have to always stay busy. I am learning to let myself wind down at night, and have a slow morning to start.
I’ve learned to appreciate my transition from being an extrovert to an introvert. I’m still in the middle, but I apparently tend to lean more introvert now, compared to say 2013. While I do have friends/acquaintances who live in the city, they mainly keep there distance and we just stay updated via social media. Some days, I get upset that I’ve only had one friend come visit me at my apartment other times, I’m okay with that.
I still haven’t answered questions that I asked in 2013. I have learned more about what lifestyles work for me, which is progress to me. I understand a part of who I am. I am one to vent about social justice issues, live a somewhat Eco-Friendly lifestyle and even try to be as clean as I can with my eating habits. My apartment is a mix of everything I enjoy and sometimes I am glad that only one person (besides family) has seen it. It’s my own sacred space.
There are few missing pieces to this story, and those personal things are kept to myself. No one needs to know everything about me, a valuable lesson I’ve learned over the past year. If I ever feel like sharing more of my story, I will when I am prepared to.
If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or just feeling thrown by life- always know that there are people who will chat with you in person, on the phone, or via social media. Reaching out to friends, family and certified counselors isn’t my forte when I’m feeling “mentally sick.” It’s usually when after the storm passes, that I realize how important it was that I talked to someone about my struggles (past, present, and future).
This blog went a little deep into my own personal life, which I don’t always share. The next blog (set to be published on Wednesday, June 6th) will be a continuation on this topic, but with the advice I have learned. Most of it, within the past year.
Most of the blogs I write, are about books, writing, and lifestyle things. Feel free to follow me here on WordPress for more blogs.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I wish you all the best.