The title for this post may be a bit misleading. Mainly because I didn’t give you much context. But this post is about my first time reaching out to someone about my mental illness. Now I’ve written about my story in regards to my mental health struggles, which you can read here. But I never really discussed what happened when I first reached out and spoke up about my struggles.
As cliché as this sounds, my Mom is truly my best friend (love you Mom!) She was the first person I talked to when I first started feeling my mood change. I was scared, vulnerable, confused, and just about every other emotion you can feel. It was nice because she understood everything I was going through and how I felt. And, of course, she wants what’s best for me.
So, after talking to my Mom about how I was feeling, we went to a clinic to see a doctor to go over everything. Now, mind you this was almost 4 years ago, but I still remember it to this day. We waited to see the doctor at the walk-in clinic, and when we did, we didn’t suspect any pronounced depression symptoms (at that particular time.) So the doctor prescribed vitamin D3 and blood work to ensure all my blood levels were within a normal range.
With my mood still not changing, and what appeared to be worsening, I again saw another physician at a different clinic. I had explained what was going on and the doctor prescribed an anti-depressant. Fast forward a year and some time, and I am now with a formal diagnosis of depression and being treated by a psychiatrist – something I never thought would happen.
With emotions acting like a rollercoaster, up and down and all over the place, I ended up with a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder and anxiety. And almost 2 years later, here I am: happier than ever.
Opening up and seeking help was one of the hardest things to do. For me, it felt like I had taken all of these suppressed feelings and thoughts and brought them to life. Rather than doing what I do best, which is push them to the back on my mind, I made them real. I made my scariest, most vulnerable moments a reality, which I wasn’t sure was something I wanted to do. There were times I didn’t think I was worthy of recovery. There were times I didn’t think I would ever be confident and happy. There were times I thought the light at the end of tunnel didn’t exist and I would forever be in rock bottom. But boy was I wrong. It took a lot of time, patience, and hard work, but I am finally in a place where I’m happy with who I am and I’m more aware of myself and more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I never, ever, would have imagined I would ever be in this place that I’m in now. But I’m grateful to be in this position.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this post it’s that you are worthy of life and recovery. The best thing I ever did for myself was speak up about my struggles to someone – it can be anyone you’re comfortable. Your mental health and well-being is just as important as all the other systems in your body. So treat your mental health just as you would any other health condition. You’re worth it.
Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.