Personally, in the last month of my marriage and for about six months after, I was diagnosed with “situational anxiety”. My doctor was fantastic and really worked with me to find the right combination of meds to ensure I could sleep and also get out of bed in the morning because I was the only caregiver for my kids. My counsellor supported me to create various action plans. My parents supported me in every way they could. One of my girlfriends in particular went above and beyond on a daily basis, with helping me manage my mental health so I could do the one thing that kept me going…being a mom. Other friends helped me as they could and in whatever capacity they could. It truly was the beginning of our experience with “it takes a village…”. Because of my amazing supports, I was able to get off the meds after only six months, with the need to go back on the meds again around the one-year anniversary of the end of my marriage, for another six months.
I continue to manage my mental health because I would prefer not to have to go back on meds. I practice yoga regularly, I journal, I read books that are “soul-searching” and motivational, I say my daily “thankfuls”, and I sometimes meditate. I also became aware of my internal monologue and try to keep it as positive as possible. It’s been almost three years since I’ve required medication to manage my anxiety, but I wouldn’t hesitate to talk to my doctor/counsellor if I felt I was beginning to slip again.
Last year, one of my long-time friends from high school lost his inner battle with mental health issues, despite having extremely supportive friends and family. A few months later, his twin joined him, as his mental health destabilized so drastically, having lost his twin. There’s no rhyme or reason to why they lost their battles, while I pulled through. One could argue that I had “more” or “better” support than they did. One could argue that they weren’t “strong enough” to manage their mental health issues. But those arguments are irrelevant. Mental health issues affect everyone differently.
I know some of my friends and acquaintances have experienced or currently experience post-partum depression, depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, personality disorders, post traumatic stress syndrome, etc. I’m sure there are more than I’m not aware of, and whether they share that information or not, that’s their choice. The only thing that matters to me is that my friends know that I will support them as best I can, and refer them to community agencies, if they wish.
The ONLY thing that is worse than a mental health issue, is when it goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. #BellLetsTalk Day