I watched an episode of Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrianna Banfield-Norris, about Confronting Mental Illness, with Kid Cudi.
I write about mental illness a lot because I’ve been around emotionally ill people my whole life.
And I know I have had depression off and on through-out my whole life.
And I’m comfortable talking about it.
I’m not an expert on what someone needs to help them battle with what ever they are going through… but what I will say, I will always have an ear to listen.
We’re in a world today that it seems like everyone has some type of emotional illness going on. And the other people that don’t get, don’t want to hear about it.
Its all over the news, every day. All over our social media. People taking their own lives because they think it’s the right answer and it just seems easier.
Like most childhoods, we had our share of family drama, family secrets and typical family fights.
Growing up in a small town, everyone knew your business. Hiding family business wasn’t easy but learning to hide your emotions became a piece of cake.
I saw my first therapist at the age of 10.
In those days, HIPAA law wasn’t a thing, so everything I spoke about to the therapist, it was always followed up between my mother and the therapist behind closed doors at the end of every session.
Here is what I got out of therapy, at that age: if I spoke the truth, I got my a$$ beat. If I lied to the therapist, I still got my a$$ beat for wasting my parent’s money on therapy.
I often thought about what it would be like if I committed suicide… but honestly, I couldn’t do it because I knew my parents would have been madder at me for having to ‘clean up the mess’… rather than trying to find the real problem and try to help me.
I thought about running away. But I had no money and I would not have been able to live in the woods forever.
I had the availability to open to mothers of my friends but if my parents knew I was talking about our family to people that should mind their own business, I got my a$$ beat again. Oh, yet it was ok for them to talk about their horrible, bratty children to anyone and everyone, about everything.
I learned at a young age to trust no one. This could explain why I moved from small town to big city, 3 states away, three days after graduating high school. And have no regrets to this day.
At the age of 24-year-old, right after my mother attempted suicide her first time, I thought an anti-depressant is what I needed.
I didn’t like how they made me feel. And sometimes I felt worse. Numb from feelings. Everyone kept saying ‘you’ll get used to them’. After nearly a year and a few horrible therapists later, I decided to go off the prescription and seek self-help instead.
Alcohol. Sex/Cheating. Stealing. Reckless.
It was easy to bandage the hurt inside.
That was nearly 20 years ago.
Fast forward 10 years later, several bad turns, toxic relationships, poor choices in decision making…
I found an amazing therapist that made me recognize that I wasn’t as ‘severely damaged’ as I thought I was. I had baggage. She made me see things differently. She made me feel loved. She was supportive and encouraging. And was never afraid to tell me the truth.
She gave me tough love but made me recognize the difference between being depressed and just feeling sad and overwhelmed because of the things that were happening around me.
Sadly, she passed away a few years ago, but she left me with a few key components to get through life:
- Love yourself first.
- Stop bringing home ‘stray dogs.
- Find hobbies (more than one).
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Don’t let your past define you.
Seems easy enough, right? Common sense, right?
Well, its not. Life is not easy sometimes. Every day is struggle for most of us. That’s what I want people that don’t understand mental illness to realize…. Every day is struggling to just keep our heads above water sometimes.
After watching Red Table Talk, I wish I had this information earlier in life. I know my life would have turned out slightly different, however I don’t think that is how my life was supposed to go.
Every day, I try to find a reason to keep my head above water. Even if that means just getting out of bed at 5p in the afternoon. Sometimes, that little effort is all we can handle for one day. And that’s OK!
Having depression will always be an uphill battle…but here’s what I want to say….
Find someone to talk to. Someone. Anyone. But recognize if they are giving you the right advice or advice you just want to hear.
DO love yourself first. I was told, if you can’t love yourself, how do you expect to be able to know how to give or receive it when it right in front of you. Recognize YOU come first. Give yourself ME days. YOU are important.
Quit ‘rescuing’ people. Quit trying to help people that will only end up taking advantage of you or give you bigger problems. Stop trying to fix peoples problems. Stop saving people, giving people places to live, transportation, especially when most would never do the same for you.
Find hobbies. Find something to do with your ‘down time’. And that means mental downtime. You know how your mind wonders when we have stress or anxiety.
And lastly… Get more massages. Its proven that massage helps with depression. 😊
AND JUST KNOW – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
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