Health

Thirties and Mental Illness

I’ve always been very open about my mental illnesses. I feel I need to be open about mine even though it’s hard sometimes. But I place such an importance on ending the stigma. It would be pretty hypocritical if I left it up to everybody else to be honest, wouldn’t it?

I’ve dealt with depression since I was five. It’s genetic and I dealt with the trauma of losing two sisters by that age, so it’s no surprise I was so young. I was on antidepressants by the time I was ten. I have been on them since that time. My anxiety (General Anxiety Disorder with panic attacks) started when I was 23 and in my last semester of college. I’m also on medication for that. Luckily, I don’t have panic attacks as often as I used to. Sometimes my anxiety flares up quite a bit, but it’s usually much more manageable than my depression. I’m dealing with a bit of a depressive episode right now, but I know I have upswings at times, so I’m waiting for that. Unfortunately, I never feel normal.

I’ve learned how to deal with my depression and anxiety. They’re always there in the background, especially my depression. They’re always with me. They never go away. But I understand how to handle them. They don’t trick me anymore and lead to suicidal thoughts. Instead, they give me gifts, like the inspiration to write poetry.

But I won’t lie. I’ve been suicidal at times. I’ve attempted suicide twice, most recently in February 2019 when I couldn’t handle my PTSD. I was in the hospital for almost a week, and later that year, attended an intensive outpatient program.

I got PTSD because my ex-fiancé was abusive. It was mostly emotional, but sometimes physical. People ask, “Why didn’t you leave?” And that’s a great question. I didn’t realize there was anything wrong. Even though I was 30-32, it was my first relationship, and I thought I was at fault for any problems we had. Narcissists are good at making you feel that way. After two years of abuse, when I realized I was being badly hurt, I moved to my parents’ house in June 2018 with PTSD.

But unlike my depression and anxiety, which I knew how to deal with, I couldn’t figure out how to handle my PTSD. It was like this monster following me around. I was terrified of everything. I became angry and fearful and pessimistic and hopeless. (I’m actually the most optimistic and hopeful person I know, depression or not.) I became somebody I didn’t like. I became somebody I didn’t even trust. If I couldn’t see what was happening then, was I right about what was going on now?

It took Ketamine Treatment and therapy twice a week from November 2018 to current to get over it. But I did. I moved on from him a long time ago. It took longer to move on from my PTSD.

Except when I go in my house. He trashed my house and I still have PTSD when I go in there. But I’m going to fix it. I appreciate my parents so much. They’ve been an amazing support system, and I couldn’t have ever gotten better without their endless generosity and allowing me to live in their house. But it’s been three years now and it’s time to face that PTSD, no matter how hard. I plan to clean it and move back in during June. I’m going to make my house my own again. I’m going to make sure it doesn’t remind me of him at all. It will be mine. And I will be free again.

If you’re dealing with mental illness, please get help! You don’t have to be ashamed or keep it a secret. You’re not alone. Therapy really helps. And if necessary, medications really help as well.

The Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. You can chat with somebody at the Suicide Prevention Hotline.