I started this blog because I wanted a platform to explore my personal growth journey. The last couple of months have been exciting and terrifying for many reasons and I forgot about this blog, This post is me starting again.
I have often mentioned my mental health but have never gone into detail about it because of the stigma of “wanting sympathy” when you share your struggles publicly. A good friend has been sharing a very personal Journey on Instagram that has inspired me over the last couple of weeks.
I am not sharing for sympathy but rather for awareness but even with that said I think the wanting sympathy and attention stigma is ridiculous. Sharing for sympathy and attention is a cry for help that requires a response and not a reason for shaming.
May is mental Health awareness month and in honour of this I want to commit to being more Honest and transparent about my mental health journey. Some days are great and others are a struggle. My mental health disorders are part of me but they also don’t get to define who I am as a person.
So here are my answers to the mental health tag questions;
- What is your mental health issue?
I have General Anxiety Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Major depression disorder.
- When were you diagnosed?
I was officially diagnosed in 2013 for the general anxiety and major depression. My PMDD was only diagnosed 3 years later in 2016.
- Do you have medication and/or therapy?
For the General Anxiety Disorder I take anti-anxiety medication (Mainly Stressam). My body doesn’t work well with anti-depressants so I don’t have anything for the Major depression but I do try to work-out, eat healthy and take evening primrose oil supplements, this combination and a therapist helps me 70% of the time when I am consistent with it but this doesn’t always happen.
For the Premenstrual Dsyphoric Disorder I got an implant in my arm just over a year ago that stops changed my menstruation cycle to now only making me menstruate every 4 months. I am okay and functional in the months when I don’t menstruate but the months when I do menstruate my PMDD lasts longer than usual and is more intense.
- How long have you had problems for?
Although I was only diagnosed in 2013 I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember and my earliest depression memories are probably around 2005 when I was 11.
- Who knows about it?
My Partner and my closest friends know about my mental health disorders. My family is unaware and I honestly don’t know if I will ever tell them.
- Does this affect your work and daily living?
My work and daily life are affected by my mental health; I often have panic attack about small things like replying to emails and texts or just going out for drinks with friends because of my anxiety. My depression and PMDD have meant that I have missed important school and work deadlines. I have missed exams twice since starting University because of my depression and anxiety. Dating was a challenge for me because of my mental health and my current partner has had to see me in a lot of dark spaces.
- Has your mental illness stopped you from doing anything?
My mental health has stopped me from doing many things but the things that have haunted me the most are; not being able to Graduate On time and not completing some of my favourite creative projects like the novel and poetry collections that I have been working on for years.
- What makes you feel calm?
The things that help me relax the most are; Watching Instagram stories, Playing Games on my phone, Long Baths, writing my thoughts down and scenic walks.
- What do you do in crisis?
When I have a panic attack I just lie down and take long deep breaths and wait for it to pass. I have also learnt to let my University lecturers know about my mental health when I sign-up for a class so that If I miss a deadline during the term I can always go to them for an extension.
- What advice would you give to others suffering?
Find people who understand what you are going through, you cannot do it alone. Find a community even if it is online, it is impossible to expect one person to be able to get it all the time. It is a lot easier to manage your illness when you have support structures. The first people I told about my mental illness were strangers that I met in groups where I felt safe online and those people gave me the courage to tell my friends and to this day still help me when I am at my worst. I have several people to count on because I don’t want to put too much pressure on one person to always have my back and this has made asking for help when I need it a lot easier.
- What is a common misconception about your mental illness?
People are surprised to find out that I am very extroverted because they expect my mental health to make me introverted and that is just not the case with me.
This is me, Do feel free to ask me any questions about General Anxiety Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Major depression disorder.