Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Struggle - #BellLetsTalk

My mental health struggles are not something I generally talk about, but in an effort to help myself and hopefully others, I am going to share a little bit here.

Today is Bell Let's Talk Day - it is an initiative to remove the stigma surrounding mental health problems. Hopefully it results in more people talking about mental health and shows others that they can reach out too if they are struggling.

This time last year as a result of Let's Talk Day, someone very close to me reached out about their struggles, and are still here today because they were able to get help.

This year, I am struggling. Almost everything in my life is going well, but I still struggle. Many things in the past year that were causing me great anxiety have resolved, but I still struggle. My inner dialogue is not a nice one - "If everything is going right, why do I feel so bad", "you shouldn't feel this way", "snap out of it already!". I am very good at taking care of everyone else, but when everyone else is doing ok, and I have to turn around and look at myself, that's when things fall apart. Over the past few months, my issues came to a head. I was getting anxious almost everyday, sometimes turning into full blown panic attacks. "I am an idiot", "why can't I calm down", "it's so stupid that anxiety is stopping me from doing everyday things". I would get so angry at myself, so angry that panic attacks turned into fits of rage "what's wrong with me", "make it stop", "I hate myself", "I can't do anything right!". The anxiety also turned in to checking, lots of checking, and then irrational thoughts - "what if I put my cat in the dryer", "what if when I was checking the stove, I accidentally turned on all the elements". Sometimes I drive away from my house and have to turn around to check everything just one more time. "you are being so ridiculous". I lost enjoyment in the things that I normally enjoy doing. I just stopped doing anything, because everything made me anxious, but doing nothing made me angry - angry at myself.

2 months ago, I broke down, I couldn't do it anymore. I took a week off  of work and I finally asked for help. I saw a psychologist - it was awful. I was prescribed meds - I didn't take them. I was in fight mode, and didn't trust that there was anything that could help. I felt hopeless. Then as a last ditch effort, I got in touch with Mental Health in my city. They provided me a caseworker and access to a psychiatrist and therapy - luckily it was just the help that I needed. My caseworker is awesome - finally someone that can understand me. She helps me to go easier on myself. I am working on changing my negative inner dialogue and it is really helping. I saw a psychiatrist, and he was really good to. I have been to psychiatrists before, and they are so quick to just write you a prescription. But this one actually listened and understood my fears. Things are starting to get better. I still struggle, I am still anxious a lot of the time, but it's not almost always anymore. I still check, but it's not nearly as bad. And I still get down on myself, but I have some better tools now to turn that around. I have OCD, Anxiety, and Fibromyalgia - all of these work together to make some days unbearable. But more days are good now. I've also started to do more things that I enjoy - and that helps too. "I am a good person", "I can do lots of things right", "I can do lots of things well", "It's ok to feel bad", "I don't need to be perfect".

If you are struggling too - it's ok, don't be so hard on yourself. Everyone can't be their best self everyday. But do get yourself help. You may have to try many different things, different doctors, counsellors etc. - just don't give up.

Here are some resources that have helped me:


There are many other resources out there - feel free to post links if you have any to add :)