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Today is World Mental Health Day! What Has Helped Me Through My Dark Moments

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Today is World Mental Health Day.  It is a good day to remember how important it is to take care of your mental health because if you aren’t doing well mentally, then it will affect the rest of you.  I’ve always struggled with depression.  There are three moments in my life where it was the worst. 

First Moment

When I was pregnant with my second child, I suffered from severe depression. There were so many things happening all at the same time.  My firstborn was my son who as a high-need baby.  He barely slept, already had a stubborn streak, and I had to always be running after him.  At the same time, I had a full-time job with a long commute, as well as working to get my bachelor’s degree.  My kids’ father and I had a lot of issues and that added to everything.  I also was in a car accident.  It was a tough time, and the only way that I got through it was constantly chanting aspirations.  Whenever I felt that I couldn’t do this anymore, I would close my eyes and say, “This is only temporary.  You have to keep going so your kids and you can have a good life.” I also wrote in my diary and sing as much as possible. 

Second Moment

The second moment was the passing of my sister.  She was everything to me, and I felt like my heart was ripped out.  This is when I first went to a therapist, and she was amazing.  I would sneak out of the office every week to go see her.  If it weren’t for her, I would have taken longer to cope with the death of my sister.  It was during this time that I became a huge advocate of everyone getting mental health assistance if they need it.  After a few months, we even started talking about other areas in my life that I needed to work on.  It was hard to stop seeing her when I got a new job that didn’t make it easy to see her. However, I will never forget what she did for me.

Third Moment

The third moment is now. Dealing with my daughter and her lack of wanting to work on improving her mental health is hard.  It is because you see someone who is spiraling downwards, and there is nothing you can do.  You can support her but you can’t control her or live her life.   The only person I had was my sister, and she isn’t here with me.  Unfortunately, I do not have the best relationship with my other sister or mom, so I have no one to talk to. I do have a therapist who I have started seeing, but it is hard not having anyone else to support you. 

Though these dark moments what I have learned about mental health.

Mental Health Resources That Could Help You

  1. Get a Therapist – Make sure to get a therapist. You shouldn’t feel like you have to go to the first therapist you find. I went to two therapists before I found the therapist who helped me through my grief. They will help you through whatever you went to see them for, and they will help you with even more than that. If you don’t have insurance and need mental health help, there are places you can go to. When I was making half of what I make now, I went to a place called the Women’s Center in my area that had different tiers. My first therapist was pre-licensed, and I paid $49 a session. The good thing is that now, people are starting to realize the importance of Mental Health. It wasn’t like it was ten years ago where you had to keep it hushed. Now you can ask your friends or acquaintances if they have any recommendations. And, if the person who needs mental health assistance isn’t getting it, then you can. My daughter is the reason that I see a therapist now, and it has been helpful.
  2. Take Medication – Sometimes, you need medication to help you until you can do it yourself, whether it’s learning stress management or coping skills. There is nothing wrong with doing that. A good psychiatrist will make sure he/she is managing your medication and will be mindful of what he/she prescribes and your side effects. 
  3. Find a Support Group – Even if you are an introvert like me, you will find value in a support group with people dealing with similar issues. As I said in a previous post, I started going to a parenting support group for defiant, rebellious teens. It helped to hear one another’s stories and know we are not in this alone.  I even found great subreddits. Find your people.
  4. Write in a Journal – Having a diary has helped me tremendously. I sometimes cry when I am writing or get angry, but after I wrote all my feelings in my journal, I leave it there. It also helps to put things in perspective. 
  5. Meditate – Meditation was hard for me because I felt I had to do it correctly. Guess what? Even the people who have been meditating for years sometimes struggle. Try it even if it’s only for a minute to start with. It helps to be mindful.
  6. Limit Communication with Toxic People – If you can stop talking to people who make you feel down, then do so. Sometimes it is a bit hard because it’s family. You might not be able to stop talking to them entirely, but don’t tell them things that they will use to put you down later. At the moment, I have decided to limit what I tell my mom and sister. It has helped me feel better to keep the conversations at a high level.

You need to think about yourself and find ways to make you feel mentally healthy. If that is taking a day where you are doing absolutely nothing or going on an impromptu day trip, do it. You are unique and special, and even if you are going through a rough time, know that you are not alone.

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