I was blown away by the response to my post What Do You Want Me to Say?. I never thought a post about mental health would draw such attention. But I’m glad it did. And here’s why.
Mental health is something that is highly stigmatized in our society. That’s a huge factor in why those with mental illness are reluctant to get help. People nonchalantly throw around statements like “I’m so depressed” when they mean they’re just having a bad day. Or “This weather is totally bipolar” or “I swear my dog is schizophrenic” or “You almost gave me a panic attack” when they’re merely startled. They hear from their family and friends, “You don’t need to be on meds” or “You don’t need counseling” or “That’s for crazy people.” Actually, they do need those things. People with true depression can’t get better on their own.
But help for mental health problems is nearly impossible to get access to. In the huge healthcare system I work for and receive my healthcare from, there are so few psychiatrists that none of them are taking new patients. Then why do we even bother having psychiatrists, honestly? So pretty much everyone with a mental health issue is relegated to see an overworked nurse practitioner who is scheduling four months out.
I did get help eight months ago, from a very helpful nurse practitioner who told me how brave I was to seek help. I didn’t feel brave, I just knew it was something I needed to do. Apparently it’s not something people do often enough.
I was ok until a few days ago. Then I don’t know what happened. A switch flipped in my mind somewhere. I think I began to realize how downright unpleasant my life has become and how it might actually never get better, and that got me down into a deep hole. It’s so deep at the bottom that the light of day at the top is just a speck.
Down here in the hole, it’s dark. And wet. And it smells funky. All I have to keep me company are my thoughts. Thoughts of how my life used to be. Before celiac disease. Before endometriosis and adenomyosis. Before infertility. Before the brain tumor. Before depression. Before having to go on disability for four and a half months due to the symptoms of the brain tumor. Back when I was happy. And healthy. And useful.
My life doesn’t in any way resemble what it used to. And I’ll be damned if I haven’t earned the right to be upset about that. If your life changed as drastically as mine has, would you still be happy?
I am not, I will repeat, NOT suicidal. I am dealing with some tough crap right now, more than many of you have had to go through in your entire lives, in less than a year. Would I be sad if I died? No, because I’d be dead, so I wouldn’t have to think about it. But I value my relationship with Jesus Christ above all else. He will take me home to heaven at a time of His choosing, and not before. I will do nothing to interfere with that, even at my worst. If I have the female longevity from my mom’s side of the family, I could live to be 100. Who knows except God?
If anyone wants to join me in my hole, I’d appreciate the company. But bring a ladder. The first step’s a doozy.