There’s such a stigma with mental illness that I was afraid to say and admit I needed help. I’ve suffered from depression, and I’ve suffered from anxiety. Although it wasn’t until I got into a new relationship that I realized I need to get help if I want this relationship to work and flourish.
So did I do it for myself, or did I do it for the relationship? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m glad I got the help, and I believe I needed his support to get the courage to do it.
Prior to the relationship, I had started in-person therapy because I needed answers about my depression. My mom was bipolar, but no one knew until she got diagnosed about a year and a half before she passed, and from my own studies of psychology, I learned that bipolar disorder could be hereditary; I freaked out. During one of my therapy sessions, I asked if I was at risk of developing bipolar disorder. She informed me that my depression seems to be more situational than inherited. That was a relief because I, too, would experience mood swings. So bad and to the point that my parents would tell me that no significant other would put up with that. But little did anyone know that God had a person for me who would help me get the help I needed to figure out why the mood swings. 😉
I had just always thought I was moody, that having those mood swings was a part of me, and that’s it, but that wasn’t the case at all; it was all tied to my trauma. But of course, no one was going to tell me that unless I went to therapy and talked with a professional. And bipolar disorder is much more than just mood swings, which of course, I learned about later.
I could also connect where my anxiety came from, and it’s all from my upbringing and not having stability with my mom or security. You see, our childhood plays a significant part in our personality and who we become as adults. Something probably a lot of people don’t understand.
I love psychology, and I love learning about how the brain works, which is why I decided to get a double major in psychology and healthcare administration. I am also a therapy advocate because of how it helped me. But you have to be willing to put in the work in order for therapy to work. You have to be able to really open up and be honest about your thoughts and feelings, which is completely hard because being vulnerable is hard.
The in-person therapy finished after a few sessions because I didn’t feel a connection with her. Not saying she wasn’t a good therapist, but you don’t have a connection with everyone. I decided to do online therapy, which I had done years prior when I found out about my ex-partner’s affairs. BetterHelp.com is the online therapy platform I used. It was beneficial, so I was hoping for the same results this time around.
Since I wanted to start from childhood, we would schedule one-hour phone sessions every week until I had told my story entirely up until that point in time. She was amazed at all I had been through at such a young age and told me she was surprised my mental state wasn’t worse than what it was. She also mentioned that I should write a book about everything that she knows it could be a best-seller. I’ve kept that in mind but haven’t started.
She made me feel comfortable; she never judged; she acknowledged how I felt and validated it. It was nice to talk to someone who didn’t judge and didn’t try to minimize my trauma by comparing stories or telling me that others have or had it worse. After each session, I would talk to Jonathan about it and how I felt. It was like he was included also.
Sharing your story is a personal choice. Everyone goes through challenges in life, traumas, and bad experiences, but all those situations shape us somehow. They make us stronger, learn lessons, and know what not to do if it ever comes up again. By sharing your story, you can heal from it, and you can help others who might have gone through similar situations. You might be surprised at how many others understand how you feel or understand the situation you went through. We are all trying to figure this thing called life together.
Resources for mental health help:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) – from there website, “SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.”
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