Trigger Warning: Hey guys I’m going to throw a trigger warning in right here. The following is my experience with mental health and will include things like anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and rape. Please do not read if any of those make you uncomfortable or bring you to a low point in your life. I am aiming to talk about my mental health not to trigger someone else’s.
I sit on the bed as thoughts race through my mind. It’s always the worst scenarios but something in me makes me think that it’s the only scenario. My stomach hurts, sending sharp pains all throughout my body, I feel nauseous. Then comes the throbbing in my head, like nails being hammered straight into my skull, each negative thought making the nails go deeper. The world starts to spin around me and I feel dizzy until finally I get up only to make my way to the bathroom to get rid of the nausea.
This is what it feels like when my anxiety begins and it only gets worse from there, sometimes these can last seconds, sometimes hours, and sometimes the effects linger for days. It all really depends on the day and the situation. This is not how everyone experiences anxiety, it isn’t even how I experience anxiety all the time. It is however how I experience anxiety most often.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, let’s go back to the beginning, to when it all started. I was seven years old when everything took a turn in my life. My father, the man who was supposed to protect me from all the evil things out there became that very evil thing. He rapped me, something I have always found hard to talk about. It didn’t just happen once and yet I remained quiet, scared of what might happen if I told someone what was happening. Even my mom had no idea what was going on when she wasn’t in the house. I held onto the burden for years, all the while beating myself up, making myself believe that I deserved it, that I did something to bring it on.
It wasn’t just sexual abuse with my father, it was also emotional abuse, there were so many times he would tell me that I wasn’t good enough. It got to where I believed the words he was saying. I truly believed that I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t ever going to be good enough. no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t live up to the expectations I set for myself. Because you see when you start believing you aren’t good enough you look for reasons why, you begin to create them. I set goals I knew were too much, goals I knew I would always fall short on. It was an endless cycle that just brought me deeper and deeper down into a depression I didn’t know I was falling into, all I knew was I wasn’t good enough.
So I started to put all my focus into school, nothing else was as important as making sure I achieved those high grades, those goals that I set for myself. School was that one thing I was good at, that one thing I seemed to have control over in my life and no one but myself could take that away from me. My standards were high, a lot higher than everyone else around me had for me. I can remember the first time I got anything lower than an 80%, I came home devastated and informed my mom that I had failed. She asked me what my grade had been and I sadly told her a 75% as if it were the end of the world. Of course she told me it wasn’t a fail and it was in fact a very good mark but I didn’t believe her. My whole life had been focused on honor roll and this wasn’t an honor roll mark.
Looking back on moments like I realize how much having the high standards I had were setting me up for failure. There were many moments just like this one and each and every time the result was similar. Sometimes it was a sense of failure, other times anxiety was added. It was a hard thing to deal with and yet I put myself through it each and every day. It came to the point where before doing something new, spending time with someone new or even going somewhere I had been a million times but knew there was going to be a lot of people I would have an anxiety attack about it. Life had become not as fun as everyone was telling me it was.
In fact high school was the worst four years of my life. Not only was I bringing myself down but others around me were finding everything they could to bully me for. Life truly seemed to suck and that would bring on more anxiety. I was a mess of anxiety mixed with depression I was trying to silence. Many days I was low but I would put on a happy face, after all in a small town such as the one I grew up in anxiety and depression didn’t really exist. Everyone seemed to know everyone’s business and this was not something I wanted other people to know. It was during these years I found some ounce of courage and was able to tell my mom about the abuse I was facing. She immediately took my siblings and I before leaving. She called the cops and my dad was arrested, he was later sentenced to two years less a day jail time.
There were many times over the course of my life where I thought about suicide, thought about just taking that way out, getting away from it all. Thankfully I had my mom and she always let me know how much she loves me, I believe this is part of what has kept me alive. Two years less a day my dad was released from jail, his suffering was over and yet mine was still present. I was still living with the anxiety and depression, the aftermath of it all. Why was he able to walk free while I was a prisoner to my mental health? This is something I don’t think I will ever understand.
Life was hard, everything seemed bigger and worse than it should be but I was holding on, if only by a thin thread. It wasn’t until my mom also fell into depression that something in me changed. While she was low I was there telling her that it was going to be okay, that she was going to make it through everything. I was helping her wherever I could. That was when I took a look at my own life: If I could say those things to my mom why the hell couldn’t I say them to myself? It was that realization that had me thinking. It was from that moment on I took a second look at everything, at myself and started telling myself the opposite of what I had been telling myself all these years.
So what does all this mean? Why am I writing all this today?
Well because I know there are so many other people out there who feel the same way, who think the same way I do. I want all of you to know that it can get better, you can love yourself. I am currently on my journey of self-love, I make sure I participate in self-care because it is something I deserve. It is something we all deserve. Self-love can be the hardest thing in the world to do, and yet I believe it is the most important thing. Yes there are lots of days where I hate myself but there are some days where I love myself, and that is more than I can say for my life growing up.
I still go through life with the anxiety and there are a lot of times where I hit my wall of depression but there are good times and smiles to even those out. Yes when I’m low I’m low but low isn’t my daily state anymore. The road I’m travelling is a long one, there are so many twists and turns but I believe I can make it to my destination and you can to. Everyone is unique, but that doesn’t mean something bad. Just like each flower is unique we all have something that makes us beautiful. Something that makes others want to pick us to have in their lives. We are all special in our own way and damn it we are so worth all the good things that are coming.
Keep you’re head up and believe in yourself because you are stronger than you know. And when you don’t believe in yourself just remember that I believe in you, we can do this. It’s not going to be easy but it is going to be so worth it in the end. I’m always around if you need someone to talk to, someone to brighten your spirits. If you don’t have that support in your life I’ll be that support because each and every one of you deserves it. You are worth it, I am worth it, We are worth it.
In the words of Christopher Robin: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Keep on being you!