R U OK Day was yesterday. It is the most frightening and shameful thing ever to have to admit this – but right now, like many others out there I’m sure, I’m not ok.
I’m really struggling. Those closest to me know that mental health is something I have battled with my entire life. For 23 years now, I have swallowed a daily pill – the types of which my drs have bounced me between from one to the next like a ball in a pinball machine.
Each time I tried a new one I could tolerate, I was spared yet again the shame of the feeling of being ‘crazy’ and not like everyone else. My emotions would stabilise for a few years, and I could live, work and parent in the way I felt was ‘just like everyone else’…the shame of feeling like a dismal failure of a human being would temporarily subside and I could just be ‘me’.
After a few years, I would build up an immunity and be shuffled along onto the next little white pill. I believed that this new pill would be again all I needed – ‘just like a diabetic needs insulin’ – to lead a happy, productive life. And I grabbed at it like it was a huge tree root preventing me plummeting down a ghastly ravine.
Phew. Crisis averted.
I believe that for the most part, I have managed to live a decent life, raising my beautiful children to the best of my ability. These pills, and the love of my beautiful friends and family, have allowed me to hold it together enough to lead a successful life – to work, parent and be the best ‘me’ possible.
But, now, after 23 years, these pills no longer work for me.
I’m left with the real ‘me’.
And I’m scared as hell.
I’ve blindly swallowed the ‘chemical imbalance’ story my whole life, and now all of a sudden, I need to find other ways to fight my battle with depression and crippling anxiety.
One thing I’m proud of in my life is my choice early on to be my authentic self. Even at a time when that wasn’t ok in the way it is now.
In the spirit of yesterday’s ‘R U OK Day’, I’m sharing this because I know there will be others out there like me right now who are too frightened to scroll through their social media accounts, or attend social events, go to work some days or even speak to people, because they really aren’t ok. I’m getting help, and I have my fierce army of family and friends who are supporting me. And for this I am eternally grateful, and hopeful that things will improve. Please know that you aren’t alone. I’m right here with you, and life is too good to live this way. Help is available, we just have to be brave enough to seek it out.
This too shall pass. ❤️❤️❤️