I've spent, what seemed to be my entire life fighting against or, trying to prevent any form of mental illness. The day I was told my mother suffered from schizophrenia I immediately went into mental defense mode. I checked myself every day from the time I was a teenager until very recently. I even had my close friends validate my sanity, I lived for those validations it reaffirmed I wasn't my mother. I never really knew what depression was until I became an adult. Anxiety, now that I knew. As a teen, I had anxiety over the littlest things. For example, I would have an attack trying to put an outfit together. I had an attack walking to the corner store and also when I waited for the school bus.
My life was controlled by anxiety, no one knew it though. I hid it so well that I developed a technique or mantra, for lack of better words, to battle my unwanted anxiety. I made a mental list of things that were worse than what I actually was going through, it went a little something like this "is this situation going to kill me, is this going to hurt me in any way, What is the root of my fear and God did not put more on me than I can handle". I would say these mantras over and over again until my heart stopped pounding. Fast forward to my early twenties, I'm now in an abusive relationship, it was so bad I almost died, I was being strangled to death. My life was flashing before my eyes and I remembered I had a baby to raise. I gained some clarity and realized my current situation was truly life or death. I gained a little strength while my would-be murderer somehow loosened his grip, it was just enough for me to forcefully shimmy out of his hands.
At that moment God told me to run, luckily I once was a track star so, my legs saved my life. After that situation, I mentally checked out, I believe that may have been the beginning of my short term memory loss. Honestly, I can't remember what I did yesterday but I know how I felt. So, here we are, several years later and I'm married. Married culture is crazy! I honestly believe I became more depressed after the wedding ceremony. I denied my depression every time my husband would ask me "Are you happy", naturally I said "yes, of course, babe why wouldn't I be" Shaun was not convinced. I had all the classic signs of someone who was depressed. No energy, not wanting to get out the bed, barely tending to my household, dishes, and laundry would be piled up (mountain status) but I didn't care. I wanted to disappear, I felt that if I had died everything would be better. This carried on throughout our marriage. I would be depressed for weeks with no hope in sight, only to come out of it with a sense of euphoria and a renewed energy. At this point, I could take over the world. The dishes got done, dinner was made, laundry was put away, and the house looked immaculate, there was no breaking my stride. I never wanted that feeling to go away, I was the best version of me when euphoria came around. My life was a vicious cycle of ups and downs, adding infertility to the mix created a whole different mental ball game. My husband realized there was a problem when my last IVF cycle failed.
I started to have suicidal thoughts, I felt broken and forever punished for my past transgressions. I felt like everything I touched died, mentally I became the Grim reaper, I was without life. My husband took action and called the doctor amid my ranting and irrational thinking. To my surprise, I was diagnosed with Bipolar type 2. This type is quite common but harder to detect. It's funny, I tried so hard to not become what, in my eye, was my mother, but instead I became the very thing that saved my life. I'm not letting this diagnosis define me, I'm turning it into strength and seeing it as seasoning added to my life plate. Don't get me wrong, the struggle is way real, however, I thank God for this diagnosis.
P.S If anyone feels anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide, please do not feel ashamed, acknowledge how you are feeling and seek help, it could be through a close friend, family member, trusted religious leader or therapist. We all need someone to talk to.