Friday, May 19, 2017 / 4 Comments

Why I'm Being More Honest About My Mental Health


Phew.... this may be the most personal and hardest things I've ever written.

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to be upfront and honest, for once. Not that I'm not usually upfront and honest, I usually am. About some things. Other things I like to keep to myself. And mental health has always been one of those things.

I had always been taught that mental illness is something that you keep to yourself. There was obviously nothing wrong with having it (mental illness runs in my family so it wasn't exactly too much of a shock when I was first diagnosed as a kid and my family has always been so supportive throughout my life living with my illnesses), it's just that some people aren't always so understanding about the subject matter. And as much as I wanted to believe that what I had been brought up to believe wasn't true, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was, at least during the time when I was a kid and a teen. From awkward silences and blank stares when I tried to bond with my "friends" and tell them about my issues, to more recently guys I've dated bringing it up as a major issue in the relationship, I had to admit that mental illness still had a stigma. But not to some brave individuals.

I've been so inspired by the mental health bloggers that I follow and their honesty when writing about their mental health journeys. It almost shocked me when I first found out about the mental health blogging community. I immediately thought, "they're openly talking about their issues? Like, admitting them? Out loud??" And yes, they were. They were posting blog post updates about their struggles with depression, anxiety, OCD, you name it. And no one was judging them for it. In fact, everyone else who commented on a blog post, or tweeted during a mental health chat, were so encouraging and supportive to one another. Having a mental illness wasn't a taboo, it was just a fact. It was so unlike my own life, where I only talked about my mental health to my doctors and family. I just assumed no one else would understand. But it turns out a lot of people do. 

I've written about anxiety and depression before, but in a hopefully helpful and humorous way. I didn't get super personal about my own struggles with anxiety and depression but I obviously alluded to it. So I may not in fact be the best mental health blogger, but I am trying to help out the community, even in my little, unassuming way.

But now that it's Mental Health Awareness Month, I finally feel like I want to be honest about my own mental illnesses. And while I admire the people who are so open about sharing their issues and stories, I myself only feel comfortable sharing a small amount of my struggles. Maybe because I'm still going through several things currently or maybe it's because I fear the judgement that I've always known (or maybe just imagined) would come along with being open about it, but there are some things that are too painful or even too difficult for me to revisit right now. And I've come to realize that that's perfectly okay. These are my stories to tell, whether I choose to or not.

But I will share some of the things I've been treated for or have gone through (whether officially diagnosed or not). And guys, this is big for me. Like, I rarely share this (for obvious reasons explained above) but I'm doing it now in honor of this fine month of mental health awareness. So, without further ado, here's my list of crazy:

•Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Good ol' OCD. You were my first. Where would I be without you? Happier. I would be HAPPIER)
•Depression (Hello darkness, my old friend)
•Panic disorder (It's supervillian power: Able to pop up at the most inopportune time at the speed of light!)
•Anxiety (It's like having a mini panic attack all. The. TIME. Fun, right??)
•Eating Disorder (Anorexia nervosa, NOS, due to my OCD. I hate it when my mental illnesses gang up against me)
•Emetophobia (Puking is literally the bane of my existence. Literally
•Agoraphobia (You know it's bad when you're too scared to leave the house to go to Target. Target, I say!)
•Trichotillomania (OCD's younger, annoying hair pulling sibling)

I seriously just let out the biggest breath after typing that! What a weight it is off of my shoulders to say it! Mind you, a big, scary weight. It's out there in the world now!

Maybe I'll write about my struggles with them one day, or maybe I won't. But I honestly feel so empowered just admitting what I've gone through and what I'm still going through. I'm still here. Yes, it's severely impacted my life, from finding the right schooling, a good job that I could benefit from rather than become it become a hindrance, and just life in general. But I haven't let my mental illness beat me. I've traveled out of the country, shared adventures with friends, had relationships, all despite sometimes dealing with some pretty intense bouts of mental illness. No, my life isn't perfect and I'm not exactly where I want to be right now, but I'm trying everyday to not let my mental illness run my life (I mean, these disorders have squatted in my brain for so long that's it's kind of tough to kick them out). And I have to believe that these dark periods and thoughts are only temporary, and it'll get better in the future. For me, and for everyone else who is struggling right now.

It's okay to talk about your mental health and it's fine if you'd rather keep it to yourself and select others, rather than sharing it with the world. Both are perfectly acceptable and it's up to the individual person. I just wish that this community existed back when I was a kid/teen and felt so alone, but I'm so so glad it exists now and that anyone can access these awesome communities and resources.

But I think that everyone out there dealing with mental illness or know someone who is struggling can agree that every month, not just May, should always call attention to mental health. So if you want to, share your story, or just show your support in honor of those struggling with mental illness. It's more common than you think and remember, you're not alone! There is always help out there and it will get better ♥


-Emily


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4 comments:

  1. I love mental health posts and seeing how open other bloggers are makes me have the courage to share my own story! <3

    www.natalieleanne.com

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    1. Thanks so much for reading!! This was super hard for me to write/post but like you, I found a lot of courage seeing other people share their stories! :) I hope everyone in the future can be more open about their struggles so it's not so taboo anymore.

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  2. You're so right, even though it's scary it's also empowering to open up about mental illness. It doesn't reveal your weaknesses but instead proves just how strong you are! I love how honest this post is and I hope you're doing okay sweetpea xxx

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    1. Awww thank you so much for reading my blog post and for your comment!! That really means a lot to me. It's still weird to be open about my mental health issues, it's empowering but also kind of frightening too. But I am doing okay, thank you <3 And thank you again for reading! xo

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