Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to highlighting the struggles surrounding mental health and destigmatizing the discussion and treatment of it. Ironically, today was one of the worst mental health days I’ve had in a long time; to be honest I wasn’t even sure I’d be up to writing anything today, let alone on this topic.
Why today? Beats me, my brain does what it wants and today it decided that it was a good day to deal with six months’ worth of pain in one go. I didn’t get out of bed until lunchtime, I cried so hard my teeth hurt, and I had to take myself on an 80 mile trip to nowhere to self-soothe. Perhaps my episode was triggered by helping a friend manage an episode he was having yesterday (if you’re reading this, still totally not your fault, you know I’m here for you always!). Or maybe today would have happened no matter what — certainly wouldn’t be the first time I had a Very Bad Mental Health Day for no discernable reason.
Full disclosure time — this year has been kinda hellish for me. I’ve suffered from anxiety and low-grade depression for years, I treat it but as anyone who suffers knows you still get breakthrough days. I’m also going through a divorce that I didn’t plan on or initiate, and the state of Georgia stubbornly refuses to finalize. Have you ever tried to do things like get new health insurance when you’re separated but not legally divorced? Yeah, bad times. To compound all of that, the cat that was going to stay with me after my husband moved out passed away suddenly. For the first time in my life, I am the only living being in my residence.
Essentially I’m having to rebuild my life while dealing with my mental health issues. And to be completely honest, I have no clue what I’m doing and it scares the shit out of me. I wasn’t ready to do this, I never thought I’d have to do this, and increasingly it feels like I’m flying through space with no idea how to navigate to a safe destination.
For a few reasons, I don’t typically talk about any of this publicly. Social media incentivizes all sorts of behavior but one it actively disincentivizes is being vulnerable, and it doesn’t get more vulnerable than discussing your mental health struggles. I know I’m not the only one struggling though, and we all have stories that we keep hidden. Me, I think I’m ready to start sharing my stories, in the hopes that I can help at least one person feel less scared and alone.
I am a private person when it comes to my interior life — I rarely share what goes on behind the curtain and I don’t think that has been healthy for me. I need to remember that it’s OK to not be OK and it’s OK to say I’m not OK. It’s OK for you to not be OK too.