Posted in Wellness, Word Therapy

You are not alone

The first time I tried I was in my teens. The second I was a mom to two babies. I had lost all hope and I couldn’t see life getting any better. Everything that could go wrong did. I tried to lock myself in the bathroom with a mouthful of pills. I was stopped by the person who loves me the most. I was told to look at my children. I was asked if I really wanted to do this. He called family, telling them he didn’t know what to do. I spit the pills in the toilet. Things did eventually get better. I was lucky.

Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and countless others that we don’t know but don’t make them any less important. They took their own lives, no matter how happy they looked to us. “Within the past year, about 41,000 individuals died by suicide, 1.3 million adults have attempted suicide, 2.7 million adults have had a plan to attempt suicide, and 9.3 million adults have had suicidal thoughts.”-NAMI

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. If you read or watch the news you know mental health is a hot topic. Finding help and getting the coverage for it is stigmatized. Speaking about it makes people uncomfortable. But we have all felt despair at times in our lives. Imagine feeling so hopeless that leaving this Earth feels like your only option? Here are some stats from NAMI that alarmed me as the mother of two kids with their teenage years around the corner:

  • 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 live with a mental condition
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24
  • 37 % of students with a mental health condition at age 14 and older drop out of school

Follow this to know what the 10 common warning signs are.

As much as I talk about anything and everything, I don’t like to talk about how I got to a place where I tried to end my life. Depression has definitely affected me my whole life but I never thought during those two times that it would lead to making that decision. It came on suddenly with such an overwhelming feeling of desperation. I wanted to do something drastic so I didn’t have to feel what I was feeling anymore. I am grateful every day that I failed. With my medicine, writing, and exercise, I can now identify when I am feeling bad and why. I can see things with perspective. I know I am strong enough to handle whatever is thrown at me. I didn’t before. Back then I felt all alone in the world. But I wasn’t then and I’m not now. None of us are. And if you don’t feel that you can reach out to friends or family, here are some places that you can:

NAMI

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Trevor Project

You are loved.

Posted in Calming the Voices, Not Today Anxiety, Wellness, Word Therapy

Today

Last week marked the one year anniversary since I started taking Prozac. I have changed so much in that time. My brain before Prozac was the house that lay dormant with sheets covering all of the furniture. Prozac has gone around and turned on all the lights, removed the sheets, and aired it out by opening the windows. The more sunshine that comes in, the more I feel myself. I feel as if the parts of me that needed fixing are starting to mend. I have more patience, I am more open, and I am not beating myself up on a daily basis. When anxiety starts to build up I am more often than not able to reign it in.

It’s exhausting being defensive and thinking that when a friend, family member, or even a stranger acts negatively towards you that you automatically think you did something wrong. But I did just that for 42+ years (and honestly don’t know how I’m not taking a nap right now). Having that disappear gives me the opportunity to be empathetic. I’m taking my time back and using it for more positive things. Prozac and mindfulness have done that for me.

Social media is still and probably always will be a struggle. There are days where I want to share my life, good and bad. I want to engage with others, other days I just want to hide from it all so I can’t be judged (which is mostly coming from inside my own head).

I want to be an author first and always. I have focused on getting through my anxiety by writing. When I get overwhelmed with mindfulness, putting thoughts down on paper has helped. But I also have felt selfish and self centered by writing about this. Who am I to play the victim and be sad about life? But ultimately I have realized I needed to go through this to come out on the other side. I sometimes still feel alone in my feelings. Prozac has taught my brain that is not the case but my heart still feels different. I am not pushing for a change of heart as I know that wall will become even stronger the more my brain tries to huff and puff it down. It will change in time and that will have to be enough.

The Should and Shouldn’t Have families are starting to wear out their welcome as I am putting on my pajamas to give them the hint. Just in the last few weeks I have started asking, “Well, why can’t I do that?” or “Why do I have to do that?” It sounds so corny and cheesy but I am starting to like myself. It’s a foreign feeling for someone who is constantly thinking of new ways to improve herself. I definitely should have sought help sooner but strangely I don’t have any regrets. I am just so happy that I finally feel “normal.”

I have learned that my emotions will change day to day. One day I will feel on top of the world, ready to accomplish anything. Others I will be frustrated with life and feel like I will never achieve anything. I know I am not alone in this and that in itself is huge. Now I can focus on finding the strength to keep going. I know I can write a book that will be successful. It’s holding onto that thought day in and day out, that is my goal.

I don’t know if I will change anybody’s mind about mental health, but getting the help I needed has been life changing for me. Thank you for reading.

Posted in Calming the Voices

Prozac is my Stacy London

Today is day 38 of me taking Prozac. I have tried over the counter antidepressants, Xanax, and Buspirone before I was finally prescribed Prozac for my anxiety and depression. And just like that it was like Stacy London from What Not To Wear came in and showed me how to live my best life.

For those who don’t know, What Not to Wear was a reality show in the early 2000s where Stacy London and cohost Clinton Kelly would help out a person who was nominated by their friends/family to have an overhaul of their wardrobe. I always thought that was kind of mean for friends and family to do that but the nominated person was always thrilled by the end of the episode so what do I know?

The first thing they would do is to clean out their closet, getting rid of outdated clothes and/or styles that don’t flatter them. With Prozac, it has cleared the cobwebs from my brain. If something is bothering me but doesn’t have a major effect on my life (i.e., the little things), away they go. If a negative thought doesn’t serve a purpose (and what negativity does?), it is shown the door.

Next stop is to give their subject a budget and guidelines on buying a new wardrobe. These clothes ultimately should make this person feel good about themselves and help them accomplish a life goal. Prozac has become the cheerleader voice in my head. If I think that I suck at writing (which happens on a daily basis), Prozac replaces that with, “No you don’t. You just need to work hard, stay focused, and not be so hard on yourself.” If I think to myself, “I will just write tomorrow”, Prozac tells me, “You need to do it today because you can.” If I beat myself up over my parenting, Prozac tells me I am doing the best I can.

At the end of the episode Stacy and Clinton give the person a makeover and show her how to to make the most of her new wardrobe. Prozac has set me on a path where I believe I can be happy even when there are challenges. On the horizon there is the possibility of major life changes: a new job and moving to a new town. I know it will be hard and stressful. But now I have a voice in my head telling me I can handle it. And I can’t ask for more than that.