It's okay not to be okay
Mental health is a battle with yourself
In recent weeks, I have been on a journey for my mental health. The journey has been a constant battle with my inner thoughts that seem to dominate my life. I had no words to write, and my mind was filled with only negativity and introspection. The blank document tempted me to write fiction stories, poems, and I wanted to write short stories. The words wouldn't come, the stories that once occupied my head slipped away, but the anxiety lingered. Everything seemed to be against me. Using Google, I searched and read many bios for different therapists. One appeared to be a good fit for me. When I emailed her, she responded with a welcome message and asked when we could meet. A step I was afraid to take, but I took it anyway.
I was terrified of my anxiety, which was eating me alive and making me think I was crazy. Seeing a therapist worried me the most because I thought I was losing my battle with myself, but that isn't true. She told me that mental health is a disease that is stigmatized. If you tell someone you aren't feeling well mentally, you might have heard, "You'll be okay, ignore those thoughts, be strong!" At least once or twice. It isn't always helpful to say those words that seem encouraging. I was worried there would be no end to my anxiety, and I would be submerged in an endless sea of it. Taking a leap of faith to seek help wasn't weakness, but strength. It takes a great deal of strength to realize that you are not okay and to reach out for help. It takes courage to want to change and to want to find your way out of your hell.
At the beginning of October, I woke up with chest pains and felt like I couldn't breathe. I put on a pair of sweats and called my mom to watch my six-year-old. I drove to the ER scared I was having a heart attack. Upon walking into the ER, I was taken to a room, hooked up to monitors, had an EKG performed and blood drawn. I had a chest X-ray and was prescribed acid reflux medication. Everything was fine. It was either anxiety or acid reflux. It left me dumbfounded and numb. I went home and found my son upset at me when I got there. In tears, he asked why I left him and that I made him sad. That broke my heart, and I felt like a horrible mother. Several days after my emergency room visit, I had an appointment with my therapist. Before that, we discussed medication for anxiety, but that was not something I was interested in; I didn't want to be on medication. She suggested that I schedule an appointment with a psychologist after discussing my trip to the ER with her.
A week later, I met with the psychiatrist. It was a pleasure to see a doctor who was nothing but patient and made me feel at ease about medications.
Today, I opened a blank document and started to write. It is not my intent to have these words read, but they might be short. In the end, I wrote it to myself because I wanted to read it again. My goal is to let myself know that I am not losing the fight. You have the tools and more knowledge to cope with the anxiety that lurks in the corner of your mind. It will be a long road to recovery for my mental health, but I will succeed and emerge stronger.