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The Reality of Living with Mental Illnesses

Its not a scientific equation, but it sure is confusing.

By Katelynn Marie Published 6 years ago 5 min read
I used the photo from MayasAdventures as a depiction of how mental illness can leave you feeling dead or wilted. 

Mental illness can be classified as many things from anxiety all the way to serious psychological issues, and believe it or not most of the people you know probably suffer from mental health issues. It can affect their mood, how they work, and even their physical health. And guess what? There isn't a magic cure-all for it. In fact, it can only be maintained using proper methods or in serious cases, medication. I, myself, suffer from anxiety and depression and it is a constant war. The bad days are often triggered by life-changing events or devastating news. Ranting helps, herbal tea and music do too, but I will never be magically cured. That's the reality of it.

I wanted to share a bit of a personal testimony to how hard it is keeping up with the maintenance when it comes to my mental health. It'll be an honest depiction of the struggle I like to call the war. As a disclaimer, I am not looking for pity. I just know that I learn from listening to other people talk about their struggles and issues, and how they lessen the impact their mental issues have on their everyday lives. So with that being said, here's my story.

So when I was 11 I started to notice a change in me. I wasn't happy and I would pile things up in a very unhealthy way. The beating I endured at the age of five is what I believe to be the start of it all, but I think it was my grandmother's death that started the fire. I was close to her despite my father letting his girlfriend at the time beat me. I know it was hard for her to accept that her son could not only allow that to happen but also sit and watch while his child cried for help. Despite all this, she was still my idol. It's not my mamaw's fault that my dad is a failure in most ways.

All the pain I felt from her passing away must have been what sparked everything though I didn't know it at the time. I just poured all my energy into band and it helped me to ignore the issues. That is until my senior year when I started having panic attacks. My chest would start feeling tight and my thoughts would go so crazy that I would get dizzy. I had moments where I would run off the field during practice. It didn't help that I wasn't really accepted in band, despite being a hard worker and a really good player. The panic attacks followed me to college where the school counselor told me I had anxiety. I later found out that anxiety is a little hereditary in my family on my maternal grandmother's side. It was liberating to finally understand what was wrong with me. I also was told that I have a somewhat mild case of exponential depression. Basically, I notice how bleak and pointless the world seems and linger on the idea that, in the end, we'll all die without making significant impacts. That's part of the reason I over-criticize myself and my work whether it be music, art, or writing.

For about a year now I've had control over my mental health and it felt good. I was writing and cosplaying, I had a great relationship with a wonderful guy, and everyone I loved, including my animals, were happy and alive. I didn't realize how that would change this summer. I'm still in a relationship with that wonderful guy so don't worry, but not everyone I love is alive now. On June 2 our family dog, Dj, passed away in a rather tragic way. It shook not only me but also my family to the core. I had just started coming to terms with it when my dog, Red, took a turn for the worse. He started showing issues with his hips and walking. I could tell he was hurting massively but I knew that he didn't want to leave me. On June 18 I made the decision to have him put to sleep. It was the most selfless thing I could do for him to prove how much I loved him but it hurts so much. This is new for me. Red was my dog, companion, and best friend. I was his person. I didn't realize how much I depended on him until this week though.

Tragedy hit in the worst manner possible. On Friday we found out that my great uncle was brain dead. It was absolutely devastating and heart-wrenching but there was a spark of hope...or so we thought. Sunday he started showing signs of being slightly responsive so the doctors decided to remove him from the ventilator in hopes that he could breathe on his own. Sadly, Monday morning he passed away. I don't know how to cope. My dog who has always been my emotional support is gone, my maternal grandmother's side of the family is hateful in many ways, and my mental health is at a major low.

So here's the reality of the situation. Essentially, my mental health was at a high before June. I was doing so dang great but a series of events put that to a halt. It proves that you can't completely shake it because an issue or multiple issues can always bring you back to that low. You can't just wake up one day and be over it. It sits like a weight on your chest. Do not get discouraged if you feel like you can't get out from under it. You can overcome the symptoms but never the real issue. That doesn't make it the end of the world though. Mental health issues can be hell sometimes but if you have all the right tools and practice them properly you might just be able to escape the heat. There's no magic spell or potion to take it away completely. Just remember that you aren't alone and that I believe in you.

Now I know this was a long babble but I thank you for listening and I hope maybe my personal story can help others the way my idols' personal stories helped me. Yes, mental health illnesses suck, but they can't break us if we stand tall together. And if you or someone you know is suffering from some time or is driven to the point of self-harm, or even considering suicide, please speak up. The more you speak up the higher the chance you have to save someone. I've even included a few resources that I've either used myself or have heard about. Don't be afraid to speak up.

Be loving, kind, and generous.



About the Creator

Katelynn Marie

Hi, I'm Katie. I'm a 27-year-old musician with a passion for writing and streaming. Aside from writing on Vocal, I stream on twitch. I play a variety of games. In May of 2021, I lost my dearest grandfather and it's forever changed me.

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