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What Mental Illness Taught Me

Always Keep Fighting

By Courtenay McKinnonPublished 7 years ago 3 min read
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If someone had of told me before I was diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses, I would not have believed you. I was outgoing, social, always out, working, hanging out with my friends. I would have looked you straight in the face and told you that it could never happen to me. It's the little things you take for granted.

In April 2010 I was first diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, agoraphobia, and panic attacks; it happened so fast that I didn't see the signs. I would have a weird feeling in my stomach and I would get a bit light headed on a bus heading to work, but it never lasted long and I never thought anything of it. I started having nightmares that would wake me up in the middle of a dead sleep, my anxiety was screaming inside me, and I had no idea what it was at the time, I just ignored it.

Over several months from then until November 2010, I was put on medical leave from work, diagnosed with insomnia, multiple medications to try and figure out a dosage that worked for me. I wasn't able to leave my house without going into a panic attack, even showering caused me to panic. I went back to work in September and was ultimately let go because of time missed because of my attacks, fear of leaving my house. I became a complete hermit. Seeing mental health professionals that my GP referred me to, trying to cope and learn new skills for dealing with the everyday funk I was going through.

Seven years later, I'm still here, I'm still fighting with my mental illness. I have good days and I have bad days, I've worked hard to get where I'm at today. There has been a lot of failures, tears, happiness, and accomplishments. I've been able to go into stores, I've flown to Florida, I went to school and got my GED. I moved across the country to a new province.

I was getting a better grip on things but in May 2016 there was a city wide evacuation, a wildfire had grown out of control and was threatening to burn everything in its path. Due to the fire my boyfriend (husband now) and I lost our home, ultimately we flew back home and with talking to my GP who referred me to yet another doctor I was diagnosed with PTSD.

I keep fighting every day with my mental illness, I got married last month, we flew back to the city that just over a year ago suffered a fire. I go through flashbacks, memories, and emotions.

I still fight every day with my mental illness that I won't let it take over. I don't win every day, and that's something I have had to cope with. I've learned that it's ok not to be ok, to speak up when you need help, when you feel overwhelmed. I've learned that patience is key with my mental illness. I know my limits and sometimes I push them, some days I can and others I can't. I've learned to always push back, I've become much more aware of my illness and other peoples too. You can do everything right, you can know coping skills, you can know your triggers but not everything is going to stop a panic attack or anxiety from creeping in. That's ok. I've had too many set backs to count, I've felt like giving up yet I won't because I know I'm much more than an illness.

I'm still me under all of this, you can't see that I have a mental illness. I look just like you, I've met so many wonderful people that go through the same things, we've become a family unit, a support system. I stumbled across the group on Facebook via a Supernatural fan page, from there I was welcomed, people who go through the same things and different things. That's where "Always Keep Fighting" came from. It's a reminder to not give up, to not let it cast you out because you matter.

I still have a long way to go, I know it will never just go away but I'm continuously working hard to do more things. My mental illness has taught me many things, from not judging someone so hard, from not just looking the other way when someone brings up a conversation with me and it's taught me to be more thankful for things I can do opposed to the things I can't.

coping

About the Creator

Courtenay McKinnon

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    Courtenay McKinnonWritten by Courtenay McKinnon

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