As we near the daylight savings time changes, where we get shorter days with less sunlight, I am reminded each morning as I have to fight to even move from my bed that this season sucks badly for me. Each time Fall comes and then Winter, my complete being wants to just sleep. I could classify it as a mild case of depression, that is strictly induced by lack of sunlight. I really hate dealing with this each year, and every time I get older, the harder it is. This year I will be turning 33 years old and it seems I am starting early with my struggles. I hit snooze far too often and have the thought “kids don’t really need to go to school, right? I can just pretend I slept through the alarm and they can stay home” because it is seriously difficult for me to get out of my covers. I just want to sleep, yet in all reality I wouldn’t be able to sleep with kids home anyways. I am a Mom and responsible one so that thought goes out of my mind as quickly as it arrives in my thought waves.
The great thing about me having to deal with such issues this time of year, is that I am very aware of my self. I know when something is off, I know how I work and what makes me tick. I also put being a mother first on my list; this means I won’t allow such moods to get in the way of being the parent I must be in order to raise children the right way. That’s not to say it is easy. I hope to get a Happy Light this year, so I don’t have to struggle as much as I have been the last couple of years. I cannot imagine this season being worse than last year, because I am pretty sure Lee wanted to strangle me most days. I get mean, more to adults than children, and am very indecisive, sleepy and just miserable a lot of the times. When you are used to being around Happy Go Lucky Brandy with a rare bad day, having to handle multiple days in a row of this mood, isn’t easy for anyone around me. I am sure, because it isn’t easy for me to see myself like that!
Mental Illness, Depression, Bipolar – All Real Illnesses, Real Things People Struggle/Live With
When Robin Williams passed away so many were talking about his suicide, which I believe is what happened, I didn’t read much news coverage because I love Robin Williams and chose to relish in the humor he brought into mine and my children’s lives rather than focus on his sad departure from our Earth. Mr. Williams clearly was dealing with a lot of inner demons, he had a sadness about him that was overlooked, why? Well because many think “how can someone that happy be struggling?”, there is no way this could be possible. I have to tell you, it is so true! So many who suffer from a variety of mental health illness/disorders, whatever you wish to label them, have coping mechanisms that work well. Many can even fool the best of psychologist into believing they are perfectly fine and “normal”, when in reality some of these people really can be a danger to themselves as well as anyone around them.
I have a lot of friends, who after Mr. Williams passed, decided to come out of the closet so to speak and discuss their struggles with depression, bipolar and other disorders that are mostly mental; meaning they are inside of our own heads and while they truly do affect our body, it’s not as obvious to the naked eye who suffers from such illness. I think a lot of society turns their heads too, plus many in society have this mentality that we don’t discuss these things. Well we should. Far too many people are living with illness that keeps them from living a full life; keeps their loved ones just an arms length away and keeps their heart from feeling full. Mental illnesses are serious and most need to be taken care of with therapy combined with medicine.
I Suffer from Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder
I was diagnosed back, a long time ago, with GSAD, basically I suffer from anxiety very deeply at times with social situations. I also struggle with meeting new people and being around large crowds full of strangers. While this is not a day to day thing I live with, because most days I am perfectly fine walking into a huge crowd and mingling with strangers, there are days that this anxiety fills me up and I can’t barely go into a store alone. I do it. I force myself to do these things that my anxiety wants me not to do, why? Because my love as a mother and for myself makes me live my life. I want to live life. I refuse to pop medicine for something that I can control my mind to deal with. I did go to counseling and when first diagnosed I took a small dose of Lexapro; those two services combined helped me to learn techniques and learn how I work best so that I can live med free and no longer need help. I reach out when I need to talk, I taught myself how to be strong. I do not need to be defined by my disorder, but others may need medicine to help them cope. There is nothing wrong with that either. I am just a hardass as I tell many people; a rare form of a human being I guess. I think I am just very spiritual and very in touch with my own aura as well as others, so I don’t need medicine nor counseling anymore. I am also not afraid to seek help if necessary.
How Can you Help Others?
If someone is opening up to you and speaking about their struggles, do not ignore it. If you feel it’s a red flag being waved and this person needs help, do not shake your head and walk away. You should be aware of those you love and how they act normally; watch for signs and ques that they are struggling in some way – maybe a switch in moods, maybe a sadness that didn’t seem to be there before, maybe they are more tired than usual – those are just a few things to look out for. While many can suffer on occasion with these symptoms for life can be hard, it’s only when these type of symptoms become your normal that maybe you should seek counseling. I really am all for everyone having a counselor; maybe writing in a journal or to a friend helps clear your head. Maybe sitting in a counselors office talking to them, helps. Whatever it is that helps you feel at peace, you need to do it. Do not worry about the stigma attached to mental illness, it’s a real thing and no person should ever have to feel they need to hide in a closet over it.
You can spread the word about mental illness, share blog posts and stories on social media about your personal experiences with mental illnesses. It may be you or a loved one; I think so many of us have been touched by depression, bipolar and other illnesses in some shape or form … and it is important to help build awareness not stigma and judgement around this topic!
Be kind. Be loving. Know when you should reach out your heart and hand to help someone struggling .. and then actually REACH OUT TO THEM! Everyone needs love!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net