COMMITMENT TO MENTAL HEALTH
Our little family has been deeply affected by mental illness - both from Smed's own battles with brain damage and suicidal ideation, as well as from the loss of loved ones. We speak from experience. You are not alone. There is hope.
(This is Smed, specifically, now)
I spent many years feeling alone and hopeless. I thought I had tried everything (I had tried everything I knew of, but there was SO MUCH MORE than I knew- there is a whole world out there of resources and information). I thought there was no "other side" I could possibly hope to reach. I thought the storm would rage at that intensity until the end of my life.
I am still here, and I can tell you that I understand those feelings. For me it was depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, among other things. Your battles may be very different, but I firmly believe that you can get on the other side of your storm, as well.
I see blue skies regularly. I still have storms, yes, but they aren't nearly as common. I am better equipped to deal with them when they come, and they don't last nearly as long. I have a toolbox (medication, CBT techniques, therapies, relationships) that are strengthening and healing for me, and you can find a toolbox that is strengthening and healing for you.
You may feel that your mental illness has shattered parts of your life. It had for me. However, I have been amazed at what I have been able to preserve as I have healed, and what I have been able to rebuild that was lost. I didn't think that was possible. It is.
But you aren't here to learn about me. If you are reading this and you are struggling, find allies and resources and start your journey toward health and healing.
First things first: If you are considering hurting yourself, please call 911 or the suicide prevention lifeline:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
If you are currently safe, get in to your Doctor, and, ideally, into a Psychiatrist. Your physician is a great ally, but be aware that the experience and specialization of a Psychiatrist may be better equipped to help you. If you feel you aren't progressing with your doctor it doesn't mean you can't progress. It just means you might need someone with more knowledge.
Build a support network. Family, friends, others that can relate to you. Talk with those you trust so you don't have to carry it alone.
Find a therapist to work with. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a great place to start. For me, personally, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was a valuable therapy in dealing with past trauma. There are lots of types of therapies that you might not be aware of that are particularly helpful for you.
Finally, try to be open to learning. The internet is a two-edged sword. Find reputable sites and learn what you can about what you are facing. The National
Institute of Mental Health is a great place to start.
Most of all, don't give up. There is so much happening on the Mental Health front, and so much promising research and new treatments being explored. Between all that and ACTIVELY practicing what you already know with regards to mental health there is hope right here before you. Don't fall into the "knowing trap". It's not enough to know. You have to put it into practice intentionally. Silly, I know, but that was hard for me to ultimately realize. I ramble on. What I mean to say is HOPE ON!
You've got this. Really. But remember, a team is vital in this kind of fight. Please don't fight alone. Mental health is a team sport. We're all in this together. :)
Please feel free to reach out to Smed directly if you need someone to talk to, at firstname.lastname@example.org (This forwards directly to Smed's personal email).
Additionally, please feel free to read more about Smed's experience, and the things that made a difference in our lives.