May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I can’t think of a better time to self-reflect. I have not written a blog article since July of last year. During this time, I was having some issues with my mental health. I unconsciously decided to take a break from InStepp. My work and personal lives were at war. I could not seem to find the inspiration or the time for my creative pursuits, writing and otherwise. My mental health would improve eventually, but it was short-lived.
I was feeling better until I wasn’t. Every rough patch I have in my life seems to be worse than the last. While I know that this isn’t necessarily true, that’s how it always feels. In September, I was able to stop seeing my therapist. I was starting to feel better, so I didn’t think that I needed her help anymore. The next three months were pretty good mentally, with only a few minor hang ups. I hit some heavier road blocks in December and January, though. Maybe it was when the cold weather had really shown its face, as winter months sometimes cause seasonal depression.
Before “breaking up” with my therapist, she suggested that I try a medication called Wellbutrin. Once the prescription was filled, I did not pick it up right away. Even after I did, I was still reluctant to start the medication. In February, I was in a really bad place mentally, so I finally took a leap of faith and began taking it. I had a very rough start, as my body adjusted to these changes. I felt extremely low, probably worse than I did before. And I cried. A lot. I really didn’t think I was going to make it. I knew that I would need support through this journey, so I found a new therapist a few weeks later. Starting Wellbutrin and finding a new therapist were much needed steps in my road to recovery. It took a lot of courage to admit that I needed help again. However, this was only the beginning.
For quite some time, I felt stagnant in my personal growth. It seemed as though I was being met with resistance with every attempt I made to change my life. I especially had a hard time trying to connect with others. Though socializing has never been my strong suit, I thought I was doing better for a while. I stepped outside of my comfort zone to meet people and make new memories. Sometimes I felt as though I stepped out too far, and I had to reel myself back in. I struggled with effectively communicating with people in my work and personal interactions. I didn’t say enough when I should have said more, and I said too much when I should have said less. I also worked too hard and too much, and didn’t take care of myself enough. The overall theme in my life seemed to be finding balance. How do I know when to spend time with myself and when to spend time with others? How do I distinguish between saying too much and saying too little? How do I manage my time between work and self-care? Then, my therapist reminded me that I get to decide what those balances look like for me.
Self-sabotage and fear have both held me back from being my best self. In the past, I have felt as though I didn’t deserve to feel better. I feared being completely happy because it was unfamiliar. Or I feared that my joy would be snatched away, like before. Now, I know that I can’t let fear stand in my way. I was in an uncomfortable place, and I couldn’t seem to make sense of things. Once I released the need to understand everything, it was all uphill from there. I decided that I deserve happiness, and it will be so.
**If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line.