This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, so we’re focusing on Mental Health at YPI throughout this month. Today we have a special guest post from Monifa about how she has dealt with having depression and anxiety.
When experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety it can be hard to come forward and admit you are going through a hard time. The fear of judgment from others and them not truly understanding your situation can make you feel the best thing to do is keep your feelings to yourself.
I know with me, the biggest thing was admitting I actually had an issue. Instead, my answer to everything would always be I’M FINE. It was a feeling where I didn’t know how to express myself, where I was going through something but equally you didn’t want anyone to know that something was wrong.
It got to a point where I internalised everything, and the only reason people knew something was up was that everything about me changed. I stopped trying with every aspect of life. The motivation to do anything had completely gone!
You know in the beginning I didn’t even know there was an issue. I had the everyday stresses and worries that everyone else had with regards to bills and daily living, but didn’t think anything was seriously wrong. It was only until I woke up one day and literally felt like everything had completely shifted. I stopped eating, sleeping, couldn’t leave my bed and was continuously crying without any reason or understanding as to why it was happening.
On top of the depression and anxiety, I was suffering with symptoms of OCD, including intrusive thoughts and hearing voices. Now for someone who had never experienced something like that, it was the scariest thing I’d ever gone through! You feel totally alone and that something must be seriously wrong with you for this to be happening.
Before I became willing to speak out, I didn’t want anyone to know there was a problem. I carried on with my day-to-day and still went to work trying to cover up any signs of my issue. It got to a point where it was like ok….it’s rather I keep living how I’m living internalising everything then end up self destructing, or speak up and receive help.
I decided to get help and receive the support I needed to get me back on my feet. I can only speak for myself, but receiving help from mental health services was life changing! Don’t get me wrong, opening up to strangers about my situation was not the most comfortable situation in the beginning, but in the long run it was like a weight was being lifted off my shoulders the more I spoke up.
I had a support worker who I could contact at any point if I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, and was seeing a psychologist who would help me with my struggles via CBT. With CBT I was able to really address the root and cause of my breakdown and create building blocks to help elevate myself. We focused on every aspect of depression, anxiety and OCD.
Now I’m not saying everyone has to go down the same path as me to start to feel better but I just wanted to share what I have experienced when receiving help with my mental health.
The reason I’m being so open about my experience is for anyone who may be going through a hard time, whatever that may be to speak up and let people know what they are going through.
I know when this all started the first thing I did to try and make sense of it was to search for anyone online who maybe going through similar experiences. Unfortunately I didn’t come across anything. This is why I feel it’s important to be open about my struggles and speak my truth. I’m no where near perfect and still suffer with moderate depression, anxiety and OCD but have more of an understanding of what my triggers are. In addition, due to receiving help I have implemented mental tools to try and keep my mood elevated and see life in a more positive light.
As a black woman, in my household the word depression wasn’t really brought up or taken very seriously, therefore I didn’t have much of an understanding. True depression is not physical – you don’t have any cuts or bruises to show you’re going through anything, people don’t see it as valid or even worthy of being called an illness. So I’m writing this post for any young black girl or boy who is feeling too scared to speak up. Just know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You can receive help and support for whatever you’re going through, and here at The Spilll you will always have a friend to help support you no matter what !
Love M x