Wishes while functioning and struggling with mental health

I wish…
…I could self harm just once so that people would take it seriously (too much of a possibility of that causing an added problem)
…I knew what I needed to do to get better
…there was someone who would check in regularly and that I knew what that looked like
…what kind of therapy would help
…what physical ailments were related to anxiety, stress, or depression and what might be a sign of some physical sickness that I should get checked out (problem with having no insurance. You have to decipher when to go to the doctor.)
…that I could find a way to directly reach out to people without it stressing the mess out me. Every time I feel that I am in crisis mode and should reach out, I think about what might be going on in someone’s life before reaching out. Which causes me not to reach out because everyone has things going on in their lives.
….I could get to the root causes of my mental health struggles
….that there weren’t wait lists to see a therapist (then again I don’t have insurance therefore have limited resources)
…that people in the church wouldn’t have such a negative view on counseling/therapy and medication people might need to deal with their mental health struggles. Yes, prayer with time in the bible and memorization helps but doesn’t always bring healing. I can have peace while struggling mentally. God allows people to go through different struggles for His glory. This could be one way He is using me. I got to believe that because I know He is the only reason I am still alive on Earth. If my time here was done, I wouldn’t be here.

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strength vs struggle of mental health

Many people wonder why I choose to post on social media about my struggles. Not many directly tell me this but some have informed of other’s concern.

Here’s the reason: to break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage others to become informed of the realities of mental health struggles [not just what movies, shows, and books show].

Here’s the main reason people think I post but never my intention: attention

I used to not post about my struggles until they passed and I was back to being positive.

I want to be positive. I really do. The thing is I do not know how to deal with my emotions and I do not have a support system set up. I also deal with the fear of being a burden. Therefore I rarely reach out to someone personally while I am struggling.

I somehow thought I grew up in a culture where emotional issues and any developmental issues was not discussed therefore they could not exist. That’s how I perceived it.  Probably not reality.

I chose numbness as a coping mechanism when facing issues growing up. It still the first thing I tend to do when facing an emotional stressor. I don’t remember much of the details of my life because the numbness blocked those memories.

Over the past few years, I have gotten to a breaking point with my mental health. I have had several moments where a passing thought of suicide will occur. It only last for a moment. Not long enough to make a plan. Just enough time to suggest how. I deal with a thing called suicide ideation which is where it can range from just fleeting thoughts to planning. I am thankful that I just get fleeting suicidal thoughts. What a weird thing to say, right?

I want to be vulnerable but I know I don’t need to or shouldn’t share too much detail about the specifics of my mental health struggles.

There lies the problem where it is hard to know how much to share so that people get an idea of what it looks like to deal with a mental health struggle. I want to share about the faults I have faced with people in my life when it comes to trying to share about my mental health but not single anyone out or have it seem like I am pointing fingers. {Welcome to my anxious mind}

I do not have a support system set up. I have never had one set up. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to talk to someone about being part of my support system. I don’t even know what I need in a support system.

I know that I am worn down from fighting this on my own. I am on a waiting list to see a therapist at the psych clinic at South university where a grad student will attempt to help me with life and how to deal with my emotions.

 

The struggle

The struggle is wanting a forever companion but no desire to marry or even date.

The struggle is wondering why I started with that. Most likely because I miss living in a community. You see, I moved from the Southeast to the Northeast (or is Michigan Midwest?) a month ago.

The struggle is choosing to vulnerable yet not knowing who or where to turn to do so.

The struggle is knowing the thoughts and worries you want to be vulnerable are most like irrational and what’s the use of talking about the irrational.

The struggle is claiming people as my support system but not being direct on what I need from those particular people.

The struggle is facebook deleting a message that I had planned to send to those that I claim as my support system.

The struggle is fighting numbness and to fight to be honest and vulnerable with myself.

The struggle is realizing that anxiety has decided to come back with a raging fire after taking a month long vacation…or maybe it was a business/strategy session on how to attack my mind.

Do know that I thankful that I got a job with full time hours and soon to be benefits within a week of being in Michigan.

Know that God has confirmed many times that He has called me to Michigan.

 

Might have found a church to call home

I visited Courage Church which is a little church in Mexicotown of Detroit  on the fourth day of being in Dearborn. My roommate was working so I decided to walk 5 miles because when I googled Assembly of God churches in Dearborn, that was the closest that popped up. The wife of the pastor was preaching that day and she said a lot of things that confirmed God calling me here to Dearborn. Unfortunately my roommate works Sunday mornings and I probably could take the bus but I was really hoping to find one closer.

The next Sunday, my roommate and I went to Floodgate where my roommate has attended a few times. The problem is that it is 45 minute drive away. I really enjoyed the worship and the word given was about transition so it was obviously something that struck a cord in me.

While walking to work on my first day, I passed by Springwells, an Assembly of God church, that is less than a mile from my apartment. I told my roommate about it and she said she passed on her run that evening.I decided to go to check them out on a Wednesday night. I wasn’t sure what their Wednesdays looked like so I found out they have bible study. We went through a few verses and broke down each verse. Questions were welcomed and referencing verses was expected. There was good conversation and questions asked that I would have never thought of.

Sundays at Springwells happen in the evenings. Sunday school is at 4 then dinner at 5 with worship following at 6. This past Sunday, the worship service was spent in prayer since it was 9/11 and they wanted to pray for our country, the Muslim population, and other issues that are going in the world.

Springwells is a missional church which means the pastors raise their support. They minister to the Muslim population in Dearborn. I don’t know the percentage but I know the majority of Dearborn population are Muslims.

I am praying about what part I am going to play in ministering to the Muslim population through Springwells church.

A glimpse into moving cross-country and starting a new job

I have been in Dearborn, Michigan for two weeks now and it has yet to sink in. I felt complete peace since landing into Detroit airport and have felt all the time. My anxiety and depression aren’t as bad as they were. I am not saying that I am completely healed but I do feel that God has protected me from feeling extreme depression or anxiety.

The day after I got here, my roommate and I worked as quality control inspectors at an auto parts place. It was mundane but we got paid above minimum wage and worked 9 hours.

I spent the next week walking to places around and applied online to a few places. I got a call the same day as applying. I got the job the day after the interview. Today was my third day working at Panera Cares. I will be getting full time hours. All of this was an answered prayer and confirmation that God has me right where He wants me.

Panera Cares is a partner of Panera Bread and functions the same but customers are able to pay a donation. So they either pay the amount that it actually costs or less if they cannot afford to pay to full cost or more to help offset those who cannot pay the full amount.

There is a bus that runs near my home to Panera Cares but I have very limited funds until I get paid early next week. The weather been really nice so I’ve walked home the past two days. I have been thankful that my roommate has been able to pick me once and dropped me off a few times.

On my home today, I got distracted by some of the natural beauty that surrounds the roads. Here are some pictures I took with my phone on the way home:

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I am not sure if this happens a lot but one of the perks of closing tonight is that I got free mac and cheese.
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I ate most of it before thinking to take a picture.

My roommate and I tried a burger place that is walking distance from our apartment. Can anyone guess the reference?img_1852-3If not, that’s okay. I didn’t either until my roommate said something about it. Here’s a hint:

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Here’s a little humorous sign that was there as well.
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I went for a run the other day and my split times for the first two miles were pretty good. I usually run a 12 minute mile so I was pretty proud of myself for running a mile under 11 minutes. I am also proud that all my miles were under 12 minutes. I ran a total of 4 miles without stopping. The weather did feel great that day. It was definitely fall weather.

While on my run, I  ended up running to something about Henry Ford which is not that surprising that me living right outside of Detroit.

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img_1875-3The past few days have been pretty warm but not as humid as southern Alabama. There was a short, little storm yesterday while at work that made me chuckle and reminded me much of Mobile weather.

Thought I’d post a blog of things I have been wanting to post about but hadn’t. I realized it was enough to write a blog. I hope you enjoyed this little snapshot into my life currently. I might try more. We shall see.

Pulling weeds while thinking it’s the root

The hardest but sometimes the best thing to do is just let go.
 
I have always struggled in friendships. I somehow only know how to be a best friend and have no idea how to navigate any of the other stages. I dive in head first into the deep end without looking back to see if my new friend joined me. I have set my standards and they seem unattainable.
 
God has been revealing that some of my standards and expectations should be only held for my future spouse. I have never been close to my siblings or parents. No one is to blame. Busy schedules and different interests didn’t help. I think un-diagnosed mental health issues add a whole new level. I know that my family loves me [and I love them] but I have never received emotional support or felt a connection. 
 
I have been searching for the connect, the sisterly bond in friends. The majority of people have great family connections who are their built in support system. I have received financial support but lack the personal, emotional support that every human hopes to have.
 
I told a few people that they were my support system but didn’t explain what that meant. That is because I didn’t even know where to begin or how to explain what I needed. I am still searching for that answer and how to explain to those who I have chosen to enlist as my support system.
I am doing good. I have felt complete peace since entering Michigan and God has been good. God is continuing to allow me to see the parts of myself that needs to be worked on. He is showing me the root of my issues slowly. I keep pulling at weeds thinking I had pulled the root. God has been gracious to allow me to work though the weeds to get back to the root and try again to pull the root out.

Handle with tender loving care

It’s easy to forget how bad it sucked to be in a bout of depression when things are going good. I think that is a good thing because why would you focus on bad moments in your life when life is treating you well. What not remembering doesn’t help is when trying to explain those dark times in your life to people who had been there but didn’t recognize that you were struggling. This isn’t me placing blame on anyone. Please do not read this paragraph as that.

It’s been about a month and a half since my first bout of depression while on anti-depression medication. Anyone should know that one of the side effects of anti-depression medication is suicidal thoughts and sleepiness among others that it is supposed to be helping stop. The medication was not the cause of the bout depression occurred from complications with financial aid kept on piling up on me.

I couldn’t be mad at anyone in the financial aid office for me taking to so long to seek professional help for my depression and anxiety. I can’t be too upset with myself for not seeking help sooner. There is no one to blame. Depression and anxiety doesn’t allow for realistic perceptions of life.

It is hard to change how you deal with things when you’ve spent your whole [or the majority of] life coping a certain way.

With school being out and yet to find a job, time is not good for non-dealt with issues that was put on the back burner because the routine of school with a somewhat packed schedule and organizations that were at school. Issues that you and your mind need to wrestle with and some issues involve talking to people. They involve discussing tough topics with people in your life that you’ve been bottling up.

It’s hard to try to describe my depression pre-medication as well as that first bout of depression since starting medication. I literally had moments where I was too tired of not being to change my mindset, thoughts, or emotions from racing thoughts and untrue thoughts from replaying in my mind. Even though I knew most of the thoughts were exaggerated or complete lies, there was no way of redirecting them.

I was tired of trying and trying yet always failing. Failing with school work. Failing in friendship aspect. Failing in any relationship aspect. Failing at having a plan.

God made me resilient. He made me overly loving and gave me the love to want to know people. God made me with a huge desire for community. God gave me the desire for someone to share everything with but not the desire to date or marry. This desire was for a best friend which I know that a significant other is that. For reasons I have yet to figure out, God gave me a desire for friendship, not a dating/marriage relationship.

I am starting to wonder if I treat every friendship like it’s relationship and that is where troubles/issues arise.

In moments that I have felt like that world is against me, I’ve thought about messaging/calling friends to come be with me but I don’t because I think I fear that would be asking too much. I will think about how much they might be stressed about school, work, other people in their life that might have priority, so many other things that I consider are more important than me. Or I know how irrational my thoughts are and I don’t want to bother anyone else because of the same reasons that I listed above.

Well…that’s a little bit what is in my head yet I am afraid to share with others.

 

The beauty that counseling and meds have done

Here’s the quick update.
I have been seeing my therapists consistently for a month now.
I have been taking anti-psychotic medicine for two months.
I had to request a change in mg for the dosage.
I feel like I have my life back!

Okay, now on to the meaty details.

It took one long year of being at my weakest after a decade of struggling to do it my own while relying on God. There was a moment during the earlier years where I asked God why. There have been many moments in the year of 2015 that I had asked God if I only needed him then why couldn’t he just take me to heaven.

In those moments in when I knew my strength was dwindling and I had to seek help. I knew I couldn’t just journal, blog, talk to people, try to change my thoughts or mood, or ignore my thoughts or mood. I could no longer push the thoughts, feelings, or mood down and become numb.

I know that God is the only reason that I am still alive. God has shown me so much mercy and grace. He has given me the desire to work with individuals who have been trafficked. This passion has helped me continue to seek my degree in psychology. As of June 2016, I will completed all coursework required to get my bachelors.

Being diagnosed with anxiety and depression and now with the help of counseling and medicine, has given me freedom in knowing that things are on the road to a more balanced, happy life.

I allowed the unspoken stigma cultural of saving face is more important than happiness. That if I act, do, and look the right way then I will be happy. Culture focuses on the outward appearance with no worry on the inner workings of an individual. There seems to be a slow change the cultural atmosphere that is helping show that mental health is important.

There have some who still only belief the stigma when think of mental health. I am fighting along meaning people to break the silence and end the stigma of saying mental illness but to day mental health. We are also working raise awareness of the many areas that fall under mental health. We are working to eliminate the barriers that cause many to not seek help and loose hope.

There are still moments where my anxiety and depression take over where I feel trapped but now I am working on coping mechanisms. It is a trial and error thing and I have high hope that one day I will be able to handle those moments so that I can back control of my life.

Those moments now only last a couple of hours where there used to be days, sometimes even weeks where there seemed to be only darkness.

During those days/weeks were where I couldn’t stop myself from thinking I was not seen, worthy, or heard. I couldn’t stop myself from only thinking about what people were doing and thinking I was not thought or that no one wanted me to be around them. it was a vicious cycle.

God has given me the desire of deep community and the intimacy that a group of people has when they live life together. The desire to be a vital part of the church. The desire to reach the ones who come in hoping someone doesn’t comment on their worn shoes or asking where have they been because they don’t want to share that they barely have enough money to cover the necessities or they had to work to pay for their necessities. I want to reach the ones who are walking in hoping that someone greets them the same way they would an old friend. I want to reach the ones have felt or thought any of the feelings or thoughts that I have had when entering.

i want to do this other places than the church. I just know that God has given me a deep desire of the church being a family.

If God had meant for it to be just you and him then why create the church? Why gather at all? Why server together? Wouldn’t we just go and tell about God on own?

I would attempt to apologize to all the people I have hurt with my anxiety and depression mind but I know that there are many in the background or in the chain of communication that have been affected. I am not even sure if I need to apologize.

I do need to say a thank you though.

Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for the ones who I have been open with.
Thank you for praying for me.
Thank you for reaching out. [even if I haven’t come to you]
Thank you.

Have I found my resting place?

My automatic response to when connections seemed to no longer be bounded is to run. I have run from church to church, group to group. Some happened suddenly and some happened slowly over time.

I am tired of changing churches when it seems like I am worthless and a burden. That has unfortunately has happened too many times. I don’t want to say specifically what happened at each church because it doesn’t matter.

I don’t even want to talk about why I have fought to stay put at the church I am at for the majority of the time I have attended. I have been there for a little over two years.

I haven’t gotten the chance to directly experience what the family that is called the church yet. Maybe my expectations of a church family is too much. Not exactly sure where they all came from.

When people talk about the church family, I hear things such as living life together, being there for each other, willingly to walk through the dark and hard times with each other among other cliches that many who have attended church have heard.

I have noticed that people are good at doing those things when it is with the people you know are have known for a while.

I get it. It can be scary to go the unknown. To be willingly to go through things with people you barely know through dark times. It is hard to try support someone who hasn’t experienced direct support.

I don’t know why I have such a desire to be active in a church but it’s there and I have been searching. If that desire wasn’t so strong, I would have left the church the long time ago and would have given up trying to finding one.

I do have an amazing community in RUF.

I know one of my major flaws is that I don’t open up to others when I am currently suffering or in a dark place.

I have tried not saying certain things because I don’t want people to make quick conclusions. I write blogs because I don’t want to be a burden to anyone by sharing what is going on. i choose to share personal things [to an extent] on this blog so that people can choose to hear about my life if they want. I don’t want to force someone to have listen to me.

I don’t want to be a burden.

I know that my mindset isn’t in the place to seek people out. So this is my plea for you to reach out. I know some might think I am seeking attention and if you gave it to me that it wouldn’t help me. [I don’t know] I’m pleading for you to reach out because I am not exactly sure who to trust. Even if you reach out, I might be hesitant to tell you anything. I ask you to keep at it. To be patient. To keep getting in contact with me.

I know that this seems to be putting pressure on people and that I might be upset if you don’t reach out then I will somehow lash out. I am trying to get better at how I handle disappointments. I know I might have accidentally or subconsciously purposely called people out on here without specifically naming the person or group; that is how I coped. Sorry to the people/groups who I have done that to.

I wish I could say I was strong enough for it to just be God and me but God didn’t create us to be alone on earth.

I have gotten so much support from RUF and it has helped a lot.

Unfortunately I am still struggling to go to people in the moments of anxiety and depression but working on it. Please pray for me doing this time.

I know there are others out there that have felt similar. Know that you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out.