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.

 

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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.

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.

 

Mental health

God is in the business of redemption and restoration.
He patiently works his way through out stubbornness.
He allows us to go though messy situations.
He allows for not so great things to happen.
He allows us to struggle
So that our faith will be strengthened.
So that the world gets to see His glory.
So that we fully rely on Him.

He gives patience.
We squirm like a little child.
We want things instantly.
We want things to go overall smoothly.

We have become entitled
Thinking we deserve a good family.
Wisdom and knowledge to do well in life.
Even thinking we have the right to the bask necessities.
All of these are privileges.

God has given us grace
So that we get the chance to have these things.
We take for granted all that God has allowed us to have.
Especially in first world countries.
The majority have the basic needs:
Shelter, security, clean water, and access to food.
We even get pleasures such as education, clean air, and enjoyable food.

These are not bad things but
Since most of are born with these things
And do not know what is like to go without.
It has caused to strive for more, for better.

Having access to all of these things
Are a way of not seeing the internal struggles.

Mental health has been stigmatized for far too long.
Mental health has been the scapegoat for too many tragedies.
Mental health is not supposed to be bad.
Mental health affects other parts of your body other than your brain.
Mental health is as important as physical health.

Mental health problems are not a result of sin or lack of faith.
Seeking help shows strength and boldness.
God gave knowledge and resources so that
Individuals could help others through struggles.
So that there could advances in medicine
To help with imbalances in the brain
Just like medicine can help kill cancer cells.

 

Breaking the silence

Because of other’s opinions and concerns.

Because I chose to be numb for so many years, I have been afraid of what emotions would come from letting myself process.

Because I am not the best writer.

I share my story because I know my voice matters. My story matters. I matter.

And  because I want others to be brave enough to share their story in any context they choose to do so. I want others to know they have a voice that needs to be used. They have a story that needs to be told. I want others to know they are worthy.

My story may not involve anything dramatic such as abuse, divorce, addiction, or any other thing that people find serious or worthy of being considered hardship in normal society’s eyes.

I had a normal southern childhood. Grew up in church. Grew up in a two parent household. Spent every major holiday with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I even saw my extended family that more than major holidays. I had friends in my neighborhood that I either walked or biked worry free. We left our doors unlocked for many years.

I lived the middle class white family life. None is this is wrong.

These are just some bits of my childhood.  I want to share more just not sure where to start. I am going to try to set up a schedule to write more of my story. In doing so, I hope to get better are knowing what to include and know what’s unnecessary and doesn’t need to be included.

Another reason I want to share some of my story is because I hope to write a book in the future.

 

 

 

Struggling to learn when and how to let go

When entering friendships, I tend to latch onto the ones where there is a connection. It takes a lot for me to walk away. I am usually unhappy for a good while before I choose to inflict anymore hurt onto myself by continuing to put myself in situations with friends.

I struggle with the fear that I will never be able to commit to anyone if I choose to run therefore I stay. I think that is honestly why I am okay with being single. I also fear that I enter an abusive (verbal, emotional, and/or physical) relationship and won’t be able to get myself out.

And there is how I feel about myself most of the time:
-Not worth anyone’s time
-Not worth anyone’s heart
-Not worth sharing my time
-Not worth sharing my heart
-Not worthy
-A burden
-A failure

Truth to the lies that are the cliché Christian answers with reality:
-I am adopted but still have past hurts as well a lot of issues.
-I still have a brick wall up; even between myself and all the stuff I have not dealt with because I cope by distraction and avoidance.
-No matter how much I dislike that the thought, I may need to revaluate the timeline of the next few years
-Sacrificing your possible happiness/feeling complete is not worth this pain or frustration.

I know I am not the only who struggles with these things. My stuff might be different from others but we all struggle with something. Some are more willingly to be open about their struggles while others protect with their life; so let’s be understanding of how each other decides to share. Let’s be open to differences.

I’m struggling. Repeating the cliché crap isn’t helping. It’s actually making it worse.

The worst thing is that sometimes, I’m not in control what happens in my brain or what happens to my emotions.

It happened.

I have wanted this for a long time and now that it is here, fear has entered. I have asked the many what ifs. I have even tried talking myself out of it and I may have succeed this time.

I am talking about a guy. A guy who is interested in going out with me. A guy who has been wanting to for a while.

There are concerns but from what I have seen, there always are.

People have suggested to begin with talking.

You see, I have known this guy for at least a year but we haven’t had the chance to really talk. I unfortunately haven’t seen him as potential partner and probably wouldn’t have if he didn’t approach me. I don’t know much about him nor does he know much about me.

I think the best way to learn is to try, to live, to do. I don’t want fear to get in the way but I don’t want get hurt. I don’t want to go into a situation that I am 85% sure that I will end up hurt and alone.

Why should I think about entertaining the idea of a relationship when I can’t seem to keep a friend in the same zip code longer than a year. I don’t plan sabotage a friendship after months of sharing everything but somehow it happens. Even the friends I have in other parts of United States and other places of the world aren’t strong.

I have a friend whose been my life for 6 and half years. We were tight for the first 8 months and then we weren’t in the same zip code. We live in the same city now and we are pretty tight but it’s different. It is a good different. We are there for each other in all times of life; the good, the bad, the hard, the complicated, the joys.

I don’t know why I claim to not have long lasting friendships. I guess it is because I have never had a friendship that was consistently strong for longer than 6-8 months.

Sorry.
Getting back the subject of dating.

I know I fear long-term commitment. I can do less than year but I don’t want to just date to date. I want to date in the search of a possible husband which is why I am hesitant to consider dating/talking to anyone right now. I should be done with classes this summer and after that, I may not stay in Mobile. I might take an internship in Atlanta, California, or Connecticut or just move away. I am more focused on my education and career than love life.

Having a relationship doesn’t pay bills. I have to pay off student loans. I need to get experience in counseling. I need to get experience in aftercare counseling specifically of victims of sex trafficking.

I am not saying I couldn’t get experience or an internship in Mobile. I know there is the rape call center and Penelope’s house among others.

Advice anyone?

Should I stay single until I figure out my plans post-graduation? What are some reasons why I should give ‘talking’ a try with this guy?