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.

 

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.

Fully trusting God’s plans

A door opened for me to move to Dearborn, MI. A door into many uncertainties but God has confirmed that this door has been clearly open by him. I am not much of a planner and have the soul of a free spirit. Now, that doesn’t mean I am just going on a whim and not trying to plan as much as possible.

God hasn’t given me a picture of why He wants me there but I learned a long time ago to just say yes when you feel God calling you to do something or go somewhere. God has always blessed me in the times o f obedience.

I will be staying with a World Race alumni that I have not officially met but World Race alumni are family. Megan Czerwinski has a dream to start a non-profit to work with teens who have been abused or dealt with addictions and use art therapy as part of the healing process. I love the idea of art therapy and even consider it as career before God called me to go on the World Race. I don’t know if I will be able to part of the non-profit but that was the first sign that I felt God give me about this being an open door.

The second sign I believe God gave me was the prices of the megabus to Atlanta and a flight to Detroit. I researched prices for megabus, greyhound, amtrak, and flights. Sometime last week when I checked last week, a flight to Detroit on August 17th was $89 pre-tax. I checked today and it is now down to $49! Praise God because I was expecting the flight to be over $200/300. The cost of the megabus is $10 right now.

IMG_1672

I only screenshot the price for Monday, August 15th but the cost is $5 for every Monday of the month of August.

IMG_1671As you see above, flights are $49 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I applied for a seasonal job at OfficeMax in Mobile so I might be leaving later in August that the 15th. I am going to call tomorrow to figure out the details. I will update this blog as needed. I might post a blog of updates. Not sure right now.

I have been looking at LinkedIn at possible jobs in Dearborn and in Detroit which is about 15 minutes from Dearborn. The city transportation options seem better than Mobile’s so that is a plus and will help a lot with expanding options for jobs. I applied for an admitting position in a hospital in Detroit last week so hopefully timing will work out.

I plan to get involved in ministries that reach out to those who are,  have been, or vulnerable to getting trapped in the system of human trafficking. Yes, it happens in the US if you somehow have been living under rock. It might not be in a sweat shop or in front of bars. I want to also reach the men who pay for services of the people are trapped in the human trafficking. I also want to reach out to the bar owners and the ones who own/are in control of those trapped in human trafficking.

There is a big Arabic/Muslim population that I would like to get involved in a ministry to ministers to that community once I get settled in and know roughly what my work schedule will be like.

There are many uncertainties as you can tell but I know God does not open a door without provision. I am not saying I am expecting for God to provide me with a flow of finances. Although I do believe that if I am being faithful in saying yes to where He is calling me that everything I need will be provided. Yes, I may only eat roman noodles for a while and work somewhere that will not help give me experience for doing something in the mental health field but I will not go a day in lack.

Fund the nations designed a shirt for me to sell to help me get to Michigan as well pay living expenses until my first paycheck. The money I will get from (hopefully) OfficeMax will go towards finances that I still have in Mobile.

Here is what the shirts look like:

Elizabeth Nettleton Shirt 2

The cost is $20 and offered in sizes XS-3X. They said they run a little snug so if you can’t decide on a size, order the larger size. I will need money before I order the shirts so I have set up a venmo account.

The verse below the Adventures Await is Isaiah 55:8-9:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the Lord. “As in heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Please keep me in your prayers through this whole process. I am the kind of person does well living in the here and now so I am excited to see what God is going to do in Michigan and in me in the coming years but it hasn’t hit me that I’m leaving Mobile in a little more over a month from now. I don’t think it’ll hit me into I’m in Michigan and been there for more than a week.

Also, my lease is up at the end of this month and there is already someone that is moving into my room in August. So please be in prayer about me finding a place to stay until I leave Mobile. Anyone have a room/couch that I could sleep in/on for a couple of weeks in August?

Do you have a hard time saying yes or fully trusting God when there are uncertainties? Are you willing to move somewhere you never thought you would on the feeling that God clearly opened a door for you there?

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.

 

Story of rediscovering my issues with speaking

I overheard a conversation that was something about a child who decided to not talk as often because other kids couldn’t understand him. A comment was made about how lonely the child must feel.

I can relate to the child because I became that person in most situations. Only my tiny circle of friends knew how much I liked to talk.

Unfortunately growing up, I couldn’t grasp the concepts my speech-language pathologist  was trying to teach me. Or it might have been that the techniques I was trying to learn wasn’t the right ones. Plus, I am very stubborn and I probably didn’t want to learn a new way of talking.

I still struggle with annunciation, opening my mouth wider when talking, and slowing down.

It has been suggested by two people that are in separate parts of my life to think about see a speech language pathologist. They’re both worried about job interviews and work environments. I don’t know if I will actually try to find one to see.

I saw the speech language pathologist during my preschool years up to around 6th grade. It didn’t look like I was improving so I decided to stop.

So I just looked up different speech disorders which is something I have never done. Not sure why I haven’t. Probably because I made peace with having a speech impediment.

I watched a youtube video of a girl who has apraxia and she sounded similar to me.

I am not claiming that I have apraxia over myself but it does help with trying to figure out I should go see a speech language pathologist.

Apraxia is a motor speech disorder. The messages from the brain to the mouth are disrupted, and the person cannot move his or her lips or tongue to the right place to say sounds correctly, even though the muscles are not weak. (http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ApraxiaAdults/ )

Learning about apraxia has stirred up emotions such as relief because I somehow never thought of not being able to speak well could be caused by a malfunction in my brain. I used to say I had a speech impediment but as some point I stopped. Not saying I am going to starting using the term again. I blamed people not understanding me because I knew I talk really fast, quietly, and do not annunciate well.

I have known I need speak slowly and more clearly. In situations where I am nervous or excited, I have hard time making myself slow down and try to be more clear.

I remember quite a few time during my freshman year of high school (years before and after as well but freshman year is the most clearest), many times people chose to laugh instead of asking for clarification or for me slow down.

My issues with speaking has affected me seeking help for my anxiety and depression. I hadn’t realized that until today. They may not have a major affect but they were part of why I took so long to seek help.

 

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.

 

 

 

What I need to hear and what you might need to hear

You are enough.

You are not your mistakes.

You are not defined by your mistakes or your past.

You are loved.

It is okay to not have it all together.

Talking helps.

People care about you and love you.

People will meet you in your mess.

People will celebrate your successes.

You are not a burden.

Your feelings are valid.

It is okay to fail as long as you continue to try and/or willing to try a new way or new things.

You will get there.

It is okay to walk away from unhealthy situations and relationships.