Is It Really That Bad?

Throughout my life, I’ve wondered if I have or will have a mental illness. How would I know?

Whenever I learned of our family history of Depression, I worried about my future. As I noticed others’ outlooks, positivity, and functionality; I thought something might be wrong with my darker views. When a close relative admitted to problems in her adult years and went on medications, I grew more anxious.

I know the darkness of my mind. I’ve felt helpless, depressed, diminished, and unwanted. But I suppose I expected official Depression to hit like a reckless cement truck.

You know: WHAM!

Then, a knowledgeable doctor would pick me up, brush me off, and medicate me so much I couldn’t see straight.

After watching my relatives test medications on themselves like lab rats, I had no desire to voluntarily consider that route. I didn’t want the side effects. I. could. control. this.

What I didn’t realize was that mental illness can be the sort of thing that builds up. Rather, the effects of it can build up. All that time, I kept searching around street corners and avoiding high traffic areas, and it was inside me.

Having birthed a couple of children who already exhibit signs of mental issues, I know these issues can be present from the get-go. I’ve talked to people like that as well.

However, as with all the lovely writers on here, I write from my experience. I live in my body and think with this brain, but still feel a bit lost. So, how would I know about you?

I don’t. You know about you.

Which leads me back to my initial question: how would I know if I had a mental illness? Specifically, did I have to treat it? Specifically, would I have to take medicine, get fat, and lost my limited libido and thinking capacity?

This is where everyone on here keeps hammering this point home: SEE A THERAPIST. Or a counselor, doctor who knows what s/he’s doing, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.

Don’t have one? Ask around. Seriously -everyone knows one. Go meet with the person and see if s/he is a good fit. Try another one if not.

Worried that you’ll stress the therapist out? Dude; they’re paid to listen to people like us.

I have been seeing a counselor for marital issues. I guess I just can’t have one problem; but, I think a lot of people are in that boat. It may be a cruise liner.

Anyway -during a session, I brought up the fact that I was concerned about the way I behaved each month. You know: women cycling stuff. For the sake of anyone who might relate; I had an extremely depressive day, an irrational thoughts day, one wherein I couldn’t find everything, a few days of skin breakouts, one where I had no tact, and a few hours of manic energy just before starting.

The counselor listened to my description, then joked a bit about how I may feel depressive and irrational, but I wouldn’t do -and she finished with a random, hypothetical situation. I believe it involved whether I’d actually hurt someone in my family.

“Well,” I admitted, “I think I would.”

Remember, she’s paid to listen. Still, I was worried about her responses. Child Protective Services, perhaps?

Very seriously, she said, “It sounds like you need medical help.”

Since we’re being completely candid, I will tell you that no heavens opened for me. No relief came pouring in. Instead, I began sobbing. My worst fears were confirmed: I was mental. I was abnormal. I would have to take medicine.

My counselor seemed dumbfounded at my response, and expressed her confusion. Through tears, I explained that I didn’t want to go on heavy medications and have all the side effects, and I’m sure I rambled even more than I am doing right here to you.

She reassured me that all was not apocalyptic. She knew someone, a doctor who tested hormone levels. She thought I should start there.

I intend to write more about this in another post, but also do not intend to leave you with a cliff-hanger.

So, I’ll tell you that it’s been working so far; “working” being a description for “not thinking irrationally” and “being able to have a different perspective” and “looking back at my old behaviors like a detached anthropologist.”

As James E. Skye himself, and many other contributors, have noted; there’s no cure. However, just the ABILITY TO FUNCTION at a level much nearer that of ten years ago is worth it.

Stop wondering. Go find a talk-doctor; a paid friend. It’s worth it.

YOU’RE worth it.

Photo 1 Credit: Mike Wilson on Unsplash.
Photo 2 Credit: on Unsplash.
Photo 3 Credit: Dylan Hooper on Unsplash.

(My writing site, in case you’re interested.)





21 thoughts on “Is It Really That Bad?

  1. I can’t wait to hear about the hormone testing. I’ve been so sure for so long that they are my issue too. It would be so good if that was a solution for you. (I love the no tact day!) Looking forward to next instalment. ☀️☀️

    Liked by 2 people

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