Stamp out Stigma 

Stamp Out Stigma

Mental  illness effects 22 million Americans. Most people want to sweep the issue under a rug as if it doesn’t exist. Some mental health issues stem from abuse; in my case sexual abuse from, age 9-12. As result of the abuse, I suffered from depression, low self -worth, and bipolar disorder.

As I entered high school, thoughts of suicide began to take place as well as low self- esteem. This led to my getting pregnant at a young age and becoming a teen parent. As I went into young adulthood, the episodes of bipolar disorder began. I started to experience low lows and high highs. While depressed I would stay in bed, become angry, and isolate myself from others. My manic episodes felt wonderful. I had increased energy, felt on top of the world, and could do many things at once.

I struggled with not wanting to take medicine. My family didn’t understand what was wrong with me. My mother placed me into hospitals, had me talk to counselors, and started me on medications. I would feel better and stop taking the medicine and visiting my therapist. As I entered my twenties, I was married and was an unstable wife and mother. Things would be going fine and I would become severely depressed leaving my husband to care for the children. My ex- husband didn’t understand and we began to argue and physically fight. Our children became voyeurs to our dysfunction and this created a dangerous environment. After eight years, my husband left me.

I am now in my early thirties. I have been through suicide attempts. I have been married, divorced, remarried, and I am the mother of three children. I have written a book regarding my struggles with mental illness, teen pregnancy, abuse, and how I deal with things today. The book talks about my spiritual deliverance; letting go of the past and releasing my mind to the will of God. I am now on medication that works for me. Just like a diabetic or an asthmatic, I have to make sure I stay on top of it. I see a therapist as does my immediate family. I pay attention to my body and my mind. I am not perfect and I still deal with depression, but every day I am on defense to fight this thing. I wish more people knew how important our mental health is, and how this can affect us.

For me the stigma kept me in secrecy. I even  lied to my second husband and kept secrets from my closest friends. I am now managing with meds, yoga, eating healthy, support groups and therapy. I am stamping the hell out of stigma. I spoke to legislators in Austin, TX and will continue my campaign in Wasghington D.C.

 

Cranes in the Sky

I’ve had weeks to listen to Solange’s new album A Seat at the Table. Cranes in the Sky is one of my favorites. It puts into words and melody what it feels like to be depressed. You see I have dealt with depression since age 14 due to sexual abuse at age 9, and continue to deal with it as an adult due to low self worth, guilt, and shame. The lyrics to the song could be my soundtrack.

As the song states I try to drink it away. I started drinking at age 16 but didn’t start drinking on a regular basis as a way to medicate until I was around 23 and was going through a divorce. I would drink at night to sleep and go to the local BW3’s after work each night. I began smoking weed at around 15 and use it to calm down my anxiety. I never got into a full weedhead as a teen because I was pregnant from age 16 until 20; having 3 children. I started smoking again during my marriage when I would become depressed and also smoked off and on with my husband and his friends. No matter how calm the marijuana made me feel, I would always come back to the feeling of emptiness, hopelessness, loneliness.

On the weekends my girls and I would go shopping. Sometimes I would take the money that was meant for bills and I would spend it on dresses. We would go out and I would wear those dresses to the club. Even when I was married I would often get attention from other guys and take their affection, but it was never enough…There was always something missing.

At one point I was working two jobs, I worked during the day at a restaurant and at night I worked in a fast paced, high energy environment. I tried to stay busy working to keep my mind off of the lowered feelings I had for myself. I tried to create distractions from the empty darkness I felt daily. Then at that second job I meet a man named Robert.

I was still married to my children’s dad but was seeing Robert also. I would even spend the night at Robert’s and trample back home in the morning like nothing happened. Robert treated me like I was the most beautiful girl on earth. He always told me how sexy I was. But only when we were in the bed. When I saw him at work he treated me just like he treated all the other chicks. I found out later he was sleeping with at least two of my coworkers. That meant I was sleeping with them too.

On one of my most depressed days I came home and grabbed the utility scissors and cut off all of my hair. I looked like a boy named Billy. The cut was raggedy and didn’t have any form to it. It made me feel free and I was good for a minute, but pretty soon I was in the hospital and more broken than ever.

I moved so many times but realized that no matter where I lived; I was still taking ME with ME! Atlanta, Evansville, Columbus, Dallas, no matter where I move, here I am. Eventually the sun would go down, the rain would began and I would be sad all over again.

I did anything to not have to face the depression. Like Cranes in the Sky I don’t wanna feel those metal clouds. For years I ran from my reality. I tried to take my life; sleep my life away. But one day I found someone who saw how valuable I was. I also began to see how valuable I was to God, the father.

I started attending a Healing Church called Healing Streams Word & Worship Center. What a coincidence. I started taking care of my body. I began walking and working out. I started doing yoga and unlike Solange running and riding my bike actually helped me. I started working on my mind. I started by changing my thinking. That’s the first part of recovery. I began support groups and self care classes. The dizziness I felt and the high strung energy began to dissipate.

I was in an intensive outpatient group that taught me how to deal with depression. It showed me what happens within mind and body and how to control things. Spiritually I am learning how to replace the shame and guilt with love and purpose. It’s very hard. It’s hard to unlearn something you have lived with forever. I am learning God’s plan for my life. I am volunteering and helping others who had my same story. It’s still very hard. It hurts it does feel like metal cutting through you, it’s a dark hole that seems to have no end. But I won’t give up.

I’m sorry I didn’t edit this or anything. I just don’t have the clarity to proof it. The end.

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Feelin’s Ain’t Facts!

No feeling is final and feelings are not facts. Our feelings may not be able to be controlled but our thoughts, and impulses can be controlled. You may be feel hurt by someone but their intention wasn’t to hurt u at all. We can control our response to those hurts. We may FEEL that danger is present when that is not the case. Challenge your thoughts and feelings. Make sure they are rational. 
#mentalhealthawarenessweek  

People Can Change 

People can change! You can change your life by making better choices, having the WILL to change. You can change your thinking from negative to positive, be resilient. You can refocus and restart your life. In recovery you are literally REcovering from the way u use to do things, or past pains or hurts. A crackhead is NOT always a crackhead, a whore is NOT always a whore, a depressed person doesn’t have to live that way. Do we want to change? Do we have the will? #mentalhealthawarenessweek #thisaintwatihearditswhatiknow