April 9, 2024
iStock 1293332984

I realized my mental health was on a steep decline when I was nine years old. I identified with walking around with a gray cloud over my head and it poured a lot.

I fought with fractured thoughts and saw no way out of it. Trauma from the past. Grief of a loved one. Your childhood conditioning. Bullying. And being emotionally suppressed, withholding everything inside for way too long, and not having any validation for your feelings as a child. I suffered in silence. Overwhelming feelings in your chest and thoughts in your head.  My head was a battleground for everything negative and positive I said to myself.  When you are mentally unwell, you try to talk to people and feel misunderstood by what you are feeling.  I had no coping skills to cope.

My symptoms were mood swings, sweating, hands shaking, restlessness, no motivation to do anything, overthinking, insomnia, and not being able to focus. Before my diagnosis, I felt hopeless. Too ashamed that my diagnosis would lead to having society label me or people not wanting to be around me. My diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder and General Anxiety Disorder when I was 37 years old.

I am more than my mental illness. I am relieved that I got my diagnosis. I never thought that before. That I can live with my mental illness and learn more about myself. I believe that I am my own best advocate. I have surrounded myself with a psychiatrist, my doctor, and my counselor who all help me. I have the quality of life now that I didn’t before. I had to fight hard to be positive instead of negative all the time. And that is something that comes from the counseling I have received over many years. The right medication. Right people to help you fight.Trust me it takes time but so worth it. Honestly, you will feel so much better.

You have to fight for every bit of it. I have done some volunteering over the years. I am part of a few community-based organizations that I go to help me feel connected to the community. I’m also a part of the Schizophrenia Society’s Partnership Program for a year and a half to help end the stigma of mental illness and speak in schools and community-based organizations. There is always hope in the darkness. Please keep fighting. You are not alone.

– Naomi Z