In Which I Talk About Emotional Health

In my last post, I talked quite a lot about physical health and how it has been quite the challenge for me. Today, I want to talk about emotional and mental health.

Now, this can sometimes be a touchy subject. Mental illness is treated as much lesser than physical illness, and some even believe that the person is “faking it” or “making it up”. I don’t want to get in that argument right now, but to anyone who may believe that even a little, I give you these images and remind you that the brain is an organ just as much as the heart or the liver, it just gets sick differently than other organs.

(the following image compares a normal brain to a depressed brain, a bipolar brain, a schizophrenic brain and an OCD brain)

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Now that we have that understanding, I’d like to talk about my mental and emotional health. I believe they are closely tied to one another and have a great impact on daily life. In fact, I know this from experience and someone who tries to tell me otherwise is not someone I can trust.

I’m going to be honest and vulnerable here. I had a difficult childhood. My personal circumstances combined with childhood events led to me developing panic and anxiety attacks as well as depression and possibly PTSD. I saw two people die before I turned 16 (and by saw I mean they died in front of me) and I blamed myself for their deaths. I felt that I could have prevented them if only I had acted sooner. I also experienced a series of manipulative friendships that influenced the way I treat myself and my own needs. But, because other events required my immediate attention, I pushed any emotional reaction to the side.

Now, this is not something I recommend to anyone. In fact, I have some serious problems because I have shoved my emotional trauma under the rug for so long. In a manner of speaking, the rug isn’t big enough to hide anything else and what is under there is beginning to come back out.

But my brain didn’t put up with this all of the time. I believe that a big reason I got so sick all the time is because my brain was trying to tell me to slow down long enough to deal with the grief and trouble that I ought to have dealt with as the events happened. In fact, I think a big reason of why my health deteriorated so quickly now is because my brain is fed up with how I’ve treated myself and it’s forcing me to get better.

Although I am getting better, I will no longer pretend that I am okay, that I am normal and that nothing is wrong. I am working every day to improve my situation, but I still have a long ways to go. There are days when just leaving the house is enough to make me panic (although I believe that is for fear that I will eat something that will make me sick, which is a very real fear). Sometimes, being in a crowd is too much for me, because it reminds me of something that happened in my childhood that made it impossible for me to address my needs. I have behaviors and coping methods that are detrimental to my current health that won’t go away on their own. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work like that.

I will no longer ignore the problem in hopes that it gets better. That has only worsened my situation.

But, even with all of this, I am determined. I am going to succeed in life, I am going to become a creator and inspire and help others. This is just another challenge for me to overcome, and I will conquer it.

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