I’m Mentally Ill

On April 14, 2015, I was reeling after a week of severe psychological episodes that included a trip to the Emergency Room. I was referred to a group day program that I walked out of because it was not what I needed. An awkward visit to a very clinical psychiatrist began my medication journey – I walked out of Rite Aid with two new prescriptions and new additions to my medical chart. I could no longer take care of myself  without medication to help treat severe trauma and depression triggered by recent events. I had officially become mentally ill.  I walked home shaking my pill bottles like maracas and finally felt there was help for me, then wrote these thoughts:

I know what it’s like to call out and have no one truly hear me
For the pain flooding my brain
I know the brokenness of a body grieving
The flashbacks of a mind recalling trauma
I also know what it’s like to finally be heard
And the help that comes
Sometimes too late
And never too soon
And the final, often fleeting, feeling of safety

One year later I am finally with a psychiatrist I trust, who provides what I need: one-on-one counseling in addition to superb medication management.

I have Severe Major Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I do not bow to stigma and I am not ashamed. There is no doubt in my mind that I need medication to help me process trauma and grief on a level playing field with my brain. I am not suicidal and never have been, but one doesn’t need to be suicidal to get help.

I owe a lot to my loved ones and friends who have been with me during the last, very rough, year and a half that began this journey to my diagnoses. Especially to those who have been a physical presence; who have made appointments for me and kept me fed, showered, held, and loved. There are many more from afar who have checked in daily and made sure I’m still going. They all deserve every thanks I can give and more.

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I am on a lifelong journey towards being mentally whole again, knowing what I’m battling, and having help.

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One thought on “I’m Mentally Ill”

  1. Great blog, Charis. Just recently found them through LinkedIn which I don’t visit often. As the father of a mani-depressive son, I applaud your courage in writing this and in dealing with your illness. I also admire the manner in which you are persevering with A/S.

    Like

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