Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

In case you haven’t noticed, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I was wondering if I should post anything about it since I already have some posts about mental health and self care. But I didn’t have anything too personal so this is what this post will be about. My personal struggle with mental health…

So let’s start with how as a child, I was always vey anxious. Very, very anxious. My parents never thought much of it they just always reminded me to “calm down” (insert eye roll) This started maybe in Pre-K and lasted until… well forever. Then sometime during my High school career, I started to feel depressed. And that also lasted until forever.

I graduated HS, dropped almost all of my friends and went to college. During freshman orientation, they had us take a survey and now that I think about it, it was in poor taste… They asked questions like:

 “Do you find it hard to trust authority figures?” I’m black why would I trust them??? ( btw their campus safety team were full of racists and didn’t know how to talk to people sooooooooo)

“Do you trust teachers?” No I do not. (btw that school had terrible teachers who hated their jobs and they were racist soooooo)

“Do you get sad?” ….duh?

“Do you get nervous?” ….obviously

By the time I finished the survey, they told me that I should visit the counseling center. I was like wow all this because of a survey that asked you to check “agree” or “disagree.”

But I guess back then I was like whatever and I made an appointment to see a counselor.  I saw her once a week every week for like a year. Did talking to her help? Not really. There was a disconnect. I was just never comfortable with her. I felt like she cared but something was just off. I dreaded going every week. But I went. After a few sessions, she diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, and Depression. (Also Insomnia but who needs an actual diagnosis for that??)

As the first semester comes to an end, I start to feel hopeless, angry, overwhelmed, and done. That was the day I made plans to take my own life.  I know there’s no easy way to talk about that so I’m just going to keep it short. It was actually really scary for me. I felt like I was in a trance. I felt alone. I didn’t get to make such a drastic decision because my boyfriend at the time came in and noticed what was happening. When I snapped out of my trance, I had scratches all over my hands and arms. My eyes were swollen and red, my room was a mess (I guess I destroyed it during my trance.) My friends were scared and crying. I made a huge mess of things.

The next day, i took a final, and the following day I went home for winter break. I came back to the counseling center and told my counselor what happened and she made me an appointment to see the psychiatrist. I was prescribed Lexapro and that was terrible. The first day I took it, i fell asleep, woke up because my heart was beating so fast. I sat up, felt dizzy, jumped out of bed and vomited all over the floor. Now imagine me scooping up throw up out of carpet with a plastic spoon. I was on Lexapro for at least 4 months. 4 months of me feeling sick. So I stopped. I was also prescribed Ambien for my insomnia. Did it help me sleep? No. But it did turn my brain off… and there’s a lot of silly stories and screenshots of me trying to text my friends because of that. I was taking Ambien on and off for like 2 years.

Next on my mental health timeline comes in during my sophomore year of college… or what was supposed to be my sophomore year. I moved in, went to maybe 4 classes and stopped going. I dropped classes, switched classes but nothing felt right. I knew I didn’t belong there. There was nothing there for me except one friend and a toxic relationship that was disguised as healthy and happy. I had the feeling like it was not my semester. No one was understanding me. I was feeling alone again. I was feeling overwhelmed and hopeless again. That scared me. So I dropped out 5 weeks into the semester. I went home and fell into the deepest of depressions. I was taking my Ambien during the day. I was sleeping, I wasn’t eating. I didn’t even leave my room. I want to tell you how long it lasted but a lot of it is a blur. I can’t remember anything.  I do know that by the time that Fall semester was over, I was enrolled at a new school for the Spring semester. I got back on track and I made new friends. But this didn’t solve my mental health puzzle.

I went to the counseling center at my new school. I saw a new counselor once a week every week for about 3 years. I also saw the psychiatrist. I was put on Zoloft and Wellbutrin. Eventually it was just Wellbutrin.

At some point I was doing really really well. And then something weird happened. My family somehow scraped up money for me to live on campus for a semester. So I lived with a stranger for the first time in my life. She wasn’t terrible but like she could’ve been better… But as I tried adjusting to living with her, she made comments about me being “OCD” I didn’t think of her as the most politically correct person so I shrugged it off. But then my best friend started noticing it too. After pointing it out several times, I started to realize that there was a huge shift in my routines. Everything I did became a little obsessive. Maybe more than a little but again that’s a blur too. I couldn’t sleep unless everything on my desk was squared off, my shoes were in the shoes section of my room, my clock was facing my head, my phone had to be charged before I slept. I had to clean everything with clorox. My room smelled like clorox for a really long time. I spoke to my counselor at this school and she asked me to try to fight it. I said okay and never tried. But after I moved out and went home I was back to the normal me.

I adjusted very quickly to going back to being a commuter. It was no big deal. It does affect my sleep, my energy, my social life, and sometimes my grades but what can you do? But let me get to how counseling/therapy is accessible to everyone. So I saw the same counselor off and on for about 3 years. I started dreading our time together. I felt like she didn’t really listen to me and she didn’t take me seriously. I felt that way with psychiatrist as well. Neither of them bothered to learn my name either. I was always called “Tanya” but I don’t know that hoe. Because MY name is Taina (tie-ee-nah.) Anyways, I stopped taking my medication and I stopped going to see a counselor. Call it self-sabotage if you’d like. But I can’t deal with people who are supposed to help and they just don’t care. I remember a few months ago going there feeling suicidal again because they always say come in even if you don’t have an appointment if you’re feeling down. So I did that and a week later, I saw my psychiatrist and she looked me in the face and said “I heard about your little meltdown.” I’m still trying to figure out if they treat the white kids the same way… I doubt it though.

So what I’m trying to say is help isn’t always accessible. Whether it be the fact there’s a large supply of terrible professionals available, or help is out of your price range, or just not enough time in your day… please talk to someone. Keeping things bottled up can’t be good for you. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, anyone. If they try to invalidate your feelings try someone new. Write about your feelings, sing them, dance them away. Just help yourself the best you can.

I feel like I’ve had you guys here long enough. So I’ll leave this here. But talk to me, let me know your mental health timeline. I’m listening!

 

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Self Care Part 3: Movies

This is my last installment of my Self Care posts! Today let’s talk about movies. What do you guys watch when you’re down? (let me know below)

I usually watch sad movies when I’m down so I can be sad and let it all out by the time my movie is over. My go to sad movie (also my favorite movie) is Girl. Interrupted. This movie is about Susanna Kaysen. Susanna, was admitted into a psych hospital. She meets many people and she gets some help. Here’s the trailer:

 

This song plays in themovie and it gets me every time!

 

If I’m not feeling up for a sad movie and I’m looking for just something familiar, I have a few choices…

Beetlejuice  is about a couple that dies and haunts their old home

My favorite scene is :

I’m a big kid at heart so why wouldn’t I watch Rugrats in Paris while I’m down? It’s just such a great combination of adorable and funny

Another movie I would watch is the Jimmy Neutron movie! We all know that when we were younger we’d watch this movie and wished our parents got abducted by aliens!

And Finally! The Lilo and Stitch Movie! You’re lying if you never quoted “Ohana means family”

Self Care Part 3: TV shows

As promised, here is a list of Tv shows and movies to watch when your mood is low:

TV shows

Impractical Jokers is a show about 4 friends doing ridiculous “dares”

 

 

The Carbonaro Effect is a hidden camera magic show!

 

Roseanne is about a family and they get into some wild topics

 

Rugrats is everyone’s favorite old cartoon!

 

Steven Universe is the cutest cartoon ever I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t love it!

Self Care Part 2: Depression Playlist

To beat the negative mood, dancing around helps so much! So play this and dance around

 

  1. Kickin’ Back by Mila J
Mila J
Mila J

Just milly rock all that bad energy out.

2. You’re So Beautiful by The Empire Cast

Empire Cast
Empire Cast

I know we all love Empire! Now you can’t tell me this isn’t an upbeat song.

3.  Needed Me by Rihanna

Rihanna
Rihanna

I love dancing around to this! Just pretend you’re performing this to someone who needed you

4. Satisfaction Guaranteed by Junglepussy

Junglepussy
Junglepussy

This is just so upbeat and I rap along at the top of my lungs.

5. Fallin’ Off by Full Crate

This is a remix of Pony by Ginuwine. You can catch me shimmying to this every time it plays.

6. Oui by Jeremih

Jeremih
Jeremih

This song plays and I can’t keep still!

Self Care Part 2: Anxiety Playlist

*I’ve decided to make part 2 less overwhelming by just doing music suggestions. Part 3 will be about TV and movies!

We’re going to continue the conversation about self care. I think it’s great to use music as a weapon to fight negative feelings. Of course you should talk things out and take active steps to improving your mood, but sometimes you just need a quick pick me up playlist. So there’s three kinds of things I’m looking for when it comes to my feel good playlist. If I’m feeling depressed, I’m looking for upbeat songs. If I’m feeling very anxious, I’m looking for mellow songs. And if I’m trying to fall asleep, I’m looking for mellow songs with little to no vocals.

Anxiety playlist

  1. All I Need by Noname
Noname
Noname

Noname’s voice is just so smooth and so calm. Her music always sounds so soothing. There’s no way you can listen to her and not love her.

 

2. Try by Courtnie

Courtnie
King Courtnie Instagram

I just found this song a few days ago and it’s just perfect. I love this!

2. Healer by Mick Jenkins Ft. Noname

Mick Jenkins
Mick Jenkins

This song can be played repeatedly and not get old. You can just get lost in it.

4. TwoAM by SZA

SZA
SZA

You probably know this is a cover for PARTYNEXTDOOR’s Come and See Me. This is always going to keep me calm.

5. Water Me by FKA twigs

FKA twigs
FKA twigs

 

6. Lost by Chance the Rapper Ft. Noname

Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper

All I have to say is listen to it and fall in love.

 

 

Self Care Days Part 1

Self Care Notes
Self Care Notes

I learned that I had Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2012. It’s been a challenge to keep myself feeling great. I was doing a combination of therapy sessions, and SSRI’s and sedatives. Session, SSRI, Sedative. Session, SSR, Sedative. It got really tedious. And I almost always fall off the wagon. I am currently off the wagon and in some dirt as I type this. I just like winging things I guess. It feels kinda reckless…

But I always know when to climb back into the wagon because mental health is very important. And I will admit that sometimes it just feels pointless. Sometimes you have to take time to stop and take care of yourself. If you’re not feeling good mentally, you have to take steps to make yourself feel better.  I feel like you have to take a self care day and get everything together. Gather your life and feelings, lay them out, and engage in some fun stuff, while catching up on work.

When I have a self care day, there’s a lot of steps I take. First, I start with hygiene. Everyone who has depression knows staying in bed and not leaving except to use the bathroom is the way to go. But if you’re already in the bathroom, take a quick shower and brush your teeth.

Then I like to make sure I eat something. Even if it is 6pm and all I had was air so far, a meal is very useful. Pasta is my go to meal. It takes less than 20 minutes to cook, and you have variety. It is also very filling.

 

Roseanne
Roseanna cast

Okay you washed up and ate … what’s next? Check to see if your favorite show is on. And pick a show that will make you laugh. My favorite show to watch when I’m feeling down is Roseanne(They play the episodes on Logo). There’s not much drama and there’s so many funny moments and I’ve seen all of the episodes so if my mind wanders, I still know what’s going on. But if you just want to laugh so hard you’ll cry, watch Impractical Jokers. (Trutv)

Impractical Jokers
Impractical Jokers Cast

 

If there isn’t good shows on, Listen to your favorite music. Your favorite music will lift your spirits so fast. My first choice song is Dance On Me by Goldlink. It has me dancing as soon as it starts.  Anything that’ll get you moving or singing a long is great. I like to pretend I’m performing Caretaker by D.R.A.M ft. SZA when no one is looking.

Finally, you have to make sure you got any homework/work that’s been sitting in your to-do list, start them. The more that you have on your to-do list, the more stressed you’ll be. Start something and make plans to finish it. It might be a lot but you can definitely do it. And as a side note, If you’ve been isolating yourself, maybe text your friends. If you ghosted them, try to let them know that you’re alive.

**Part 2 will be up soon, and it’ll be a list of great tv shows/movies and music to consume while you’re down!!