Meds and Coping

Hello 🙂

Everyone can relate to life getting busy/stressful and getting in the way of things. You set goals to start working out, eat healthier, drink more water, have a set sleep schedule etc., however one little thing can derail those plans.

For me, whenever I say I want to workout more and eat healthier, the school semester comes along and bulldozes over those plans. Instead I’m sitting at my desk studying all day and shovelling piles of greasy food into my mouth. And then I feel guilty and fall back into even worse habits.

One thing my therapist taught me, is that just because you fall back onto a coping mechanism sometimes, doesn’t mean that it’s all bad. For me, during school as soon as I start eating unhealthy, I can’t stop because one I don’t have a lot of time to cook. But two, because it feels like a sort of self punishment for not being able to be healthier like I wanted.

One misstep and my brain wants to self sabotage all the way.

What I’ve been trying to learn is that I’m not going to suddenly stop doing all of my unhealthy coping mechanisms at once. As long as I continue to not self harm, one day of stress eating, one day of laying in bed, one day of hiding from the world doesn’t mean I deserve to keep being miserable.

It just means that I needed a day to regroup. To remind myself of everything I am and can accomplish. To remind myself that not everyone is perfect and okay all the time. Just because you have a set back doesn’t meant you can’t come back from it stronger than before.

Another big thing I realized was that my SSRIs became one of my worst coping mechanisms. It became a crutch I was way too dependent on. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but this what happened to me.

When I first started using the SSRIs, I loved them. I loved that I stopped getting anxiety attacks and that I could actually function. I didn’t even realize that although I was functioning, everything was numb. I was so glad to not have panic attacks that I ignored how dull everything seemed.

I remember looking back now, how my closest friends would comment or ask about why I was so much quieter now. Or how I didn’t seem as happy all the time or bubbly. I brushed them off and claimed I was fine.

And I guess in a sense I was fine. Not horrible. Not great. Just fine. Existing and feeling emotions on a much lower scale.

It’s only when I started forgetting (on accident at first) to take my pills sometimes. At one point I was working 2 jobs, 60 hours a week ontop of school. I was running myself into the group because I didn’t want to be home. It was during this time I forgot to take my pills, once for up to a week.

It was during this week (after wondering why I was suddenly crying at everything again, happy or sad) that I realized that my meds really just mellowed me out. I didn’t feel my emotions as strongly as I used to. And some people may like that, but I don’t. I was upset that I wasn’t experiencing things on the same level as I used to.

And then o realized that no matter when I went off my meds, I would have to start learning how to healthily deal with my anxiety and panic attacks again. Because of that I decided to stop taking my meds when I left (although that was one of the few things I packed).

So I stopped taking my meds (I recommend talking to your doctor first. I was just in the midst of a breakdown. I eventually consulted him and my therapist) and honestly feel great about the decision.

Im not going to lie. The first two months, I had some pretty bad panic attacks again. However, I feel like im slowly starting to know how to deal with them and even stop them from happening by preventing situations, or working through them if they can’t be stopped.

It takes a lot of work, and I find myself falling back into bad habits more often that I’d like to admit. But I also have to give myself credit. I never would’ve thought that I would still be here or still be in school. And for that I am proud of myself.

Love,

Your mental health Mathie ❤

Breakdown

Oops disappeared again. Quite literally this time in my real life as well. Although I was having an actual breakdown again. I thought I was done with those but I guess not.

Since the pandemic, I moved back home with my parents and did school online. Over the last 6 months I’ve just been feeling so suffocated and like I couldn’t be truly me and happy in that household. I ignored it because that is how it has been for years.

However, one night it all came to a head and I decided enough was enough. Now I’m not claiming this was smart because I hurt a lot of people including myself in the process. But I packed a bag one morning and left without explanation. I really just wanted to get away from everyone and everything.

Of course, that isn’t really possible with technology connecting everyone. I know that this was also probably one of the worst ways to go about expressing my feelings but I had had enough. Eventually I came back, about a month later (late july) and things have been progressing slowly ever since.

I don’t think anyone really understands why I left. Although my family acknowledged my mental health suffering, they picked a lot of fights with me after about how I live my life. And how they disapproved of a lot of my decisions. This clearly is not helpful for anyone going through a rough time.

Now I’m back in school, finishing up my last year while going to therapy again to figure out my brain. The biggest problem is lack of open communication between my family and I. They love to completely ignore things that have happened. To sweep it under the rug, say “the past is in the past” and never really talk about what the issue was in the first place.

This is absolutely not a healthy way to deal with anything which I am coming to realize the hard way. However, I also know you can’t make people talk about and deal with things if they don’t want to. So the best I can do right now is deal with the traumas and experiences I need to, and make decisions based on what I want, not the pressures and expectations of others.

As someone once said, living for others in turn makes you miserable.

With love,

Your mental health Mathie ❤

Family and Forgiveness

Hi :)!

Okay so inspiration struck so this post is happening sooner than I expected lol.

Where I’m living we are currently in our third wave of COVID-19 and therefore our third lockdown. So life hasn’t changed a lot in the sense that I am still living with my parents and sister.

Everyone’s experience during lockdown has been different but for me it has not been that bad. My sister and I were close before lockdown and if anything it has only made us closer. However I do think that lockdown has provided the situation for me to connect with my parents more deeply. Of course even though living under their rules after having been moved out for school for 3 years is hard and we have had our fair share of fights, we have definitely grown closer over all.

My parents are good people at heart and sometimes because of my anger and rash decisions, I forget that they just want what is best for me. There is no doubt in my mind my parents love my sister and I more than anything. However, when they are unreasonably overprotective or don’t understand our mental health struggles, it feels like they don’t give a damn about us and just want to control us.

Living in such close proximity to them and sometimes going weeks with only seeing them and no one else in person has really given us the time to have conversations we might not have had otherwise. I’ve learned a lot about my parents’ past and have had a lot of time to reflect on how they became the people they are and why they are the way they are.

I think it’s these things that young adults and teenagers need to think about and realize when we get mad at our parents. Yes we all have valid reasons to be angry and upset, but in my opinion we have to consider how our parents grew up. They were raised in a different generation and if you look at the world then and now, we have radically changed.

Now I’m not trying to say every parents wrongdoings are forgivable (for example situations involving racism/discrimination which I consider basic human respect). But in my case(mental health and being controlling), my parents showed progress (over several years) and have always showed me unconditional love. To me that is enough for me to forgive them for their past mistakes on how they handled raising me and my mental health.

Which leads me to something I think is really important. Forgiveness. No matter how much we want to, we can’t change the past. We can only go forward. I’ve learned that forgiveness shouldn’t be done for the other person/people. It should be done for yourself.

Once you forgive someone, you start to let go of the hurt and anger you’re holding onto. And that is when you can finally truly start to move on with your life. A lot of people equate forgiveness with being on great terms with that person again. That doesn’t have to be the case. You can simply forgive someone and still keep them out of your life.

I have forgiven a few people in life, whom I have also realized I didn’t want in my life anymore. I didn’t want to give them the chance to be able to hurt me again. So although I forgave them for their past mistakes so that I could accept it, heal and move on, they are not in my life.

It’s kind of like saying “okay. This person hurt/upset me and I know it. But I’m going to take all this energy I have put into being mad at them and put into learning from that, making sure it doesn’t happen again and being happier.”

I realize that it sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo but I truly believe in it. People often say that love is the most powerful emotion, however rage, if left to built, can be just as devastatingly powerful. And often time the person who upset you doesn’t even realize you’re holding on to all this resentment and you’re the one spending all your energy on them while they’re living their life.

Forgive, learn and grow so that you can live your best life.

With lots of love,

Your mental health Mathie 🙂

Hi Again

Oops it has been a long time. I had a rough semester last summer and then I decided to make some unwise decisions of course. This time around it being to make myself so busy that I couldn’t possibly have time to feel anything except tiredness.

I went to full time school and worked 2 part time jobs. To give this some perspective, aside from 20 ish hours of lectures a week I also worked 40-50 hours a week and then somehow found time to do homework and study for exams.

I guess you can kind of see why I completely fell off the blogging wagon and didn’t write anything. I have missed it though. I think it’s a great outlet. So for my end of the school year goal, I told myself I would write at least one blog post a week again.

Hopefully I will post again by the end of this week to get me started again with a full update on how life has been. Stay safe everyone 🙂

With lots of love,

Your mental health Mathie 🙂

Knowing Yourself

Hey :).

So a life update I have is that I got a part time job. I actually think it’s really helping me.

So basically before I got the job, most of my day consisted of procrastinating homework by either watching Netflix or napping. Now I find myself having to time manage otherwise I’d fall really far behind. I’ve been wanting a part time job for a while now but along with the pandemic I just never had enough motivation to go out and find one. I was also terrified that if I had another low point where I’d not move for 2 weeks then I’d upset a lot of people (aka my boss) if I had a job.

I’m a place now where I’m comfortable enough to let my boss know if I do need a mental health day. Besides that I feel like I’m currently in a good place right now. A place where I can start getting my drive and motivation to start doing the things I used to.

Obviously there’s a few things to keep in mind. So when I first started down my mental health journey of getting better, I thought that after a couple weeks of meds and starting therapy that everything would be fine. I took a full course load and didn’t change anything else in my life.

This was a huge mistake. I learned the hard way that you need to gradually build back your mental health. It’s okay to take time, it’s hard work. For me, I didn’t originally want to take a lighter course load because I felt incompetent next to my peers. However I now take a reduced load of 3/4 courses a semester whereas the regular load is 5. Although it doesn’t sound like much, for me it’s a huge difference and gives me the time I need during the school year to relax and provides the opportunity for me not to become overwhelmingly stressed.

Anyways, so when I first went to school after I started meds, I took 5 courses and during the term ended up dropping to just 1. The semester after I only took 2 courses. And now I take 3/4 depending on what’s offered. Yes I do need to take an extra year but honestly for me it’s worth it. This is my one life. So I have to take an extra year. To me that’s a much better option than not being able to function for days one end, having a permanent feeling of tightness in my chest and breaking down crying almost every night.

Just because something takes you longer than other people and may not be the normal way of doing things, does not mean it’s wrong. People function and learn in different ways and if having depression has taught me anything, it’s that you need to figure out what is best for you.

I’m well aware that a lot of people affected by depression think very self deprecating things and don’t want to reach out for help and often can’t think of ways to help themselves. It’s a vicious cycle but with support from others, it’s much easier to break. For me, the support of my parents was a huge deal. They assured me multiple times they were fine with me taking a lightness course load and are the ones who pushed me to consider it in the first place. They made me think about my health (that being my mental health) before anything else even though education is very important for them.

This was pretty impactful to me and definitely changed my way of thinking. I always think about how I can make my life a little less stressful. I think of ways I can healthily cope and now reach out when I feel like I can’t on my own. It’s taken a long time and although sometimes I still shut down, I can see I’ve come a long way.

Anyways, I just wanted to say that I hope you all put yourselves first. I know you may feel selfish or just don’t want to but start with little things. Think about how something will make you feel. When planning your day try to include time for yourself or time to de stress. We can never get the days that go by, back. Start thinking of yourself and how you can change your routine to add a little stress relief/relaxation to your day/week/life.

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie

Random 3am Thoughts

Hi :)!

So it’s been almost three weeks since my last post. In that time I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and opening up to those close to me.

First off I’d like to share that I finally got my SSRI dosage lowered! Although I’m pretty far from going off them completely, this little milestone meant a lot to me. It reminded me of how much I’ve grown and overcome.

Secondly, I’ve started telling a few of my close friends about my blog. I swear I sweated (is that a word??) about 10 buckets just typing up the text for them to come check it out but in the end they were more supportive than I could’ve hoped for.

I know that for me especially, one really debilitating thing I do is over analyze and worry about everything. Even when everything points to the exact opposite of what I worry about. Because of that I need a lot of reassurance. Sometimes I wonder why my friends and loved ones aren’t tired of me yet but mostly I’m grateful that they understand or at least try to understand what I going through and feeling.

I’m currently sitting in the dark at about 3am writing up this post. I’m not really sure what I want to talk about but I would love to hear people’s opinions and experiences about whatever I think of saying.

What are your coping mechanisms? I like hearing about what others do because sometimes it gives me ideas of new things to try for myself. For example, my friend told me about crocheting and now it’s something I do everyday as a way to relax and get my mind off things and I absolutely love it.

Is anyone else on meds or thinking about it? To be honest, from talking to a few people I know who are going to therapy and dealing with their own mental health issues, I’m the only one I know taking meds. Sometimes I hate that I am because it feels like I’m somehow weaker than everyone I know who can just deal with it through therapy. I feel weak and worthless because I need therapy and meds to help me cope.

Logically I know that my type of depression stems from my brain not producing enough serotonin on its own and therefore I do needs meds. But unfortunately, as much as I know and love logic, sometimes my brain just refuses to acknowledge it.

I realize that this has been a really random culmination of thoughts. I couldn’t sleep and realized I hadn’t written in a while so I thought I would.

I’d just like to end by saying thank you. To whoever actually reads this. To the couple of you who emailed me asking for advice. I was never one who shared my deepest feelings. Everything I shared with others was surface level for the most part, even with my closest friends and family. So by doing this and seeing it actually help some people makes the anxiety and fear of writing all my deepest darkest thoughts down bearable.

Yuck I sound like a hallmark movie lol. But it is true so thank you. Anyways. I think that’s enough random babbles from me tonight.

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie

BLM and Your Mental Health

Hi hi :).

So currently in the world, there’s a pretty big movement trying to happen. That would be the Black Lives Matter Movement. I know some of you may be tired of hearing about it but I’m not here trying to convince you it’s good or bad. I’m just here to tell you my opinion on it. I’m here to tell you guys how I’ve been feeling with everything going on and maybe some of y’all might feel the same.

To start off, if you don’t know, the Black Lives Matter movement is a human rights movement that is trying to end violence and systemic racism towards black people.

A few weeks ago, a black man named George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in USA. This officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes because it was thought that Floyd tried to pay with a counterfeit bill. Take away the black and white and see it as a human killing another for something as small as that (which could’ve been an accident as counterfeit bills do sometimes end up in circulation for a while until they’re found out). Then we can see the cruelty of this police officers actions.

Obviously this event sparked anger throughout the States, and as well as the rest of the world and has showed everyone the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now I know I said I’m not here to convince you to support the movement, but if you would like to I have links at the bottom of this post with multiple resources and charities you can learn and donate to.

Anyways the reason I’d like to talk about BLM is because of the social media attention it has garnered in the past couple weeks.

Suddenly, everyone is posting links, resources and pictures to advocate for the BLM. Not to say this is a bad thing but after a while it starts to weigh on you. Especially when people you are following and who follow you back think that because you are not posting as much as them about BLM, then you do not care and are in fact racist.

The thing is, not everyone needs to speak about BLM or even any movement on human rights. We just need everyone to listen. Everyone is entitled to take time away from social media, to take time for themselves and reflect on how they feel about the issue and how they could help. Just because someone is not constantly posting and sharing things about it does not mean they are immediately against the movement.

Another thing that I know my friends and I are very frustrated with is the feeling of helplessness. We want change to happen but sometimes it feels futile. Although the protests are creating waves across America and the world, what are the next steps? How will we make sure this change is permanent?

There’s so many questions that stem off BLM and the protests that are occurring. I don’t have answers and I’m not sure anyone has any feasible and realistic ones just yet.

Because of this, my friends and I spend hours feeling helpless. Even though we support the movement, donate to the causes and try to educate others on what it is, it still feels like not enough is changing.

However, from reflecting the past few days I realize that the world is changing. 2020 has definitely not been what anyone imagined, but if this BLM movement takes off and we can take steps towards treating all humans equal, then it may just turn out to be the best year yet.

Something I have learned from my mental health journey that I continually have to remind myself of is that change doesn’t always come in big ways. Any change (either big or small) that progresses you towards your end goal, is something to be proud of. It shows progress, growth and strength.

I know, at least for me it is easier said than done to have that mindset, but I personally think it’s a great one to try to adapt. No matter how big or small the problem, to try and solve it, we always have to take steps. Nothing happens all at once, so every step which is getting you a little closer to the end is a good thing.

One other thing I’d like to say is that, if you support the BLM movement and want to help make a change, don’t feel pressured to be advocating as much as others, or donating as much others. As long as everyone does what they can and tries to the best of their ability, change will come.

Finally, I’d just like to say that especially now, since a lot of countries are still on lockdown, seeing the BLM movement and all the posts may be overwhelming to some (I know at times it is for me). It is okay to take a break from everything. To turn off the tv, put down the phone and just focus on yourself for a little.

Yes I advocate for BLM but I also advocate for one’s self. If you’re not feeling your best and doing your best, how are you supposed to help anyone else. You may be able to a little, but we all do our best work when we’re feeling the best possible.

To end of this post I’m going to post a few links to some charities, and some sites that can educate you more on the BLM movement if you’d like to know more!

General link on how to help: https://www.google.ca/amp/s/time.com/5849721/how-to-help-black-lives-matter-protests/%3famp=true

Resources to educate yourself: https://www.myacpa.org/blogs/black-lives-matter/black-lives-matter-resources

What is Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

There are many more resources available to everyone that can be found with a quick google search!

Advocate for what is right, advocate for what you believe in, but also remember to take care of yourself.

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie

Coping Mechanisms

Hey :).

So oops I have not written in a while. I’ve started two new posts but I just don’t know how to end them. So I’m writing a quick one now while I sit in the tub haha.

Anyways over the past week I’ve been pretty stressed with school so I thought I would write about some coping mechanisms again. And what’s good and bad about each of them.

To start, my biggest coping mechanism during school is still sleeping. If I get too overwhelmed or stressed I’ll take a nap to try and forget stuff for a while. When I wake up I usually feel so so or about the same as when I went to sleep. It’s definitely not a very helpful coping mechanism in my opinion but sometimes when I really need to shut the world out it’s what I go to. However, I can happily say that I have been turning to this less and less.

Another coping mechanism is either Netflix or baking or sometimes knitting. All of these get my mind off of my school work while also making me feel a little better because I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my day away doing nothing (although we can definitely argue Netflix might be wasting time haha). I prefer trying to do another activity than immediately nap because it makes me feel better and puts me in a headspace to try and tackle my problems again.

One thing I have found myself doing again that is definitely not healthy is stop eating. I’ve noticed when I become stressed I eat a lot. However when I become overwhelmed I stop eating altogether. It’s not on purpose but my body just doesn’t feel hungry and I forget to eat. Today, I only realized I didn’t eat anything at 4:00pm and even then I still wasn’t hungry. However, I knew I needed food so I had a light snack of fruits to keep myself going.

I know that the same thing happens to my friends so we check in on each other about eating when we know the other is stressed and overwhelmed. Having a reliable and trustworthy support system honestly does make everything a little easier because you know you’ll always have someone there to help you.

One final thing I want to say is that while on my SSRI’s I find I need a lot more water than while I wasn’t on them. Not sure if it’s just me or a proven thing but either way, water definitely not only is great because we need it to survive but it helps every part of your body.

I know this post was a little rushed and a mess but I just wasn’t feeling up to anything this week. I’ll do better on my next one haha.

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie 🙂

Hiding It

Hi :).

In this post I’m going to talk about how I hid my mental health for so long, what signs others may show and what definitely not to say to people going through mental health issues.

I am a person who always has a smile on her face. Whether I’m happy or sad, as soon as I’m around other people, I cant help but smile. Obviously this is very frustrating in some situations, especially when I’m mad or trying to be sympathetic towards someone.

This is probably one of the biggest reasons it was so easy for me to hide. I can always put a smile on my face when needed and I guess no one around me saw through it.

Another reason was distance. When I was going through my worst, my closest friends and family did not live with or near me and when I did see them on the odd weekend, it was very easy to pretend everything was fine. For a long time, I myself didn’t even accept that anything was wrong with and so it was easy to show others that I was okay.

I know these two reasons themselves don’t seem huge, but it’s what happened. The biggest reason aside from those is the fact that I myself didn’t accept that anything was wrong with me.

Over the years, from dealing with my own mental health, as well as trying to help some of my friends with there’s, I’ve learned that you can’t help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped. No matter how much you push or try, unless they themselves first accept that something is wrong and that they want help, nothing you say will help them.

For me, when I was first starting to show some signs of depression and anxiety, my cousins picked up on it and took me to therapy. However, I only went a couple times and didn’t take anything they or the therapist said to heart or into consideration. I was in denial. I was sure that whatever I was going through was a phase and that I didn’t need any help.

Also, one of my close friends admitted to many self harm practices that they do. However, whenever I try to check in or give them advice, they never listen and always swear that they don’t do it because they’re sad but just because they are bored. In my eyes though, whatever the reason, they still would benefit from help. However, every time I try to talk to them about it, they push me away. So I show them that I support them and that I’ll always be there for them when they are ready to talk about it.

Now I know that sometimes, with more severe mental illnesses, waiting around will not help the person if they are about to end their life. In this situation, the best thing is to go to the police if you believe they are in immediate danger of taking their lives.

If as well, if you don’t think waiting around is best even if its not as severe, you can always go to a trusted authority figure in their life, like a parent or teacher and try to bring them help that way.

No matter which option you choose, there will probably be a bit of time in which the person you are trying to help resists you. This is normal. Mental health still has a huge stigma around it and sometimes people may not necessarily want to accept that they have to work on theirs. Once the person starts accepting it and making some progress, they’ll see that you only wanted what was best for them.

I remember when my cousins first told my parents, I was terrified and upset with her. But after some time, getting help, and starting the process of fighting for myself, I realized she did it out of love and I’ll forever be grateful.

One last thing I wanted to talk about is what everyone says to me when they find out I have depression and am on meds. The most common is “You’re always so happy, I never would’ve guessed” or “Really? I never see you crying”. Honestly these two annoy me the most. Yes I hide it well, but so do a lot of people, and just because someone seems happy, doesn’t mean they are all the time. As well, depression doesn’t automatically mean crying. For me personally I cry very easily and all the time, but the two aren’t interchangeable as terms.

If someone trusts you enough and opens up about their mental health, be supportive. Don’t make offhand comments because even if you mean it as a joke, sometimes it’s not perceived that way.

Anyways, I still suck at ending these. So I’m just going to say, that’s all for now, and maybe try to take some time to check on those that are close to you.

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie

One Of My First Breakdowns

Hello 🙂

I’ve been thinking and reflecting a lot on my mental health progress ever since I started writing this blog and one thing I realized is how reluctant I was to get help. Back in high school, making sure my mental health was as healthy as the rest of me was not even on my radar. I was so stressed and anxious and caught up in the need to be perfect for my parents, that at the time, I didn’t even consider what it was doing to me.

One of my more significant breakdowns occurred sometime in Grade 11. I wouldn’t call it my biggest or worst breakdown, but looking back on it has definitely made me realize a few things. First, a little back story.

My cousins and I were raised very closely, almost like siblings. Because of this, we always spent huge amounts of time at each others houses and have always been close. I remember that one day, I was over at their place and it happened to be just me and my cousin.

I’m not sure if he knew something was wrong or just wanted to check up on me, but he asked me how I was. At first I was fine, I told him everything was fine but he didn’t believe me. He knew my relationship with my parents was strained and he asked about that. Again I said everything was fine, the same as it had always been. But again, he kept asking. The straw that broke the camel’s back (or in my case what made me breakdown) was when he asked me about my university plans.

Now I know that at the time I was only in grade 11, but my parents always drilled into my head about being prepared and always knowing what you wanted in life. Because of this university was a well discussed topic in my household from the time I started Grade 11. Every mark that wasn’t a 95 was scrutinized.

So, when my cousin asked me about how all this studying and planning was going, I lost it. I folded myself into a corner in the kitchen and started sobbing. In between sobs I cried about how no matter what I did, I would always be a disappointment to my parents, and about how nothing I could do would make them happy.

My cousin was obviously at a loss but he held me, comforted me and assured me that, no matter what happened, even if my parents were disappointed a little, they just wanted me to be happy. At the time, I really did not believe him, but I also did not to talk about my feelings anymore. I agreed and said that I would be fine and that was the end of the discussion for the night.

Over the next few weeks and months, he would repeatedly check in on me and ask me how I was doing. But, for the most part I lied and said everything was fine.

At the time, this experience was clearly not that significant to me. I just wanted to move past it and forget about it. However, looking back now, I realize a couple of things.

First, my heart breaks for the girl that I was and for all the children and teenagers out there going through the same thing that I did. The goal of being perfect and the best was drilled into my head so much by my parents that I didn’t even think they loved me beyond what I could accomplish academically. I know that a lot of people can relate to having family pressures and expectations piling up so high that you feel crushed under them. Every family and every person is different, but something that I think everyone should remember is that if your family truly loves and cares about you, they will want you to be happy more than they want you to kill yourself trying to reach every standard set by them.

I know this sounds very easy to say and probably changes nothing, but the biggest thing holding us (at least it did for me) back from accepting this, is fear. Fear that you’ll be the disappointment your family/loved ones always said you would be. Fear that if you can’t be the person they want you to be, then they’ll leave you. Fear that they won’t love you for who you are.

Now I’m not saying this is the case for everyone, but I do like to believe there are more good people than not out there. Usually parents who care that much about how their child does academically, do so because they love the child and want a good life for them. Sometimes our parents just don’t realize how much pressure they are putting on us which is why talking to them is definitely a step in the right direction (at least it was for me).

Another thing I realize is how important it is to check in on your friends/family. That was the first time in a long time that someone sat me down and really tried to find out how I was doing beyond just the surface. Looking back, I truly appreciate the effort my cousin put in, however I only wish I was more receptive to being helped earlier, than trying to convince myself I was fine and didn’t need anyone for so long. 

I think that it’s important to check in on your loved ones even if they aren’t receptive. Just showing them that you are there for them can do a lot more good than you think. I was only comfortable opening up to my friends and family after I knew I hit rock bottom, because they showed me that they would always love me and be there for me.

One of the main reasons it took me so long to seek out help and open up was because I didn’t want to be a burden on anyone. I know that people out there have much bigger problems in life and I didn’t want to complain about mine when it wasn’t that bad in comparison to many. This mindset was probably the most harmful to have.

Yes, there will always be someone out there who is going through worse than you, but that does not mean that your feelings and what you are going through count for nothing. Everyone’s experiences, feelings and emotions are valid and no one should make anyone feel otherwise. Being there for people you care about will eventually show them that you aren’t going to leave and hopefully one day they will be comfortable enough to open up.

At least in my case, the fact that my cousins and friends always showed they supported and loved me, made it easier to go to them for help in the end. I definitely think that if I didn’t feel like they loved me unconditionally, that I never would have opened up to them, even after I broke down in front of them.

Take time and check in on those you love. It is very easy to hide mental illnesses and you never know what anyone, even those closest to you could be going through. In my next post I think I’ll talk about how I was able to hide my depression and anxiety for so long. Not everyone who is depressed is sad all the time. But anyways, until next time.

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie