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

My High School Life

Hello :).

Although I probably won’t be posting as frequently in the future, I just wanted to give people a little insight as to what they might be reading about here.

I think I’ll start off by kind of just going through a general ish overview of my mental health journey thus far. I’m still trying to decide how to layout the whole blog and how each post should be structured, but I think its easiest if I start with my journey and how I dealt with it and then move onto other things.

First, I’m going to talk about my life before University and then in my next post will talk about life after University had started. Before we start though, I’d like to say that although my parents and I did have a rough patch, we have worked through it the past couple of years and are probably closer than ever right now. You’ll see how this comes to be in my next post.

Anyways, throughout high school, I always had really bad anxiety, especially in Grades 11 and 12. There were numerous times I broke down in the school bathroom that no one, not even my closest friends, knew about. I think that at the time, I had the strictest parents in my friend group and we all knew it.

When I think back on it, in Grade 11-12, my parents almost never gave me a break. Even in the summer when I was supposed to take some time to relax, I would be given sets of math questions, have to go to piano theory lessons and study for the SATs. I know this may sound like just a normal workload to some, but to me, with all the pressure they put on me to be perfect, coupled with the fact I had absolutely no privacy, it was like a prison.

Let’s rewind a little and talk about the issues of no privacy. I think that in most child/parent relationships, there comes a time when you start to pull away from your parents and want to be your own person. You start hiding things, arguing what they say, really just trying to show that hey, I am my own person and this is who I am. I think that for a lot of us, high school is a time where we are trying to break out a little and see who we are. We have new friends, we start to see the real world around us and we have to start thinking about what we’re going to do with our future. Through all this, our parents are there to guide us, but there is a difference between guiding and controlling. And this is where my parents got it wrong.

I think that the turning point in my relationship with my parents happened in Grade 10. I was grounded for two weeks (phone and laptop taken away) for being caught staying up until 3am texting my friends, which included a boy. My parents are very conservative and this was as huge no even though we weren’t dating or doing anything. I was obviously upset about being grounded but in the grand scheme of things, this upset me way less than what happened next.

Once they took my phone, they read through all the texts I had ever sent that guy. On top of that, they tried to text him pretending to be me as well as text my friends pretending to be me to see if they could get more information. I had told everyone I normally text that I did not have my phone anymore, the next day at school, so no one responded, but I was in shock and so upset because they tried this numerous times even though they never got a response.

Two weeks later, I got my phone and laptop back and I thought that  that would be the end. However, after that, every night after my parents thought I had fallen asleep, they would come into my room and take my phone. At this point they had made me give them the password to my phone and fb account. And every night they would check who I talked to, and I assume read some messages, as they would leave conversations open (that I hadn’t left open) which I saw the next morning when they put the phone back in my room before I woke up.

To add to this, they also had my iPhone messages upload directly to their computer and read them almost everyday, if not everyday. Which I know because they confronted me many times on things I had texted to other people and wouldn’t even try to hide the fact they had been snooping.

This went on for almost 2 years. I had no privacy and no one to talk to. I couldn’t text my friends, I was let to go hangout with them maybe once a month and at this point my parents were my number one enemies and I could barely stand being home. I think it was after this had been going on for a few months when I started to become very anxious. I hated being home, I felt like anything I did, my parents would know and I would get in trouble and I was just generally not happy.

It got to the point where I joined any club I could, so that I could spend more time at school and not go home. During that time, staying at school with my friends, was probably one of my biggest escapes. When I got home, I wasn’t allowed to watch TV or play games or use my phone (because they would’ve seen anything I had done) on weekdays so I shut myself in my room doing homework and then reading books as my other escape.

Books was one of the biggest parts of my life before university. I almost was always reading some book or another. For me, reading was an acceptable pass-time to my parents so I took full advantage of it. When I read, I wasn’t myself anymore or living my life, I was living in the world of the book right next to the characters I was reading about. It made me forget, even just for a little, about the pressures and reality of my own life.

There were so many times in Grades 10-12 where I used to breakdown and cry in the shower. It was honestly the only place I had for myself. I remember I used to always wait for my parents to be home from work before I showered, because that meant that I had to spend less time with them. It was also during this time that I used to take at least 30 mins showers where I could just be by myself to think or cry.

It was during this time that I needed someone the most I think. I felt so trapped. Sure I would tell my friends some of what was happening when we were at school, but for the most part I held everything in. I had so many pent up feelings of anger, betrayal and sadness and looking back I can see how much I hated my life at the time.

In the scheme of things, I think that books was one of my healthier coping mechanisms. Sure it didn’t help me face my problems head on, but it helped me relax and for a time eased the ball of tightness I was always feeling in my chest.

I think that my healthiest coping mechanism to this day is talking to my friends and/or family. Even in high school, while I did feel trapped because I was a minor and had to obey my parents rules, talking to my friends and joining clubs really helped me. I think if it weren’t for them, I definitely would have started self harming earlier (see my next post for more on this) or gone down a much darker path.

For me, talking to others provides me a feeling of relief. Although the idea of it at first is terrifying, because I feel like others will judge me, after I open up, I can feel my anxiety lessen greatly. Humans aren’t meant to be alone, and opening up to others and feeling supported, does so much more good than I ever could have imagined.

I know that a lot of people are not as fortunate as I am to have a great support system which is why I want to say that if you ever need to talk to anyone, please do not hesitate to reach out, whether it be through the comments or through email.

At the end of Grade 12, I decided that I was going to pursue a Math degree at the University of Waterloo. My friends, cousins and I used to joke that this was finally my way to get out of the prison I had felt like I had been living in. And, in a way it was because I could finally live without my parents breathing down my neck every second. But at the same time, it wasn’t everything I had hoped for.

I don’t want to make each of these too long for now so I’ll stop there. In my next post I’ll talk about my mental health since university has started and then we’ll see where we should go from there :).

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie ❤

About My Blog – The Inspiration

Hi there!

Although I would like to keep my identity anonymous (at least for now), I don’t want to keep my life and experiences a secret.

The inspiration for this blog came to me one night after I spent about an hour crying over school work, friends, family, and really any situation my brain could think of. I laid in my dark bedroom staring at the ceiling thinking I couldn’t be the only one who broke down like this, had these feelings, or wanted to hide from the world but also wanted to talk to someone and not feel like a burden.

I want to write and create this blog for me as much as I want to write it in hopes that others that are experiencing similar things can see they are not alone. While many mental health resources exist, I find that many of them seem too informational or too positive (which I’m not saying is a bad thing). When I’m in the middle of a depressive episode and I see a post or a picture telling me how great life is and how everything will be fine, all I think is that whoever wrote it should fuck right off (pardon the language). I’m sure that there are people out there who appreciate those posts or informational sites, but for those who would like the perspective of someone going through similar things to them, then I guess this is something they can try and read as well.

In no capacity whatsoever am I a licensed therapist or counsellor. And if I ask my best friends I’m sure they would say to ignore 90% of things I say, (kidding maybe….) but I feel like when I was at my worst, if I read something like what I hope this blog to be, then it would’ve helped me, even if it was just a little.

With all that being said, let me introduce myself a little bit :). I am a  Mathematics student at the University of Waterloo. I love all things math, Netflix, Disney+, true crime (including fake crime tv lol), baking and especially chocolate. I have a sister, two loving parents, cousins and friends who make up my irreplaceable support system.

A little more than a year ago (November 2018), I was officially diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. A few months after that (January 2019), I started taking SSRI’s, a common form of antidepressants, and a couple months after that (March 2019) I started going to quite a few therapy sessions. Personally, I would say that I have had anxiety, at least in a minor form for about 3-4 years and depression for about a year before I went to the doctor.

It took a long time, but I have come to terms with my mental health and worked hard to improve it even through the many set backs. I won’t lie and say it’s easy or that I’m cured or that I’m doing amazing. But I have gotten to the point where I am happy with my life and happy with the progress I have made thus far even though I know there’s still quite a ways to go.

I hope that if anyone who happens to read this blog and think it could be helpful to them or someone they know, sees that whatever they’re going through is normal and that they are not the only one experiencing it. The comment section is always available for anyone to ask questions anonymously about anything they’d like and definitely not limited to just mental health.

Another reason why I decided to keep my identity anonymous for now is so that people feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. There is a lot of power behind anonymity and I want others to be able to come and share their thoughts, feelings and experiences knowing that no one in their real life will judge them or know unless they want them to.

I’m just another person that life threw some curveballs at and even if this blog can help one person out there it will have been worth it (sorry for the quite sappy ending there).

I’d just like to end off this opening post by saying that even if you feel alone right now, you don’t have to be. If you ever need to talk, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an email at mhmathie@gmail.com :).

With lots of love,

Your Mental Health Mathie ❤