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What Mental Health Means To Me

Before we get started today, I just want to give a warning about some of the things that we are talking about today and how heavy it might get. I also want to say that everything I am going to talk about is my experiences with Mental Health and not facts or anything, just my opinion. 

If y’all didn’t know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month and is something that I have very personal experiences with. Mental Health is one of the biggest problems we have today in the United States but I think it is a topic that isn’t talked about enough. The definition of mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Everyone has at some point had their own personal connection to mental health whether it is themselves, a friend, a family member, someone they work with, etc.

In my case, I have experienced mental health with myself as well as other family members. Leading up to everything, I was bullied as a kid and young adult because of my weight and how I looked and never have been really comfortable in my skin since then. No one should ever be bullied in life for anything and I stand by that. I have also battled with anxiety for the last 5 years, where I just have too much going on in my head that I won’t be able to sleep and will have panic attacks. It is not a great feeling to be sitting or laying there and feeling like you can’t breathe because it feels so crippling and like something is sitting on your chest.

For the last 8 years I have battled with depression and come to find out through research, 40% of the U.S. population battle with depression today. When talking to people about their battles, a lot of them will say that they can specifically say they know the time frame or event that caused them to start feeling depressed. For me, I can’t put a date or time or anything on when I realized I was dealing with depression.

I was actually in High School and it was a simple event where I laughed at something and my best friend said I haven’t seen you laugh at all in a long time. It was that simple statement that made me realize, wow she’s right, why haven’t I laughed in a long time? You may be thinking, “Laughing, seriously! What does that have to do with depression?” For me, laughing is what I do best and I am THE person who will still laugh when the joke isn’t good. It took me a little while to come to terms with the fact that I was depressed and it didn’t get better because I just kept getting hit with bad news and more bad news and more bad news. It got worse during my freshman year of college when I was at East Carolina and was something I really struggled with.

As soon as I openly came out and said to people that I was feeling depressed, I realized several other people in my family also struggled with depression that I had no idea about. I will say that I handle my depression differently because I do not take medication for it. WHAT? That means you can’t possibly struggle with depression. No, that just means I don’t like taking medication and pills because I don’t want to be dependent on them. I have been able to find different ways to help with my depression.

But not taking medication and having to rely on different methods did have flaws for me because certain times I fell into what my family likes to call “a funk.” A funk is basically a time where you don’t want to be around people, don’t want to do anything, don’t answer calls or texts. My funks were worse because being an introvert, I already don’t really like being around people a lot of people in certain situations. I fell into negative thoughts that made me ultimately not want to be here any longer on planet Earth. I’m not going to get into my details on suicide but there were 3 separate times. It’s not a great headspace to be in and I don’t wish it upon anyone.

I wanted to take my own life because of reasons that may sound silly but it was important people leaving my life, life changing events, and just not being in the place in life where I was happy or wanted to be. It’s a really bad place to be and even thinking back to it makes me cry because I may not have been writing this today. I am super thankful for the people in my life because they have helped me get through a lot of hard times and I can never repay them. Most people who know me may be reading this and have no idea that any of this had happened, don’t worry I didn’t want it to be a thing that people saw me as or burden everyone.

I am very thankful that I am here today because I have friends and family, other people, events, and things to live for and that make me happy. Do I still have my dark times and get into a funk… of course but I constantly have to remind myself to keep my head up and battle through because the light is always brighter on the other side of the dark tunnel. I am not writing this to scare people or draw attention to myself. I am writing this to draw attention to Mental Health the fact that you might know someone who has gone through these same things or look at a friend and say I just wanted to make sure you are okay and if you ever need anything I’m always here. Believe me someone saying that to you means more than you know.

I am going to leave some phone numbers down below for different hotlines and organizations to call if you or someone else you know is going through a hard time and just need someone to talk to.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)1-800-662-HELP (4357)

National Hopeline Network1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

National Youth Crisis Hotline1-800-448-4663

Thank y’all for listening to my story. I didn’t go into the far depths of it all but I hope you get the point of what I was saying. Please do me a favor and watch how you talk to and treat people because no matter how great their life might seem, you have no idea the things that they are going through. Let’s help make a difference in our mental health and help each other as much as possible.

As always thank y’all for stopping by and reading. I will see y’all back here next time.

Love, Dani

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