A couple of months ago, I reached out to a few friends asking them to tell their stories and/or experiences dealing with mental health issues.
It is a big step for anyone to share and I am grateful they said yes. A few decided to stay anonymous (and that is okay). They are brave, loved, and appreciated.
In honour of Mental Health Week (May 2-8, 2016) - I would like to share a bonus story by Hunter.
My experience dealing with my mental health has been long and difficult. Since I was young I have always dealt with anxiety and had already started going to therapy when I was in grade four. My parents noticed from a young age that I struggled with my day to day habits and often dealt with panic attacks. As I entered grade eight I was diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I spent endless hours every day dealing with my obsessions and compulsions that kept me from living a healthy life. I had many phobias and coped with them by using my OCD. If something was out of place, or I didn’t take enough steps in a day I would be in extreme panic. I have often felt like an outcast and have been embarrassed about the compulsions I needed to complete in public. It’s never easy when you are dealing with something that you feel like nobody understands or can relate to. My counsellor and I figured out a plan of action for my treatment, I saw psychiatrists and went through an extensive process to redirect my thoughts and fight my compulsions. I found ways to deal with my panic attacks and I was eventually able to live a life that was not solely controlled by my OCD.
I still struggle today and every day with my anxiety and panic disorder, I see a counsellor quite regularly as I am still trying to overcome my issues. I often find myself reverting back to my OCD when I'm stressed, nervous, or faced with a difficult situation. I realized along the way that I was surrounded by people who loved and cared about me. You are not the only one who deals with mental health and that feels lost. Opening up about my experience has liberated me, you never know who you are inspiring and helping along the way with your story.
I am a daughter, sister, auntie, wife and friend.