Hello, my name is 1 in 5
Did you know that 1 in 5 adults 18 and older will be diagnosed with a mental illness?
Did you know that the average onset age of depression is 30?
Did you know that I’m 31 and I’ve been diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression?
Did you know that I take antidepressants?
Did you know that I had my first panic attack when I was 28 years old?
Did you know that I’m the 1 in 5?
Nope, you had no clue. Well that’s why I’m sharing today, because sharing is caring right? Not only do I care about my own mental health, but I care about yours.
I’m 31, and I just started taking antidepressants about 3-4 weeks ago. How did I get to that point?
I’ve been in therapy bi-weekly for the past 2 years and it’s not the first time I’ve been in therapy. The first time I went was after I got laid off from my college job a few months after graduation in 2008. You know that EAP thing, your job subtly tells you about during the orientation process? We were given 2-3 free sessions so I took advantage, because I had major anxiety about finding a new job before my severance pay ran out.
yep this girl…………….
Fast forward to 2013. I eventually found a new job that propelled me into the field of my degree which is social work. In 2013 I’d been working in the world of DCF for about 4 years. I’d been a case manager and I’d seen a lot of hurting, abused and neglected children and their parents. Some days I cried from pure exhaustion of going to court, picking up kids from school, transporting them for 2 hours to see their parents, hearing kids scream as they got blood drawn or annual shots. It was alot and I was burnt to a crisp. By 2013 I was able to get a desk job in the foster care system. Hallelujah or so I thought.
28 years old and I was living the corporate desk job dream!! Sike…….lol. I went from being a case manager to a placement specialist. This involved finding foster homes for kids recently removed from their parents with no relatives available to care for them. This also meant I had to be on-call, being woken up out of my sleep at 2 am begging foster parents to take a child into their home in the middle of the night. On top of that, I had the supervisor from HELL. She would cuss you out 10 times quicker than she could finish smoking a cigarette. 2013 I had my first panic attack, after a break up. I went to therapy for about 90 days until I got a new job and my insurance coverage ran out.
2015, my mom called me while I was at work and my whole world literally fell apart. The doctor’s told her she needed a kidney transplant and she had 6 months to live. I cried most days at work and at home. I kept myself busy with work, church, and losing weight because Lord knows I didn’t want to have the same health issues as my mother or have to think about her needing a kidney. I was depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. My quality of work went down the drain creating a vicious cycle of “today is the day I get fired”. I never got fired, but I did get help.
2016 I called my companies EAP line and got authorization for 3 free sessions. I kept going, weekly after the third session. I eventually went from weekly sessions to bi-weekly sessions. I was doing and feeling better, learning new coping skills and talking through my childhood experiences that were holding me hostage. Memories of domestic violence, verbal abuse, mommy and daddy issues, bullying, low self-esteem (yeah me), feelings of worthlessness. I worked through it and started figuring out who I wanted to be. Until, summer 16……
He was everything I never wanted or needed but I loved him. Possessive, arrogant, self-absorbed, narcissistic, and jealous. I. Loved. Him. More than I loved myself for four months. I stopped drinking the kool-aid and got a healthy dose of Jesus juice. Police were called, locks were changed and bags were packed. Although he never laid a hand on me, his history of domestic violence and demeanor after my money ran out made it clear that we could have ended up there.
I was numb, I was depressed, sleeping with a chair propped against my front door and my first mace on my keys. He kept calling, and begging and I kept blocking and ignoring. Ignoring him and my feelings too. I was empty inside, overeating, crying daily, restless sleep, afraid, short-tempered, anti-social, back in grad school, teaching Sunday school, serving in youth church and going to work. He was gone and I was back to normal or so I thought.
I’d go to work, late everyday, staring at the computer for hours, sob quietly in my cube, go back home and do it all again the next day. Sometime’s I would eat, sleep the day away, sometimes I would shower, sometimes I would clean my apartment, but most times I didn’t. This felt all too familiar to me. I’ve seen this before, when I was 7, when I was 17, when I was 21 when I’d get home from school. I saw my mother in me. I started taking the recommended antidepressants, even though I fought it for months. I tried exercise, healthy eating, essential oils, prayer, therapy, meditation, more sleep, the list goes on. I accepted the fact that sometimes I may need a little help. Mental illness requires treatment just like diabetes or heart disease.
I’m not getting back to the old me, I’m becoming who I need to be. I’m getting the help that I need.
I’m the 1 in 5
Friends, it’s ok to need help. It’s ok to be broken, depressed, anxious, bi-polar, schizophrenic, have OCD, or a mood disorder. It’s ok to talk about it and get help.
NAMI or National Alliance on Mental Illness has numerous resource available.
If you are feeling suicidal text NAMI to 741741 24 hours a day
Peace, love and blessings!!