“Just because no one else can heal you
or do your inner work for you…
Doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.”
I was standing in the kitchen with a prescription bottle of Morphine in one hand, left over from a previous surgery, and a bottle of red wine in my other hand.
Tears were streaming down my face, burning my cheeks from crying all day. I felt as if a suitcase was sitting on my chest, and I knew at any minute I might throw up.
That incident was two days after I found out my marriage was ending, and my life as I knew it would never be the same. I felt as if I couldn’t escape the pain, and I wanted the hurt to stop.
I picked up the phone and called The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline because I didn’t like the unwelcomed familiarity that began to consume me. I was no stranger to suicidal thoughts.
When I was 13, I sunk into a deep depression. Having moved to a small town where everyone grew up together from the time they were kids, I was an outsider, and never fit in. I had “friends”, if you can call them that, but I was bullied from the time I moved there at ten years old.
In seventh grade I would often come home from school and cry after having my books knocked out of my hands, or being tripped in the hallway, and I was even spit on once. I would sit in my room after school and cry in the darkness listening to Air Supply songs and anything else on 98.1 KUDL.
One particular day it was more than I could handle. The entire seventh grade class decided it was pick on Jasmine day. After being tormented all day, on my way home from school, I had rocks thrown at my head.
When I got home, I went into the bathroom, took a bottle of Advil out of the medicine cabinet and washed the entire bottle down with a Dr. Pepper. I went to my bed with tears streaming down my face, hoping to fall asleep and not wake up.
Three hours later I was at the hospital having my stomach pumped. When I was released, I was mandated to see a therapist…and my healing journey began.
World Teen Mental Wellness Day is March 2, shining a spotlight on mental health issues that affect millions of young people. Finding out a young person you love has mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, OCD, or others, can be frightening. However, it does not mean there is no hope for a happy life while managing their condition.
Ignoring a problem in hopes that it will “go away” on its own is tempting for teens and adults. However, ignoring mental health concerns only exacerbates the situation. While facing the unknown can be frightening, seeing a professional can put someone on the path to managing their condition and regaining a feeling of control over their lives.
- Generalized or Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Attacks
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Eating disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Self-harm (like cutting or suicide attempts)
We need to take the stigma away. In the same way we educate communities about physical health concerns such as heart disease, it’s critical that we start conversations about what mental illness is, how to recognize it and understand the fact that it is manageable.
5 steps you can take to help raise awareness
about mental health issues
- Talk: Ask family, friends and coworkers how they’re doing and really listen to their answers. If they give any indication that they are depressed or struggling, let them know that there are resources available to help them.
- Be Vulnerable. Open up about your experiences if you’ve struggled or are struggling with mental health concerns, share your story. Hearing another person is going through the same thing you are can be comforting.
- Speak Up: When you hear people around you talk about mental health in disrespectful terms, politely ask them to consider the impact of their words. Any language that reinforces the stigma of mental health issues is harmful and might keep someone from getting help.
- Educate Yourself: It’s not uncommon for people to misunderstand mental health issues. Learn more about it and share what you learn. This includes talking with children about mental health in age-appropriate terms. Children are not immune to mental health concerns and can experience conditions like depression and anxiety as early as elementary school.
- Encourage Healthy Habits: Physical health can have a direct impact on mental health.
Eating healthy, exercise, and sleep all play an important part in a person’s mental and emotional state.
If you’re wondering whether one person’s efforts can make a difference, the answer is “Absolutely YES YES YES!” Every conversation you have about the importance of recognizing and treating mental health issues creates a ripple effect that reaches people in your circle and far beyond it.
I am so grateful for the resources that have helped me through the years, and I want to do all I can to help bring awareness to mental health issues and those that suffer in silence.
Please, PLEASE know…you aren’t alone.
Remember, You Got This!
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)