Written By: Danielle Clayton
The big questions in the minds of those that deal with mental illness: How do I heal? How do I not let my trauma consume my life? Do I have to be on medication forever? What if nothing works? What if I can’t do this by myself? Sometimes our suffering can feel suffocating. We spend so much time thinking we are alone, or no one understands. Being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, or any type of mental illness can feel like a bad thing if you don’t understand it. Even not being diagnosed and still experiencing symptoms can feel like a losing battle.
When I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD at 15, I thought my future was doomed to a life of pills, therapy, doctors and people telling me I’m crazy when my symptoms flared up. Throughout my life I have also been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar with Psychosis. Though my diagnosis has changed over the years, these titles still follow me to this day. Being young in this struggle and not fully developed really makes it difficult. I was admitted into hospitals recurrently and still wasn’t get the proper treatment. But that was because I hadn’t learned that my recover was my responsibility. I was angry, hurt, tired, upset and in pain. I was lost for a long time. I fell victim to situations and people that will forever be a part of my story. I hurt people I shouldn’t have, but I hurt myself more. I have tried committing suicide several times, and thankfully I survived. I haven’t tried to end my life for over a year now and my healing journey has taken a huge turn within the last few years, though I’m still struggling.
I no longer turn to sex, drugs and alcohol to cope; I am no longer afraid to expose my physical scars, I have taken to using my passions and dreams to express my symptoms of Depression and Anxiety, I have gotten closer to God than I’ve ever been (and of course I still have a long way to go with that), I have a much better understanding of my trauma and in all I have only GOD to thank.
I turned my back on him, I didn’t believe that his presence existed in my life. I WAS WRONG. HE SAVED ME. Far more times than I truly deserve. He has brought me to the age of 25. All the glory goes to him. I would be dead and gone if he had not saved me. He has forgiven me for what I have done, and what I do now. I am trying with everything in me to get better and be better, but I must try harder. I can’t give up. I WON’T. After all the bad choices and horrible mistakes, I have made in my life because I did not acknowledge him, he has lifted off of me.
Now, for those that don’t know what to do within their own journey, I will say turn to God. He WILL help you heal. For those that may not believe, I do recommend taking the advice of your doctors and therapist i.e. (Taking your medication and attending your session’s,) I will not dispute the success that those services have brought for a lot of people, but also, for just one moment. One moment when your alone, nothing happening around you, your symptoms are not pressed down on you so forcefully that you feel like you’re drowning. Maybe during a commercial of your favorite show or while you’re looking for another song to play on your playlist; say to yourself even just once “My (what mental illness or sickness you’re dealing with) Is in my control”. So, for me I would say ” My Depression, and Anxiety, is in my control.” If you want to extend on it, ” I am stronger than my depression”, “My anxiety will not run my life”, “I am stronger than my anxiety”. Whatever you choose to say to yourself to give you a moment of mental peace. I found that thinking of a peaceful setting while say these things helps. If saying a mantra doesn’t help, try getting your symptoms out of you physically:
Sing a song, dance, write, read, draw, do yoga for 5 mins, paint, exercise, cook, clean, call a friend or family member, watch your favorite vlogger on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, do your makeup, do some deep breathing for a few seconds, grab all your clothes and have a fashion show and photo shoot (I do this sometimes 😂), volunteer your time to some else, WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Don’t give up on yourself, you are stronger than you could ever possibly imagine. I know this because we are in this together. I am in the boat with you. Now I don’t know you and our trauma may not 100% the same, but our journey to healing is. We want to get better. We want to do better. WE GOT THIS. And if no one told you this, I’M PROUD OF YOU! Thank you for being so strong and fighting so hard. A lot of people might not see you, but I DO.
GOD BLESS YOU, YOUR LOVED ONES, AND YOUR JOURNEY!