Mental health disorders are responsible for many lives lost annually. According to World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. Mental health disorders can interfere with the individual’s daily life by changing normal moods and how we feel about our self.  Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds. 

The events of 2020, is enough to cause alteration in a person’s mental health status. Through the pandemic, many have suffered the loss of love ones, jobs and rejection of opportunities. The stay at home order, has forced many to put things in prospective. To recognize how they truly feel about the people they live with and caused domestic violence rates to rise. Financial hardship is another problem that puts stress on families and may cause tension in relationships and mental, physical and emotional neglect and abuse to children. When life takes a turn and throws us lemons, it is very difficult for many to seek the positive aspects and make lemonade.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was my diagnosis at the age of nineteen. I had reoccurring nightmares for many years, replaying the event of the very day that changed my life forever. There were also triggers I had to learn stemming from my trauma. The process to get to the road of healing without medication, was trying but the route I took. 

Challenging myself to acknowledge the my past and painful events that haunted me, wasn’t easy but necessary. Taking a trip back down memory lane to the tender age of nine; to not shield or protect her but to give her permission to come from under the bed. To reassure her that it is ok to feel, grieve, cry and scream. Finally, to let her know she survived that day because there was purpose on her life. Writing, “A Diamond in the Rough,” allowed me to truly release all of my pain, frustration and anger on paper. Through tears from so many unanswered questions, the words just tumbled out. Acknowledging these events, made it real. Overtime, I was able to accept it as I realized I can’t change nor do I have any control of the past, but my future awaits.

Depression was another diagnosis. Many use this word loosely but its much deeper and longer periods of sadness. When people are depressed, they may experience other health or mental health problems. To relieve the misery of depression, some people turn to drugs or alcohol. Mine was alcohol. Depression drains energy causing fatigue. Other feelings associated with depression are weakness, helpless and hopelessness, just to name a few.  It is dark and gloomy and can feel as if you’re sinking in quick sand. Sleep the cousin of death, became my escape. My appetite was non-existent, which ultimately had effects on my physical health. I felt like my walls were caving in on me, at times. I had so many questions without answers and thoughts of suicide.

Anxiety was also diagnosed. Constantly worrying, high stress levels, full of fear and paranoia, all interfering with my daily activities. I pushed through, though. Cramming my days with various projects at work, while attending school. Taking on more that I can chew, over exerting myself, to avoid dealing with my emotional issues, ultimately causing mental and physical exhausting.

An anti-depressant was prescribed. I opt to not use it. Instead, came up with coping methods to get me through these times. Coping is defined as the thoughts and behaviors mobilized to manage the internal and external stressful situations. Methods that I found helpful through my most stressful years were, preoccupying yourself with personal goals. These goals include, pursuing higher education, journaling which turned into a memoir, self published by yours truly. This was extremely therapeutic. I also developed a workout routine. Exercise and simply breathing is calming. Please know that I cried, and still do, many days and nights and in those moments and prayer is always the remedy. Praying Until Something Happens (PUSH).

Be gentle with yourself and don’t go through things alone.

Share your feelings and thoughts.

Can you relate to the above? What are your coping methods?

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