Category: mental health

Stigmatizing Mental Health

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Do you ever think to yourself how life would just be better without you in it?! As a 25 year old with a Bachelor degree in Mental Health and Human Services I always stigmatized seeking help for myself. I THOUGHT that I could fix myself with my own learnings from my 4 years of college experience and my ability to go thru years of trauma and somehow finding a way out on my own. The abusive, drug addictive father, an abusive boyfriend who owned a rifle, an alcoholic mother, and a sister who judged because she never really understood. The battle continues when you try your damndest to please everyone but yourself.

My life wasn’t always so complicated. I played soccer and managed to be number one all throughout grade school, grew up in a Catholic community, went on cruises at least once a year, church every Sunday followed by a family trip on our boat to wherever we found a Florida island and great friends that I grew up with since grade school. Little did I know that my father would change when I was 14 due to HIS choice to turn to drugs. My father to this day does not remember what he put me and mother thru. My youngest memory was when my mother got a call from a FEMALE friend who my father also knew. My father laid on the couch with bloodshot eyes while my mother was next door drinking her nightly drink with Jack Daniels. My father yelled “who is it” and I kindly replied that it was for Mom. Mind you my guy friend was over from middle school and was going to the bathroom. My father flipped, thinking that my mother was cheating on him and followed me outside onto our outside deck. He pushed me against a sliding glass door, cornered me against the ledge of the pool and held me up in the air by my neck while yelling in my face that when he asks a question that I do nothing but answer. The phone laid on the ground with the person on the phone listening to the situation and my friend from middle school was watching thru the sliding glass doors thru the living room windows. I ran next door or my mother heard me screaming (I can’t remember which) so she came home and next thing I knew we were taking my friend home while I did nothing but cry and my friend held me all the way to his house. We returned home and I was so shaken up that I went next door while my mom tried to talk some “sense” into my father. I remember as a kid being scared for my mother and returning home to find my mother shaking, my father just relaxing on the couch with his feet up like nothing ever happened and glass all over the floor with my mothers purse and stuff everywhere. As my mother was shaking she was calling the cops and my sister(who was in college) was on her way home to visit from college with her boyfriend. It resulted in the cops threatening to taser my father while he still sat in his recliner with his feet up and eyes bloodshot. Unfortunately NOTHING could be done and all that we could do is all sleep in the same room and hope we were all safe. This was the great state of Florida for you. But guess what? This still wasn’t enough for me to go get help, therapy or anything. Not even trying to recover a relationship later on in life with my father, him holding a knife to my boyfriends throat(not the abusive one that comes next in this story). Nothing, absolutely nothing that my father did could “make me get help.” Or so I thought.

When I went off to college I decided that for my own sake I was going to help people just like me. I thought it was over, I thought the pain would stop, and most importantly I thought I had time to heal myself. Nope! I stigmatized myself to the point that I thought a relationship would help me. I fell madly in love with a man who was a pilot but we will just refer to him as J. J knew how to suck me in, he knew what to say, he knew how to hold me and J knew how to put a fake act on until I was sucked into his game. He never physically hurt me unless you count throwing me off a bed by pulling the sheet off the bed. This time it was about 8pm, he had been drinking-which does not justify his actions by any means but in fact made him worse. He was screaming so loud that the cops got called from one of the neighbors in which they reported ” a male voice screaming so loud.” The cops showed up and asked if they could take me anywhere else. The cop looked worried, looked at me like my mom looked at me when she was wanted me out of a situation with my father. They begged me to leave and I lied and said I was fine and stayed there for the night. The worse situation was when I FINALLY went back to my apartment and mistakenly left my stuff at his house. He used it as gateway to get me back there while he was drinking. 9pm I was getting calls and texts stating that my things were on the lawn and that I needed to come get them. Well….. they weren’t there. Weirdest thing is when I pulled into the driveway I swear I saw a man in a shadow that slowly disappeared as I walked into the house to grab my things. I wasn’t thinking straight and have no idea why I went into the house in the first place but before I know it I have a rifle pointed at my head. I shook with panic, didn’t even cry, I just needed to get out of the situation. I gave J whatever he wanted to hear, he made the excuse later that he “thought I was a intruder.” Seriously?! I fell for it!!!! I loved him so much I was going to believe anything. Somehow. Someway. One weekend I said enough is enough. I packed all my stuff, thanks to family and friends, called my mother and told her everything that had happened and waited for him to leave for the weekend for a trip and I left! Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end. I went to visit him two weeks later with a five hour drive in hopes that things would change. We had an amazing time but he wanted to party some more. That included drinking. He refused to quit. I ended the night at 4 am when he called me names in front of friends and I knew I had enough. As I was leaving he ran outside punched my car and left a dent called me a “cunt” and spit towards me. That was it for me. But it wasn’t because I stigmatized my whole mental health. Somehow I enrolled in my last semester and graduated with a 3.8 GPA finishing online. That still wasn’t enough to understand that I needed to get help or that I had any sort of Trauma.

So here comes the explanation. I have been quite the workaholic and that was my way of self-medicating. I lost myself in ways that I could not explain and in ways that I did not even know. I isolated, didn’t want to leave the house, cried all the time and thought it was because I hated my job. But no I resented people. 2 months ago at the age of 25 I finally hit rock bottom. My now healthy relationship was something I couldn’t appreciate, I fought with my aunt, my mother, my boyfriend and most importantly didn’t talk to my sister. I thought they wouldn’t understand or would disown me for being so depressed that I wanted to take my own life. I hoped that someone would crash into me and the misery would be over. I cried at work and my co-workers begged me to take some time to myself. I was taking care of everyone but myself my whole life. My grandfather(who’s story will be in another blog) my mother who was a functional drunk and all the people who I helped at work on a daily basis. I lost myself and to this day I work on myself. This is when I called out of work and ended up in a outpatient day program treatment. I despised going to a program like this because I helped people who went to this program in a different facility. I didn’t want to be on medication. It hurt my bones to even consider taking time for myself. Who was going to do my job better than me?! And this, my friends was the best choice I have made in my entire life.

While attending this program I learned more about myself in ten days than I could figure out about myself in 11 years. I signed up for therapy and my boyfriend let everyone who needed to know what was going on. Most people thought It was a joke because they had no idea I was feeling so depressed. I stigmatized my own mental health but accepted other people and their ability to show up for doctors appts etc,. We ALL need help and we all need to stop stigmatizing our own mental health and get the care we deserve. Never EVER put a time frame on figuring out what is going on in our great minds. Have you ever received help and if not please let this be a call out for getting help. I still continue to struggle everyday with nightmares, PTSD, skin condition, and depression. Don’t drown your way out of life like I almost did. As Dory says in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming.”

———-Mental with Taylor————