Everyone heals differently. Everyone handles their mental health in different ways. Some people turn to the gym for stress release and waves of endorphins. Others turn to meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, and religion for peace of mind and body. Therapy and visiting a doctor are yet another way through which people find clarity and control over their demons. There are also people who take medication which helps treat their mental illness. Some people even do one or more of the above. Whatever path you choose to find healing is your decision, and it is no one else’s place to judge your path. We all are different people, therefore we need different things. Healing is not a one size fits all deal, and we should all be encouraged to find what helps us.
I began my healing in 2013 when I graduated high school and was headed to college. Even though it was never obvious, I had always known I had depression. I finally saw what a monster it was.
I had been in therapy since I was about 8 years old because of my parents’ divorce, and I felt like I was doing fine. However, I went to college that fall and started to experience extreme panic attacks and fell into a deep depression. I dropped out a month later and moved home to “solve” this hiccup on my path. A few appointments later, I found my way to a new doctor (since I was too old for my pediatrician) and was put on antidepressants. This continued until 2016 when I found a new physician (since mine was getting me nowhere) who was an adult therapist.
I was put on three different medications, went to intensive therapy on and off and found myself at college graduation three years later. Honestly? I was proud I made it that far because during that time I was drowning. I was taking my medications, working out every day, going to therapy – why wasn’t I better?
Afterward, I moved home and began the search for a full-time job.
The transition to adulthood is hard and it is very real. My anxiety and depression were still there in full swing but I was able to get through a few months without a total meltdown. After weeks of interviews, I was offered a job, but two weeks in, I quit. I spiraled right back into the deep end and immediately ran to my general doc for a med change.
A year went by, and I thought I solved it and got offered a similar position to the one before. Two days after accepting the job offer, I spiraled into a manic episode and crashed all the way to level 1 that lasted three months. I started my new job, and after one day I almost landed myself in the hospital from violent panic attacks. So I quit. I had to start all over again, where should I even begin?
This was me in August of 2019. This was me two months ago. In those two months, I have found more answers than I ever have before.
I found a professional in the field I was looking for.
Not my primary doctor.
Not a family therapist.
A doctor, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating mental illnesses day in and day out. A therapist who met me where I was, and challenges me in ways I can understand.
I share this story because mental illness is no joke. It is neither fake nor is it something that people make up. It is real and it is raw. My brain is sick and I had spent the last six years searching for answers from people not qualified to give me any. It is vital to find a doctor who specializes in what you are searching for.
My doctor spent my first appointment talking to me about my life and then ran a DNA test to see what medications work with my genetics. It turns out, the five different medications I’ve previously tried and was rotated on did not work for my genetics. Not one. They were not a match for me, chemically. I spent six years spending money and searching for answers from doctors who did not have the background to help me.
So if you want to change your medication or start taking it – find someone who specializes in it.
If you want to start working out and don’t know where to start – find a trainer at a nearby gym.
If you want to learn meditation – find a class or research it.
And if you want to delve deeper into spirituality – find a spiritual guide to help you.
Healing is important and hard. But I can promise you that finding someone you can trust and who can guide you will make the greatest difference in your life. I have made more progress in the past four months than I have in six years. I owe it all to the professionals who work hard to help people such as myself for a living. If you are struggling and looking for help, ask your family, friends, or community. There are more people than you know who are in the same boat and may have some insights as to how to get you to where you need to be. Your path is not a one size fits all, and every journey is different. Find what gives you strength and dive headfirst into it. Healing is hard, but it is so worth it.