So, this is going to get real. But I feel the need to talk about mental health. I am having an internal war with my emotions. And, I am not able to process a damn thing that is happening in my mind. Maybe writing it down will help me, maybe this will help someone else, but I just need someone to talk to about things. And instead of texting my friends, I choose to write to you. Mostly, because it is 2 in the morning and I can’t turn off my brain from overthinking.
I am struggling mentally. And that feeling is ramped up to 11 because of the last two months. I am watching my wife struggle with her health due to issues she’s been dealing with since high school. I sit and worry about this all night long. And of course, the fear of losing her crosses my mind. Just that alone feels like hell. She is also a nurse so there is an added stress that is not usually there. The foundation I started to build upon feels as if it’s cracking below me. If I lost her, I know I would fall apart emotionally and physically.
My best friend in the world is also a nurse. I am surrounded by a lot of medical professionals. I worry about her a lot too. She told me her fears one night when discussing the situation, the world is in, and all I could do when we hung up the phone is cry.
Other friends that I view as family are dealing with their own struggles. They wonder when their job will reopen, how to help home school their children, sitting in a house by themselves without having someone come and visit. And that eats away at my soul.
I think about all of this on a daily basis. And I feel myself slipping into a state of depression.
I type my feelings out because of the inner turmoil of thoughts of I am not allowed to be depressed. We as a society have put such a bad stigma on mental health, talking about it is uncomfortable for some. And that is wrong. I work from home. I think I have been out of the house four or five times in the past two months. Grocery pickups are the best. Yet, I would love to sit down at a table in a restaurant and have a future memory with my friends. But I also know doing just that can risk the lives of all the people I care about the most.
I think that is where the struggle comes in for me. I am not on the frontlines, I am not driving freight from town to town, I am not dealing with rude customers on a daily basis. I am just an average Joe who may be a tad chubby who runs a publishing company out of his home office. And I have told myself that so much, that I believe that I am not allowed to feel a certain way. That I am not allowed to feel bad at all. The feeling of depression is all in my head.
The fact that I have convinced myself of the idea of not being allowed to be depressed is wrong. And I can’t be the only person who is feeling this way right now. A guess, countless others feel the same way too. But that stigma of mental health makes it even worse.
I broke down in February of this year and asked my doctor for help. I have never cried in a doctor’s office before, but this time, every feeling cascaded from the words I told her. The pent-up sadness, anger, helplessness, all of it came out. Before I walked into that room, I felt shame that I had to talk to a doctor over the way I was feeling. I felt shame because of the outside perspective looking at people dealing with mental health. And that is wrong. The fact it took me 35 years to admit to a doctor the way I am feeling mentally is not healthy. And for a short time, life felt different. But a global pandemic changed life in the blink of an eye.
I want whoever reads this to know something, the mental health stigma is bullshit. Somedays are going to be better than others, and anyone who is dealing with any mental health battle will understand that notion. Tomorrow might be worse than today; it might be better. But it starts with knowing that it is perfectly fine to feel depressed, to feel down about everything going on in our lives. Everyone of us is different, our lives are different. And that is the thing a lot of people tend to forget when it comes mental health.
We are allowed to mourn events that are missed, holidays, birthdays, those moments in life we cherish, we are allowed to mourn over those memories that’ll never exist. Do not let anyone tell you differently. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It is about time we realize that. Sometimes you just need to take mental health day and that is perfectly fine.
Remember it’s okay not to be okay.
If you do find yourself starting to feel down, to feel depressed, to feel something not explained, reach out to a best friend. Maybe even a family member. Some amazing apps allow you to sign up for counseling with licensed therapist such as Betterhelp and Talkspace. Things need to change and the way we look at mental health needs to be one of those changes.