Mental Illness is Not a dirty word
Mental illness, a word that many will hear and associate with many different things, some look at mental illness as a taboo when it comes to talking about the subject. Although it seems like society is adjusting to the subject being blasted across the news, the news doesn’t truly display the damage Mental illness does. The reason I know is because I used to suffer from mental illness, but it took a lot of work to get where I am today.
Growing up Mental illness wasn’t really a subject I spoke about and it definitely wasn’t spoken to me, but I suffered. It is my belief it started when I was in my teens, but it was created by events that affected my life. I can only speak for me, but maybe what I have to resonates with those who read this. Growing up I had a Mother, a Father, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins like most, but the factor that stood out for me was the involvement those in my life had, especially during the most critical stages in my life.
This may go in a little into my story, so I apologize, but this will provide some context to hopefully examine how I may have developed mental illness in the first place. This is not to cry about my story or play victim, as many those who read this may say well I have had it a lot worse than you, so let me tell you. I know those who suffer from mental illness have probably had worse situations that caused mental illness.
The Story of My Struggle
Growing up like I mentioned I grew up fairly average upbringing, like I mentioned I had a Mother, Father, who were divorced at a young age, but has been in life until now. When Mom and Dad divorced, we were not equipped to live on our own, so at the time my Mother searched for her long lost father, who she found, a man who hadn’t been in her life for decades, but she felt the need to find him, a decision I wish I could have advised her not too. Due to the divorce, we went to go live with him in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment for me and my sister.
Growing up this man began what would be considered abuse that would affect me for the rest of my life, nothing physical all verbal and emotional as a strict disciplinarian who would act as my father, make in stand in the corner when I misbehaved, yell at me, call me names, use profanity when ever he had the chance. The point in my life is kind of blurb except those things, I don’t remember the happy moments, but I am sure there were some or many. My mother was our defender, but at the same time she was helpless unable to support herself, probably due to her own mental , physical and emotional abuse she suffered growing up. My mom pretty much did everything she could to keep it going for me and my sister , she did work, but it was never enough to get out of poverty, as we continued to depend on my grandfather.
This cycle went on until the day she died in 2015, free at last as she depended on him, during the years of dependence she develop sicknesses, probably due to the amount of stress he imposed on her and all of us, but as Kids and Teens, it affects us differently until we get old enough to understand and process the evil affect evil people have on you. Through my teens, it progressed even worse with the verbal abuse at times I was pushed around, as he bullied his way into subjecting me manual labor, not chores, physical manual labor because he had no one else to do it. Again I can’t say I remember those years, it’s amazing how it’s all blocked out if and when I had fun as a child and a teen, but there are instances.
Every day growing up, the same routine, called stupid for the most part growing up, told I wouldn’t amount to anything and for the most part I believe it, which I feel has affected me to this day. The other side of the coin many may ask is where was your father, like I mentioned he was in our lives on a weekend basis, but even that seemed like a getaway to not being told how stupid or worthless I was. Spending time with my father, I can say I feel he does love me, but was never a man to show it, maybe that was one of the reasons my mother and father didn’t last. I understand that all men are different, some are and many are not emotional , but I really did look for that in my father. I looked for someone to talk to me, hug me, tell me he was proud of me, I don’t remember that ever happening growing up, but I am sure it happened.
Those Who Were Supposed to Be There
Combined with the two men in my life who were supposed to offer the support I needed, I didn’t get. Mom was there, but when it comes to a boy and his father, those relationships I believe have an effect over a boy who one day turns into a man mental stability and just overall stability . In high school around the age of 17/18 that’s when my mental health really started to decline, slowly at first.
Like many experienced sadness, some hopefulness, fear of the future, and of course all the emotions a teen is going through trying to figure out who I was, I can say maybe my feelings where not A-typical but it was A-typical for me, because I didn’t feel in control anymore, on top of that I was bullied by high school staff. After high school, went off to college, mental heath quickly spiraled out of control as I not only homesick, but I didn’t have a grasp on what was happening to me, I did seek help in High school and college seeing the psychologist, but that’s all it was no meds at this point.
I quickly left college and went back home, as my mental health was spiraling out of control, I was an emotional wreak, now living back home about to be emotional abused again, this time I was older, my grandfather felt it necessary to be even harder on me, making my life a daily hell to live under his roof, i quickly move in Dad. Moving in with dad allowed to have some freedom, but it will refer to that Blog entitled : Saying Goodbye to the House of Evil .
If you have gotten to this point, then you must want to know how I overcame my mental illness, first I was not easy, from 1997 – 2008 those were probably the toughest years of my life, years that I am sorry to say I caused a lot of damage to myself mental, emotionally and even professionally. I was on medications for a number of years, went to to see psychologist and psychiatrists , especially after a every hard time in February 2007 when I was hospitalized. I share this with you because there is a light at the end of tunnel, I may seen hopeless and at times you do feel like giving up, up don’t give up, I can say that if I had, I would not have what I have to day which is my wife and daughter who I love dearly.
Where It Has Lead Me
Mental illness many times does go unnoticed, because from many like myself who suffered we were told and felt it’s best not to say anything and be a downer to those around us. I understand its hard subject to talk about, because in many cases you do talk about it and it really is a down subject, but it doesn’t have to be, it can be an open dialogue to what is going on with a person and it’s best just to listen, don’t be afraid to ask question and learn to understand, have patience because mental illness can cause an individual to change and act differently which is nothing to do with you in most cases, we are just trying to cope the best way we can. We know its hard on family and friends to see us like that and you may feel helpless, but a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on is sometimes what we need, we don’t need others trying to solve the issues of our life for us.
Other ways I have been able to cope is exercise, eating right, putting aside the little things that don’t matter, live in the now, spend time with those you love, try to enjoy life and know tomorrow will be better and know in the long run you are stronger then you think, I know I am. I think the Joseph from 2007 would have cracked by know will all the pressure I have now taking care of a family, jobs, money stresses, but at the end of day my life is better here on earth with them and those around you feel the same way.
Invest in yourself, as for myself, that is why writing is one of passions, that allows me to express myself each day, something no one can take a way.
Be strong, Your are strong!
If you do feel like you can’t cope please speak with someone like a as Pastor, due to my faith, has strengthen me in having peace in my life, although life will never be perfect, there are those who care and who will listen.