I used to write about mental health all of the time. While covering different takes on anxiety, bullying, depression, suicide prevention, and hope for the broken I got my start as a writer. I was approached by one of the editors of The Hopeline after they read a blog post that I wrote, and Lama-Leah went from there. I’ve been featured on their website and different sources and have guessed blogged on different sites, and have been published.
Lately, I haven’t had a desire to write about this topic. You see, when I first started writing, this wasn’t a niche that was nearly as popular as it is now. I’ve struggled to come up with original content that hasn’t been written about 10,000 times before.
Today, I’m keeping it simple. I decided since many of my readers have an update about my journey. In my last post, I briefly spoke about how I don’t suffer from mental illness the way I did a few years ago. So? How did this happen? Well, after years of expiramenting I’ve figured out what works for me, right now.
- Well, the first thing was having years of therapy. I haven’t seen my childhood counselor in about four years, but the wisdom she gave me is still in my head. Often times when I start having anxiety, I think to myself what would Liz tell me? Some days, its what would Frasier Crane say? From there, I have a mental therapy session with myself. I use the techniques that she taught me and apply them to my everyday life. This may sound silly, but this technique keeps me grounded in my day to day routine.
- Second, I’ve had to learn how to distance myself from toxic relationships, even if it’s family. This is difficult. I HATE conflict, but I’ve had the hard way that life is easier when your relationships don’t wear you down with every fiber in your soul.
My biggest change has been my lifestyle. 16 year old me was on birth control, ate Chick fila (it was a cringy time- I promise you I’m not homophobic), and had extreme mood swings. Birth control had its benefits. For instance, my skin looked great! My periods were irregular, and my hormones changed significantly. From the pill, I developed anxiety so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed. I found myself dissociating during times that I needed to focus. It felt like my personality changed, and I truly couldn’t be myself because I lost sight of who that was. From the pill, my anxiety spiked and I was advised to get on more medication. Again, I had the same results. I had no energy, personality, and felt numb but also sad 24/7.
After my suicide attempt, I started watching documentaries at night. Previously, I was listening to sad girl music allllllll night long and it was not healthy. I was advised to change what I was consuming, and it was the best/most practical thing I could’ve done.
I made the change to watching educational media at night and become informed on a variety of topics. One night, I came across a video from PETA about animal agriculture. This video led to more videos, and documentaries such as What the Health, and Cowspiracy. I became enlightened about what I was doing to the animals, the planet, and my health and started eating vegetarian when I could. I wasn’t fully committed to not eating animals, but I was aware of what I was doing to those cute cows. Eventually, I made the switch and became fully on board.
- At the beginning of 2017, I spent a week and a half visiting my Sister in a different state. At the time, she was on a vegan diet, therefore, I wasn’t eating any animal products. In the short period that I was plant-based, I had noticeable changes in my mental health. I wasn’t as anxious, and it no longer felt like I had stones attached to my body that was wearing me down. I had energy and a little bit of pep in my step for the first time in years. The difference in my mental health could truly be compared to night and day. I was hooked, and when my mom picked me up from the airport, I informed her that I was going plant-based. As time went on, it continued to improve. Within a few weeks, I made the choice to not refill my pills after I ran out. *Yes, I understand that wasn’t the brightest idea from a health standpoint but sometimes I make rash decisions ok?* I found myself dissociating less, and getting out of bed for the day became easier.
Since incorporating these changes, my brain health hasn’t been perfect by any means, but it has greatly improved. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for me. I’ve taken medication, tried meditation, diffused essential oils, and have spent years in therapy. The formula that works for me, may not work for you and thats alright. All of our stories, bodies, and minds are individually unique, therefore our health journeys will be different.
I’m sharing my solutions because I know the feeling of desperation. For me, depression led me to believe that my health could never change. I didn’t see the point of being on this planet if I couldn’t truly live, but I’m thankful as hell that I stuck things out long enough to figure out how to make things work for me. If you are hurting, please reach out to someone and make a gameplan. Life isn’t always pleasant, but I promise you it’s worth it.
As always, I’m here to share my hope and be vulnerable and real with the internet. If you are struggling, I want to remind to have hope.
PC: Hande Cimenser