Thursday, 20 March 2014

My life before diagnosis

When I was a little girl growing up, I didn’t think much. I loved to run around outside with my friends and live in the present, because the future just never occurred to me. I lived at home with a family of six including myself; two loving parents, two older sisters, and one older brother. Life was something I was absolutely full of, it wasn’t a word to describe a timespan, it just described me, and back then, I didn’t know or care who I really was. All I knew was I would look up to my family, get excited for tomorrow, and find the good in all people. Above all, I was never one to cry much in regular circumstances. My happiness consisted of smiles, and my sadness usually consists of frowns, on the rare occasion it was accompanied by some tears. I guess you could say I was a normal girl, living a normal life, having normal expectations. 
My mom is a beautiful, strong, and independent woman. As a child, I have memories of singing in the car with her, letting her braid my hair, and how her home cooked meals melted in our mouths. She always makes us her first priority, would fight for each of us until death, stood by us even when we were wrong, but most of all, she is our rock. Over the timespan of my life I have noticed one important thing, something that has always mattered, but has never been clear to me until now. She bottles everything up, because she is too busy being everyone else's strength. The biggest influence in my life, the most important person in my life, and the person who has gotten me through life alive time and time again. So I ask myself all the time, who is being strong for her? 
My dad is just as similar. It can take quite a bit to get him to talk, and when he does, he usually does so briefly. He was always our courage & our strength. He always believed that any of us could do anything we set our minds to, he is the man that we look for in our future husbands. 

I had 17 years of life before I was properly diagnosed with depression and anxiety. A few years later looking back, it is starting to make a little bit of sense now. 

When I would get upset about something I would overthink the irrational thoughts of the situation. I worked myself up to fear the worst part of a situation before any normal brain would even process that something that bad could actually happen. I was only like this probably around grade 6 of my life. But before diagnosis, it just felt normal to me. I thought I was a sensitive person, and it never occurred to me that it could be a mental illness. 

I'm ashamed of how little I knew about mental illnesses before my own personal experience with one. They were non-existent to me, I felt like they were so foreign that I could not comprehend how they could even occur in the first place. 

Something I felt very strongly about back then was that someone with a mental illness needed to be put in a mental hospital. That they needed help 24/7 around the clock. I had my very own strong opinions of suicide, and how people could even get that low. I just could not wrap my young mind around these ideas. I was unfortunately undereducated about these topics. I know now that isn't the case, because you don't always need to be watched around the clock, and some people just need a little bit of support. But most importantly, I know now that it is okay to ask for help.

So as a young 20 year old woman, I look back on how childish I was back then, and part of me wishes I could be in the moment again -- where I didn't have to think about my brain. That moment that I just felt normal. Because before diagnosis, I felt completely free, untouchable, and unrealistically invincible.