So I promised you guys I would keep things raw and real. That means speaking openly and honestly about everything, my wins, my losses, my struggles.
In grade school, I was bullied. I coped with it by learning how to be a chameleon by blending in with whoever I was around. This meant I would like what they liked and hate what they hated. Dressing the way they dressed, not the way I wanted to dress. Not having a true sense of “identity” because that’s not how you fit in.
As I grew older, this ‘coping mechanism’ became more severe and intense. Often resulting in a change of friends. This wasn’t just a result of friends though either, this grew into having identity issues. Not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, switching jobs often, not sticking with a plan.
This grew deeper. It worsened. I found myself lying to people to try and prevent them from leaving me. Especially in relationships. Fear of abandonment or rejection is something I struggle with immensely. Of course, that only worsened whatever situations I was in. When friendships or relationships ended, I often felt the pain so severe that I thought about hurting myself or worse, contemplating suicide.
These emotions were not just in relation to big things. I found that little things everyday would set me off and cause me to be angered or upset. The mood swings were intense and very real. Not once did I think this was unusual. I thought everyone felt emotions this intensely. But, boy was I wrong.
After talking to close friends and family as well as a therapist, it was determined I struggle with emotional dysregulation. It is unclear if I battle with Borderline Personality Disorder or just strong emotional swings as it is difficult to diagnose, but one thing is for sure, the moment I started to get help was the moment my whole life changed.
There is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of relationships to mend because of this, but one thing is for sure, and that is I am on a path of recovery. Knowing life doesn’t have to be this hard and that I don’t have to feel these emotions so intensely is a huge weight off of my shoulders. More so, I now understand why I lied and manipulated. It’s scary to admit it, but I never understood why I did the things I did. Often, I would do something and not realize it until after the fact.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to know you’re not alone. If it wasn’t for a good friend of mine and my family, I would have never realized my patterns. I would have never reached out to get help and realize that life doesn’t have to be this way. This is more than anxiety and depression, this is a long list of issues that I have to work through and get to the root of.
But whatever you’re suffering with, small or big, intense or just a little bit. You’re not alone. You don’t have to go through life struggling with mental illness. You just have to be ready to accept help. I’m still new to this journey, yet the relief I felt accepting help was like the weight of the world lifting off my shoulders.
It’s not easy admitting this. It’s not easy admitting you need help. There is such a stigma around mental illness and many people say they don’t look at you different or treat you differently, that’s not always true. But the people that love you or care about you, will surround you and accept who you are without judgement.
We are all human. Mental illness or not, we make mistakes. Take ownership of them. Take ownership of your life. End the stigma.