Have you ever experienced a life’s event so powerful that it affects your mind, mood, and ability to function? Every person has down days when they don’t feel quiet like themselves but eventually it passes and they carry on. However, for people with Mental Illness the days pass and the darkness or confusion lingers, it doesn’t lift, it persists. This isn’t something a person causes nor has control over. Individuals respond to trauma in different ways. For me, I wasn’t faced with Mental Illness until 2011 when I got hurt at work, had to leave my career, Endometriosis was out of control, and my mom got diagnosed with Cancer. It was all too much at one time for me to process and I had to seek help. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. That diagnosis fit me like a well made dress. I have been anxious all of my life. I was raised by anxious women but to me that was normal not an illness. The anxiety became a problem and diagnosis because it started to impact my everyday life and cause mental changes that had to be addressed.
Eventually, GAD was under control through medication and counseling and things got better, then February 29, 2016 happened. The day my sister died I lost it, literally. It was an unexpected death and sudden shock that shook me to my core and devastated my entire existence. I was emotionally devoured, physically wrecked, and mentally ruined. I had a mental breakdown that required immediate help and support. I had a team of Mental Health Practitioners and a Life Coach. I was diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder with Psychosis, and Anxiety. I didn’t choose ANY of this, the trauma of my sister’s death was more than I could handle and my brain went into shock to protect me. I will discuss my progress and treatment in another post.
SPOILER ALERT: I am RESILIENT as hell!!!
It vexes my soul to the point of rage when people trivialize Mental Illness and label it as a “choice.” I don’t know ANYBODY who would choose to be depressed, have anxiety, or have any mood or mental health challenge, the shit doesn’t feel good.
Did the Schizophrenic person choose it?
Did the person with Multiple Personalities choose them?
Did the Bipolar person choose it?
NO, THEY DID NOT AND NEITHER DID THE PERSON BATTLING DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, OR BOTH. WE DIDN’T STAND IN LINE AND SAY I WANT THAT!
Is Cancer a choice?
Is Gastroparesis a choice?
Is Infertility a choice?
Is Lupus a choice?
Is Epilepsy a choice?
Is Asthma a choice?
Is Autism a choice?
Is Cerebral Palsy a choice?
Is being deaf a choice?
Is being blind a choice?
None of these are choices and neither are Mental Health Illnesses. Yes, we can be taught how to retraining our brains/thoughts and use coping techniques and live fulfilling and healthy lives but let’s be clear, MENTAL HEALTH ILLNESS IS NOT A CHOICE.