Mental health has been a prominent subject in my life for quite a few years now. I have experienced it on many different levels. I personally have suffered from mental health challenges, my family has suffered from it, and my friends have suffered from it. It amazes me when I think back about how prominent this disease has become. I am Diagnosed PTSD and Bipolar ll. Anxiety is a huge part of both of these diagnoses. A large trauma in my second year of University created an amplifying affect on symptoms that I had already been experiencing since what I like to estimate was my 15th birthday.
In high school I was experiencing severe worry and stress that would send me into emotional tail spins which would leave my mother, family members, teachers and friends wondering what the heck was going on with me. Everyone including myself chalked it up to teenage hormones, angst and stressors. I would break down into tears in the middle of math class asking for the help that I felt I needed and deserved and found my actions being frowned upon as bad behaviour rather than recognized as a cry for help.
Finally, my mother recognized my need for further intervention and took me to a local naturopath.
Fast forward to second year university, a couple months after my trauma and the anxiety was worse than I had ever experienced it. I spent a majority of my time crying, lashing out, having panic attacks and sleeping, not knowing what I was experiencing or why. Finally coming to the conclusion that I had been through a large trauma I sought help.
At my worst I was not able to leave my house without my father, could not sleep alone in my own room and experienced crippling night terrors. I started seeing my naturopath again, applied to a PTSD recovery inpatient program and dropped out of school.
Fast forward through my inpatient program, I walked out with new diagnoses and strategies. The diagnoses I now openly and confidently talk about today. I am diagnosed PTSD and Bipolar ll. These diagnoses do not define me, they do not inhibit me, they just create a clarity and awareness that I have never had before. It has opened up doors to recovery that I never could have thought possible until this present day. My mental health journey has been the hardest thing I have ever had to overcome.
If I was to give advice to someone suffering from a mental illness, it would be that what you are experiencing does not define you, nor should it inhibit you. It is just an obstacle to overcome and conquer, that you may have to face time and time again. Ongoing self compassion is the road to success. These words may cause someone at the start of their journey to feel frustrated, angry or mislead, but you are not broken or weak, just trust that you are strong enough to overcome your own demons and create the life you have always wanted.
- Carley Schandlen