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Trauma is one of the prime factors that lead individuals into being diagnosed with mental illness. It is our body’s way of adapting to a threat, similarly, when we get a common illness such as the flu. Our circulatory system is sent into overdrive, our heart pounds, and our brain begins secreting catecholamine. It is this constant state of fight or flight that throws our body into disarray. Over time it surfaces as new symptoms, for me its extreme anxiety and depression.
Everyone’s trauma story is unique and subjective. I grew up in a household that one paper appeared to be perfect. Stay at home mom. Dad with higher than the average paying job. Pulling off that mask of a family, you find an extremely unstable environment.
A lot of these issues surfaced as a result of a mom living with a borderline personality disorder. I was her support system when my dad was always gone and my sister was rebelling against it all. My mom is truly one of the most important people in the world to me, I had to be there for her to keep her alive. The bad days felt never-ending and the good were rarely ever present. The only emotion that was okay to feel was happiness for the majority of my life. When my anger eventually surfaced my mom took me to be put on every med she could. “This is bad, my daughter can’t be like this,” she’d say. This lead to several attempts at ending my life and a lack of trust in my self and others.
Up until a year ago, I was too afraid of what it meant to be medicated and have a mental health diagnosis. As a social worker, I thought it was to my demise. A fear that I would be triggered by the simplest thing and I would need to get away from working in the mental health sector because of my own challenges. Luckily, I stumbled upon music and singing the dark things going on in my head, isolation, self-hate, self-doubt, and acceptance. I thought to myself: Why do I feel so wrong? Why am I giving into the stigma? How can I make changes for myself to feel better? What can I do to impact others?
Right now, I’m at the point in my mental health journey to be setting boundaries to focus on my own wellness and less on hers. I am a depressed and anxious person who will never be good enough for myself. With the help of one on one therapy, medication, DBT group therapy, and a super supportive workplace I am walking the path. We will see where it takes me.