I’ve done a lot of things that many would consider frightening…jumping out of a plane, traveling through West Africa alone, diving from cliffs into unknown waters …. even quitting my awesome job in order to move to Brasil. But the most frightening time of my life was the year after I sold my half of a restaurant/cafe business. Days before signing the legal papers, I bought a plane ticket to Bahia then stayed in Brazil for four months to experience anything new and unfamiliar. I couldn’t bare the thought of walking around the old neighborhood while seeing former customers and friends. Nor could I answer any more questions about why I had left the cafe and what had happened. I needed to escape.
Thinking back, I was filled with anger because I had spent more than a year arguing, debating, and fighting with my ex-business partner yet still lost the war. I was devastated because I made my business my life and I had no idea what I was going to do next. I found it excruciating to say the words, I need help … I feel betrayed … I’m hurting and don’t know what to do. Despite the fact that there were (and still are) many examples of love in my life such as, a supportive family, incredible friendships, a loving boyfriend, plus all of my basic needs were met, I still spent many days feeling bad about myself and empty inside.
I’m sharing because I recently discovered that yesterday marked the end of Mental Illness Awareness Week. And before you say to yourself, “I didn’t know Lala was mentally ill or sick in the head”, let me say that I’m not. However, there was a moment when I felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown.
And just when the heaviness was making its way out the door, I began to have thoughts of taking my own life. Why was this happening?! I had finally stopped hating my ex-partner, life was coming together. I thought I was going bonkers, madder than mad. I confided in a few friends; one of them asked if I’d been taking birth control pills. I replied, only for the last 2 or 3months but yes. My doctor had prescribed a new birth control pill called Seasonale. My friend confessed that she too had had suicidal thoughts while taking the same medication. I stopped taking those things immediately and by the end of the following week, I was feeling more energetic and optimistic. I should have known, I can barely drink a cup of coffee without my heart jumping out of my chest.
It hadn’t occurred to me until last year while in Brasil that I had been depressed because I had many good days; I would smile, laugh, and keep busy. But I was. I had cried more that year than my entire life, most days I didn’t really care what I was wearing, and I hardly went outdoors by myself. My passion for life was dormant. I was complacent, negative, and just going through the motions.
And although I triumphed over my depression, which lasted a little over a year, there are many, who do not. This has been evident over the last few weeks as random acts of violence have been committed around the country.
How would you describe your mental health? If you are dealing with pain or hurting inside, reach out to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a family member or friend, there are many resources. I have a friend who volunteers for the Samaritans: 1-877-870- 4673. They are available 365 days/24 hours. It’s important for us to eat well, exercise, and live to our fullest potential but none of this is possible if our mind is not right.
Also, if you have a friend, co-worker or family member who has been acting differently or who seems down and it isn’t getting any better, reach out. Spend an extra bit of time, be present for them, and show them that you care. Today, there are more ways to get in touch with folks with social media, email, and phone yet we are doing a lot less actual communicating. Pick up the phone and call, it won’t bite.
Sending love and light!
p.s. my laptop has been repaired :) i will be blogging on a regular basis. yippee!
(also, i am doing great, feeling healthy, and enjoying my life immensely – please do not worry, i totally appreciate being alive)