I believe that as human beings we are innately intuitive, and if we allow ourselves to be still and quiet we can figure out right from wrong, good from evil, truth from lies, the right path for us.
I knew something more was going on in me when I was 15 on a family vacation in Newfoundland. I didn’t tell anybody, I didn’t really think about it a lot, and I just remember the distinct thought of “Oh, something is wrong here, I am not myself.” I didn’t do anything about it; it became just another passing thought but it was there. I didn’t pick up the razor for the first time until 6 months after that. That’s a long time I think, it was building and building. I continued cutting for two months before I called my uncle in desperate sobs for help. That’s when this whole “getting better” thing began. It is then that I began seeing my first therapist, I was so desperate for someone to listen and help me that I didn’t even stop and consider if she was actually being helpful to me.
A few months later I was in my first hospital visit talking with the emergency room nurse who would not stop asking me about my eating, and if I had an eating disorder. At that time an eating disorder was nowhere on my radar, and was really not a problem at all but she was convinced that this was my issue. The next nurse thought I was having a dramatic response to my recent break up and told me I was going through typical teenage girl things and it would be better in the morning.
The first psychiatrist I ever saw at this hospital visit told me that I was having a delayed grief reaction and I would be back to normal in 6 months times.
I’ve been to the hospital many times since that first visit, I’ve seen countless nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, therapists, even ministers! Everyone has his or her own version of what my problem is and what needs to happen in order for me to be “fixed.” Just this past fall I had a psychiatric assessment done where I was told that I had Bipolar 2 Disorder, part of his reasoning was that I had a red t-shirt on. This same doctor prescribed me a new medication and told me: “if I felt the need to overdose on something could I use a different drug, because this one would be bad to overdose with,” followed by laughter.
I found this in one of my journals from the winter of 2016:
“I am tired.
I can NOT continue like this.
I am sick.
I need help.
I am trying to get help.
Nobody will listen.
I’ll do anything.
I will try anything.
I think people are under the impression that I am being dramatic, and that this is just a season of sadness that will pass.
I am sick.
Why won’t anybody believe me?”
I fought and fought and fought for somebody, anybody to help me. I saw whatever doctor anyone would suggest, I talked to whoever I was told to talk to, I tried exercise, I went to a meditation class, I tried clinical studies, I was on several different medications and so on. It is only now almost 6 years since this whole thing started that I am starting to see major improvements in my mental health. It is only now that I am comfortable and confident with the team of people that are helping me, and yes it is a team!
I have several friends, and work with many people who cannot find treatment that is a) accessible, and b) helpful. I work in corrections, and I would estimate that at least half of the people I work with are struggling with mental health in some way. I think this is evidence that we need to keep talking about this, and not only talk about it but invest in this conversation, financially, academically, emotionally, socially, physically in all facets of our community.
If you are someone who is seeking or thinking about seeking help for your mental health, I commend you for your strength and courage because that is no small feat. If you are feeling discouraged in your search for treatment, I am with you I understand the anger and frustration, trust me, but I encourage you to keep pushing forward because I promise that it is worth it. If you are someone who doesn’t struggle with mental health personally I encourage you to reflect on what I am saying here and maybe extend a hand to somebody who you know is struggling with this, because just knowing somebody is there makes a world of a difference.
Let us not feel defeated, but instead empowered and continue to fight this fight.
You are SO loved, SO worth it, and SO valued.
Until next time,
About Chelsea Moore
My name is Chelsea! I am in my third year of university studying Anthropology and Sociology. I started self harming when I was 15, had my first suicide attempt when I was 16, and that is when I was diagnosed with Depression. Since then my life has been about recovery, and throughout this journey writing has been my safe place. Throughout my journey I’ve learned that everyone has a story, and hurting together feels a lot better than hurting behind closed doors.I am passionate about bringing awareness to mental illness, and couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to write for Healthy Minds Canada!