My moods are a roller coaster. I see life through the lens of constant up and down. Not many people know this about me, because I have a natural life force and an outgoing personality. Mental illness is so often a hidden thing. Its sufferers are often adept at hiding its symptoms. The image you have of mental illness often comes from the movies. The movies have a habit of presenting mental illness in its extreme form. But not all of us are like that.
It started slowly and picked up pace quickly. Starting with the little things, working out more, and more, and more. Till I was still unsatisfied. Then it turned to eating. Eating less and less. Wanting to rip my “fat” off my body, to tear away all of the skin. Eventually, it turned into endless hours of working out but never having enough energy. Counting every single chip. The “dark age” of my life lasted, long but short. Like I mentioned it started slow. With me nothing more but not doing anything. It went on like this for almost a year. Before I was working out day in and day out; before I was eating less than one hundred calories a day. Before, I was crying over how I looked not talking to anyone. Wondering why I was like this.
What Began as a Joke, Became My Personal NightmareWhen my husband and I first moved to Brown County, we jokingly called our beloved acreage “Edelen Acres” after Green Acres. Green Acres was an American sitcom starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. A couple from New York City move to a country farm. Recently relocated back to Ohio from Silicon Valley, I did so tongue-in-cheek. Both being high technology professionals, I was in earnest that we could turn our hand at organic farming. But as life would have it, my dream home became the set for my own personal nightmare.
My Mental Health Journey
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 50 percent of individuals with severe mental health disorders are affected by substance use. In addition, 37 percent of alcohol users and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
Double trouble but there is hope because researchers are looking into the connection between these disorders and Physicians are developing treatments integrating the recovery program and treatment plans. Also, researchers are looking into the relationship between early substance use and the increases in likely future problems with alcohol and drugs. I believe the more we know about something, the better we are able to find solutions. I started on the path of substance abuse as a young teen. I have continued to work through this along with the mental illness conditions I am experiencing.
Throughout the course of a person’s life, one could experience the simple pleasures of each day; a casual walk in a nearby park, window shopping on a lazy Sunday afternoon, coffee and a paperback book in hand at a local café, live sporting events and outdoor concerts with friends or a long distance phone call from a loving family member. However, one could remove themselves from these enjoyable everyday gifts in a heartbeat. It can creep up like a ferocious predator in the night without any warning. For most people, this debilitating condition can easily cover anyone like a dark blanket and suffocate them in a sea of never-ending despair. Unfortunately, I was a victim of depression and this is a true story of my personal battle and my ultimate recovery.
We all know the feeling…that feeling when you just can’t muster up the strength to get out of bed. Maybe it’s the work-week and your alarm just won’t shut up. Maybe it’s the weekend and you can’t find a good reason to plant your feet on the floor and make something out of the day. Whatever the situation, we can all relate. And for someone with depression, this can be especially difficult.