Pretending to be a functional human being

This article showed up in one of my social media feeds: http://www.ebony.com/wellness-empowerment/depression-and-the-black-superwoman-syndrome

I had been thinking about writing something regarding the way I pretend to be a functional human being. I wake up with pain of some sort every day on top of the depression (or alongside or whatever). Then I manage to get out of bed and do stuff. Nearly every day. To the extent that my partner frequently doesn’t realize just how non-functional I really am/feel. At my follow up with my doc, I’m going to ask her to do a thorough diagnosis of my arthritis and to discuss better pain management. My initial diagnosis a decade ago came with no discussion about how to manage it. Just a “yep, you have arthritis”. So I’ve mostly been using NSAIDS which is a concern with my recent decrease of kidney function.

So, it was incredibly difficult for me to start opening up about my struggles. My struggle with my depression, my struggle with my pain, my struggle with functioning at all. I spent a good deal of 2013 in bed.

Last year around this time, I took the step of getting a therapy appointment and then actually showing up for it. Thank goodness for therapists with online appointment requests! Making a phone call would have been too much. Phone calls fall squarely under social anxiety for me. I find them incredibly difficult at the best of times. A year ago, they were nearly impossible for me.

Some months after starting therapy, I started writing about depression on social media and the positive feedback I received was just amazing.  Opening up was a huge step in helping myself and apparently, helping others.

The stigma around mental health in the black community is awful.  I am here to say mental illness is not a moral failing.  It is a health issue.  There are resources out there to provide support, assistance and a path to wellness.  There should be no shame in having a mental illness nor in seeking help.

In the Beginning

As part of my therapy for depression, I’ve been openly talking about my struggle on social media (google + and facebook, mostly with a few posts on DreamWidth which are mirrored to LiveJournal).  I’ve been thinking of setting up an actual blog to try to reach more folks.  Not just out of vanity but because I want other folks suffering from mental health issues to know that they are not alone.  Mental illness is not a moral failing, it is a health issue.   I also want to point folks at useful resources such as www.nami.org

NAMI is National Alliance on Mental Illness and it raises awareness, offers support for those with mental health issues and their families.  There are NAMI chapters all across the US.

I also hope to find resources for those outside the US but most of my experience is US based including with the deeply flawed US health system.

I also have physical health issues which are tied into my mental health. I have arthritis and chronic back pain.  So I will likely write often about coping with those.  It is all connected to my overall general wellness.

Welcome aboard.  I hope to provide useful information and insights amidst my ramblings here.  I welcome feedback but will moderate comments to weed out abuse, trolling and the like.

~hugs~

Cheryl