I keep reading all these blogs out there by young people who are talking about their mental health. It saddens me that there are so many people with mental health problems. I never really saw my problem as mental health, at least that was not what I wanted to see. I just kept thinking I was having a bad day, lots of them when I think about it, and that went on for 25-30 years. I think it might have been because at work I was doing so well, during those work hours I felt fine, it was my personal life that was a total disaster. I had some work issues, but for the most part at work, I could hide from my life.
I’m 76 now, and I’ve seen a lot, done a lot and been a lot of places like many of you that are writing about mental health. After 17 years of child abuse, I suffered for 25 to 30 years with the effects of child abuse. I never really saw what I was going through as the effects of child abuse, it was just life. But I began to discover after many years that is not the kind of life everyone was living, I was experiencing things that weren’t happening to other people that I knew. But I didn’t understand what or why it was happening.
Much of the time I hated myself, I didn’t care whether I lived or died. People talk about anxiety, depression and bipolar and I’m sure I didn’t fit into any of these categories. Yah right! I never sought help because I didn’t understand for many years that I needed help. I know there must be other people out there that felt the way I did and didn’t understand that they needed help. Mental illness I believe is sometimes hard to detect because as a lot of you told, you hid it, the same as I did. I didn’t want anyone to know what I was feeling and all the crazy thoughts that I was having. At some point, I began to realize there was something wrong with me, and I was right.
I’m not exactly sure what made me decide that I needed help, but it finally happened. My life was so out of control, and this is what I write about in my book, the adult effects of child abuse. I write about what I went through and what it took me to get my act together. The last 30 years have been the best of my life, and I hope that all young people out there that are writing about these things don’t spend all the years that I did without finding happiness and peace in your life. Life can be good, it can be wonderful. Yes, even when it’s good and wonderful, I found I could still have ups and downs, but they don’t have to be to the extreme I had been experiencing. What I needed to do was cut out the extremes and make them more normal so my days would be better.
Everyone will find their own way out of the darkness, and for some of us it is therapy, and you get connected to a good therapist, and he/she really helps you. My biggest problem was that I couldn’t talk to the therapist I couldn’t tell him what was going on in my head, I was embarrassed by what was happening to me, and I thought people would look at me funny and think I was weird or crazy, LOL. Mental illness doesn’t mean that you are crazy, you are just struggling with who you are. Read my blog, “How Steadfast Thought Can Change Your Life.” It tells how I learned who I was. Now I’m no professional, and all I can tell you is based on my own personal experience with mental health.
Most of my blogs are about how I found God and my relationship to Him. In my earlier blogs, I kept my writing about God on the down low. One day I discovered there was someone I could always talk to and that was God, and believe it or not, God answers. Maybe not in the way I expected but he answers. He spoke through my own thinking. That still small voice I had learned about and blogged about. I learned one thing along the way, I could not define how God works, I just needed to accept what comes from Him and know when it is Him and when it is me, ugh!
How was I to know? That’s what instincts and intuition are for. That gut feeling got me through every time. I needed to choose my highest sense of right. God’s answer will never come in a form that is not in my best interest. If my highest sense of right is not good enough, he will let me know there is another way. I Learned that there is no crime in changing my mind. Based on new information I should change my mind. I learned I could depend on him. When I learned that, some of the confusion in my thinking started to clear up. I started listening and making better choices, and my life improved.
Those of you out there who are struggling with your identity, keep trying, never give up. One day you will discover that you are no longer struggling, your mind has cleared up, and there is a wonderful life ahead of you. You are the image and likeness of God, and that realization will change your life. It certainly changed mine for the better.