Mental Health Friday #24

Mental Health Friday #24

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I had a pretty good childhood until around the age of six, that was when I was raped for the first time. I was a kid, I didn’t tell anyone and I didn’t know how to handle the trauma. I turned to smoking at that young age. We had a security guard in the estate and he introduced me to it. The assault didn’t stop at the age of six and by the time I turned ten, I’d been raped two more times by different men. 

We moved from that area to a different state, but I was already hooked to smoking (I went on to smoke for about ten years); maybe it was a coping mechanism for me.
I was ten. I knew I was depressed and became suicidal as well. I tried to kill myself but didn’t go through with it; I guess, despite it all, a part of me wanted to live.

When I got into grade 10, I had a really bad time there, which forced me to look within myself. I realised, my life was a mess but I wanted to be better; I felt that I could do better. I overheard my parents talking about a colleague of theirs who was a psychiatrist, so, I stole his contacts and called him. We talked on the phone and he fixed an appointment for me. All of these, I did, without the knowledge of my parents.

I was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He put me on medications but I never took them; Compliance to medication is not my strong suit.
Still, I kept on seeing him once every week. It was liberating, talking about everything without feeling like everything that happened was my fault, the rapes were my fault. I was fortunate to have a great psychiatrist.

My parents didn’t know I was seeing their colleague as my Psychiatrist, and so, one time, we met in public and my parents introduced me to him as their daughter. We exchanged greetings and he pretended he didn’t know me. I loved that he did.

I kept on seeing him secretly until I graduated from high school, I never went back after that. (I’ve been thinking a lot about going back now ). Although now, I can say that I learnt what I need to do for myself and how to take care of my mental health.

Still, I have so much anger bottled up inside about our attitude towards mental illness, molestation, child abuse and just things like these- I mean it is right there, happening before our eyes, but we just don’t see it. People think that if you are depressed or traumatised, there’s this somber image you fit into- but I wasn’t. I was the noisy bubbly child, the people pleaser and did not fit into “that image” at all. We are so self absorbed that we never pick up on the little things.

I find it brave of people who put a face to their mental illnesses and the trauma they’ve experienced.
So, this is it, my story. The journey of a child victim to an adult survivor and warrior.


This week’s Mental Health story is about someone who requested to remain anonymous and I respect that. Thank you very much for sharing the story of your bravery and for reminding us once again- Rape is NEVER the victim’s fault.

To everyone who showed up every friday to read these personal stories of our journey with mental, thank you very much for supporting this; with your stories and your emails and your likes and comments and shares. It is a blessing.

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’d love to have you. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com.

 

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Mental Health Friday #23

Mental Health Friday #23

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I’ve always been quite an anxious child. When I was young, if my parents would tell me they would be back at 8 or whatever, at 8.02 I am already panicked that they’ve been in a car crash.

When I was in about year 9 my anxiety got a lot worse, I was in a toxic friend group which worsened it over time without me realising. At the start of year 10, things got bad. I was at a point where I would come home from school everyday crying. After a lot of crying, I numbed out which I was so happy about.

Roughly 6 months after the ordeal with my mates, I decided to go and see a counsellor. I’m not sure what prompted it, I just decided to. I was then diagnosed with depression and anxiety, although my counsellor didn’t really understand it as I was always so happy and laughing (which is just my default I guess. Everyone assumes because someone tells jokes and laughs that they are happy, but it can be quite the opposite). The fact that a lot of people didn’t believe I was suffering made it worse I think, it’s still something I suffer with.

I remember one of my mates told me once “I’m probably more depressed than you because you don’t cry”. A big myth about mental illness is that you’re in your room crying 24/7, but that’s far from the truth. Over the year (year 11, I think it was at this point), my depression kept getting worse and there were many nights where I contemplated suicide and even wrote notes on some nights. I am not sure why my depression was so bad, I had a great life. Another thing about mental illness- it can just happen, nothing bad needs to have happened.

I got put on anti depressants which helped me a lot. Then in September, I was raped (you can read my post on that to find out more) and because I was so numbed out on the anti depressants, it didn’t really affect me. In January when it did affect me and I told my counsellor, they told me ‘that explained everything’. But in my opinion, I was just depressed because of how my brain was working, not because of the rape. Read more

Mental Health Friday: #1

Mental Health Friday: #1

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I was first diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder when I was five years old. At that time, my mother did not accept the diagnosis and moved forward with no help. At the age of 23, after I had my first child, I was diagnosed again. I did not accept my diagnosis at that time. At the age of 31, I was once again diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, ADHD and PTSD. I accepted my diagnosis’ and went for treatment.

Through my life, there have been great losses and broken relationships due to the stigma of mental illness. It amazes me when I come to realize how destructive ignorance can be. I wish the people in my life had been educated at least enough to know that mental illness, like any physical illness, is not a choice. It is not a moral issue. It has absolutely nothing to do with values and integrity. Mental illness does not mean less than.

There is so much brilliance hidden in people who are disregarded because of a diagnosis. So much courage, fortitude, loyalty and love. The creativity is endless. Just like anyone else, we are leaders, followers, teachers, friends, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters. We are parents who love our children and children who love our parents. We are human beings.

What I would really like to see, is a way for people to appreciate the value of a person with a mental illness. Just like everyone else, we each have gifts to give the world. Great gifts and it seems such a waste to throw away such assets, based on ignorant assumptions. Over the past fifteen years, I have struggled to accept, understand and become compliant with my diagnosis. Bi-Polar to me is not a bad thing anymore. I know what it means in my life and those around me and I know what I have to do to manage it. Read more