Oct 7, 2020
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
It’s never an easy thing to admit you’ve been lying to yourself.
In my case, I can’t say that I admitted to anything. It was almost like the realizations of “I am not alright” and “I need to talk with someone” broke through some type of mental dam and just washed over me. I had no idea what journey these realizations would lead to, but I knew what my next step needed to be; the next day I called my family doctor.
The next several months were a bit of a whirlwind. Multiple appointments with my family doctor, therapists, and a psychiatrist all lead to a diagnoses and I am now able to name my mental health issues:
– Generalized Anxiety Disorder
– Major Depression
– Dysthymia (aka Persistent Depressive Disorder)
I see no sense in hiding it.
Some might think there’s an element of shock getting this news, but if anything, I found a sense of relief to finally be able to put a name to my issues. Having talked with medical professionals for months, I started to put two and two together. I’m good like that (lol). What really surprised me was how much and how quickly certain changes would show benefits.
I had started to change my diet in November and have currently lost 40 pounds. I am a fat, fat man and have more to lose, but this is a great start. I also started medication (200mg of Sertraline, daily). I’m currently looking for a new therapist, but the conversations I’ve had and exercises I’ve learned from my previous therapist have helped immensely. Of all the benefits these changes bring, the most important to me is how my family dynamic has changed. It’s almost like night and day. I feel like I’ve become more open and have had more meaningful discussions with my wife and daughter. Some topics are still hard for me to discuss without that anxious, heart racing, short of breath feeling, but those instances are becoming fewer. I feel like I am more myself now than I have been in quite some time.
Of course, you can’t have positives without negatives. I’ve had an underlying sense of fear, because I want to be able to talk about this subject without repercussions. This is part of who I am, I see no sense in hiding it. Stigma be damned, I’m talking about this topic! I’ve also alienated myself socially and am currently working towards improving this, but I find this aspect very difficult.
My wellness journey is still in its infancy. There will be good days and bad. I have much to learn. One thing I know for sure is that I shouldn’t have left these issues go untreated for so long. Left unchecked, they wreaked havoc on all aspects of my life. But as I mentioned, things are improving.
You can do this.
To mark the start of my wellness journey, I decided to get a tattoo. It’s inspired by Project Semicolon and my Newfoundland roots. One of my favourite songs is “Lucky Me” by Great Big Sea. Alan Doyle’s lyric, “Storms always fade after they’ve had their way. They’re never as bad as they seem” has become a bit of a personal mantra. It serves as a reminder that whatever I’m dealing with at that moment will pass and that hope lays ahead.
It’s that hope that fuels my change. Hope for myself, my loved ones and anyone else that is struggling with their mental health. I also hope that you are well, but if you are not, that you start your own wellness journey. My hope is that you realize that you have value, you are loved and most importantly…you can do this.
I also hope that I’ll be allowed to submit an update to my wellness journey sometime soon. Although, I wouldn’t blame the awesome folks that run #SickNotWeak for not letting this happen because let’s be honest… there’s a reason why I’m not a writer for a living.
Thanks again and I hope to see you on the path to wellness.