Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No One But Me Can Save Myself

Photo by Linda Hamilton

The term "mental illness" has a very negative stigma, even in these modern times. Mental health issues get mentioned and most people don't know what to say and kind of look away. I know this first hand. I live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder every day of my life.

Anxiety or depression are difficult to figure out. It's not like a broken bone that very plainly heals. There isn't really a point where it gets better, there gets to be a point where you learn to manage it and hopefully get to live a more normal life in spite of your problems. My anxiety got so bad while I was in college that I was on the verge of dropping out and becoming a hermit because the very thought of leaving my apartment and interacting with people, registering for classes, or going to campus was enough to bring on panic attacks. Because anxiety issues aren't something that are talked about very often, I didn't know what was wrong with me. I regularly thought I was going insane.

I can look to that time as the lowest, darkest point in my life. Without my family and their helping me to get help through counseling and later medication, I'm not really sure what would have happened to me.

Why do I bring this up today? The very sad news that came out about former Lightning player and current Ottawa Senator's coach Luke Richardson's teenage daughter's passing. A memorial service was held for her today at Scotiabank Place. We don't know the circumstances that lead to her death, but I have seen the words depression mentioned a lot.

I'm not saying there is a quick fix for mental health challenges, because there isn't. I underwent a year of counseling while in college and was later put on medication. I'm still on medication and still in a place where I think I need it. But I have come miles from where I was, even if progress was an inch at a time. If you're in a dark place, please go to those you love. They will help you, even if you think it's irrational and insane.

My thoughts go out to Luke and his family in this very sad time.


  1. {{{HUGS}}} to You. I have family members with mental health needs as well and I grow tired of people saying things like "Why don't they just snap out of it?" or "Grow a pair and do something"
    Good for you recognizing the need to seek help through it. Sad story when anyone decides to end their life. But you're right...we can only save ourselves

  2. Tex, I was very very lucky. My parents literally helped pull me out of that hole and forced me to register for classes. And I am so glad they did. My sister made the phone call to the counseling center for me because my anxiety was so bad I couldn't call strangers.

    You do have to save save yourself, but I had amazing help.