I am now a married mom of two little boys. Jacob and I have built a life that I am incredibly proud of. The girl who was sure her world was crashing down now has everything she ever really wanted. Does that mean it’s great all the time? Of course not. But, I can honestly say that I never thought I would be in the place I am now.
Thanks to a wonderful support group, and deciding that enough was enough, I was able to take steps toward gaining a life I wanted. I still regularly see my counselor and have had handfuls of trial-and-error moments with medication. I am well aware that I will be on medication for the remainder of my life. At times it can be overwhelming, but I try to remember that as humans, we are all imperfect, and we strive to do the best we can and keep going.
I decided long ago that I would be open to sharing my story. It can be hard, and you always fear judgment from others. However, it needs to be done. I have been given an incredible platform that I am very thankful for, and I do not want to waste it. Mental health is a conversation that needs to be had much more often. Because of the stigma attached, many people do not seek help. At one point, I was one of those people. I remember feeling utterly alone, and I would not wish those feelings on anyone. Chances are that you know several individuals who are struggling, and it’s entirely possible that the façade you see on social media is a deliberate attempt to cover up what is happening behind closed doors.
I also personally believe that there is a false narrative many fall into when it comes to medication. I completely understand that some people are against taking it, but for many of us, it is a game changer. Someone’s opinion on therapy or medication should absolutely not affect yours. It’s so important that we remain open and aware and are there to lean on one another when needed.
It is also, in my opinion, to keep in mind that those who do not suffer from mental health issues have absolutely no idea what it is like to be the one struggling. So many times over the years I have heard the words “Stop. Get over it. Just stop thinking about it.” But, you see, that’s not how this works. I am unable to “just stop.” And even though one cannot actually see my OCD, there are signs everywhere. My obsessions come in waves, as do my fears. My husband can immediately sense when I am struggling, and most definitely I have good days and bad days. There is no cure for OCD. No cure for depression or anxiety. But, it can be managed. You can lead a really amazing life: these things do not have to control you.
So from here we move forward. I continue to work towards a better version of myself every day. And honestly, aren’t we all? I try to be the very best mom I can be to my babies. I also am aware that mental health may be an issue for them as they grow, and I pray that I can see signs or symptoms since I know what to look for. Dealing with OCD also gives me a great appreciation for my husband that I may not have without it. He has walked through the majority of this journey with me, and I know he is my safe place when needed. I finish with this: if you have any inkling that someone you love may be struggling, be there. Most often it is the people who seem to “have it all together.” The ones who seem strongest. Let them know you care about them and are there to support them without judgment or hesitation. If YOU are struggling, hear me: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This life is a really beautiful one. Do not let the fractures you feel keep you from all the amazing things this life holds for you.
You’ve got this.