Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Mental Health

I often talk about my son, Zuka's mental health but what I seem to avoid talking about is my own. There is no shame, or there should not be shame in talking about mental health....so let me start.

Dealing with my sons loss has been very difficult, I have flashbacks, nightmares, thoughts that won't leave my mind. I'm sad, I'm heartbroken. I'm dealing with PTSD and depression. I startle very easily, loud noises bother me. I have to be careful about what I watch for shows and movies to avoid certain types of violence and suicide-related material. I see a therapist to help deal with these issues and my own personal issues as well. I see a psychiatrist to manage medications for sleep and anxiety.

I had lost 60 pounds before Zuka passed away and 134 since he passed away for a total of 194 pounds lost. I thought losing weight would fix all my issues, make my problems go away but losing weight has its own set of issues. I don't really know what I look like anymore, I look different and I don't have of sense of my size anymore. It's weird, it plays games with your mind. I often think I am larger than I actually am, trying to put on clothes I wore before and being surprised when they are way too big. I think it affects your self-esteem and sense of self, in both positive and negative ways.

Losing a relationship has also really affected me. I think when someone leaves your life you wonder, "why wasn't I good enough?" or "what could I have done differently to fix things?" Along with a broken heart, there can be so much self-doubt involved. Very similar to when going through the loss of Zuka, I would keep thinking about what I could have done differently. That stuff can really eat you up... at the end of the day, you have to realize that you did the best you could do for the situation you were in at the time. If you live in regret and questioning it will run your life.

Break-ups, divorces, end of friendships are a loss and like any loss, they need time to grieve. I don't there should be shame and stigma attached to that. I have been ashamed to admit that things weren't so easy to just put behind me and that it really takes a lot to get over someone, even when things weren't so good. This has caused me to make some pretty major mistakes, more regret and things that are irreparable but again, everything is a learning experience. All you can do is apologize for how you were wrong and try to do better in the future.

This outbreak has a lot of people staying inside and maybe spending much more time alone than you normally would. I would really encourage you to take time for your own mental health. Perhaps you write daily one thing you are proud of about yourself, or one thing you are thankful for. Take time to meditate or do some type of relaxation. Talk with others on the phone or through video. Get out and take a walk. Please don't allow this time of uncertainty and/or isolation to be a reason to fall back into unhealthy patterns, or make unhealthy choices for yourself. Take care of yourself, however you need to do that!!


and remember....

You're never alone. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you are struggling emotionally or thinking about suicide.


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