Goodness Blog

Mental Health Collection: Janet's Story

Here it is!  Our first guest blogger!  I have known Janet for 5 years now, and we have always had a special connection as we are very open and honest with each other about our mental health.  Although we don't see each other on a daily basis, I know that she would be there for me in a heart beat if I needed her.  Below, Janet writes about her struggle with being bipolar, and suffering from depression. 

Rebecca

 

Shrieking at the man I love more than anything in the world – “I’ve had it I’m leaving!  You’re such an ass!  You don’t love me.  All you want is a farm hand and maid who sleeps with you. I’m out of here!”  My mouth is saying things that my mind and heart know are not true.  As the words spew out of my mouth, I am horrified by what I am saying; but unable to stop.  I’m out of control – again. 

Laying in bed and bawling – not softly crying, but keening and holding my breath crying.  So sad and exhausted I am unable to drag myself out of bed.  Hands covering my face because it feels safer that way.  The truth is I don’t even know why I am crying.  I just can’t stop!

Suicide no longer horrifies me – it used to be an option to deal with the darkness.  I had to put a calf down once and my thoughts were, “Gee, I thought it would be messier than that.  Maybe this wouldn’t be such a bad way to end the pain.”

The flip side of my disease - I am invincible.  I can do anything better than anyone else.  I don’t need to sleep because I’m super woman.  I do things that I am ashamed of, but at the time they seemed to be a great idea.  I can start crochet projects, crafting projects, writing, and take a new course on the internet all at the same time.  However, only half of these are completed before I crap out overwhelmed by it all.

I am bipolar and suffer with depression.  I have a mental illness.  I am not ashamed of who I am or the illness I have. 

I like to compare my illness to diabetes.  Why?  Mental illness is the same as physical illness.   I need medication, I must have 8 hours of sleep, I have dietary restrictions, and I need to see my health care specialist on a regular basis.  There are relapses, and constant monitoring is required.  Only by educating yourself can you be aware of the triggers that can bring forth another event.  Bipolar disorder, like diabetes, can be hereditary.  And probably the most important similarity – they can both be deadly if untreated.  

The illness itself is often accompanied by a whole bunch of side effects that can not only affect the disease but the way we deal with it.  I struggle with my weight because some of the meds cause weight gain.  On my meds, I don’t have the lows; but the highs, the creativity, the superwoman – they all just disappear.  I still struggle with being in large groups of people.  You know what – I wouldn’t change a thing.  Those meds allow me to cope, I am happy, and I am healthy.

The biggest step is the first one.  Admitting that you need help and seeking it out is hard because there is still a stigma attached to mental illness – we’re the crazy people, the lazy people, the attention seekers, and many other tags.  Wrong - we are suffering from an illness.  Sometimes it’s hard to get the help you need because you don’t want people to know.  There are people out there that can assist you to find the help you need.  They might be your doc, mental health professional, a teacher, your family, or someone you know you can talk to and share with.  Mental health is not a weakness.  It takes a hell of a strong person to take that first step and deal with this disease.

I started at a walk-in clinic because I couldn’t get in to see my GP.  The next day I saw my doc who referred me to a psychiatrist.  My psychiatrist felt that working together with a psychologist would be beneficial, and they all encouraged me to attend group therapy sessions.  We work together as a team toward a common goal – good health.  It didn’t happen overnight, and it was a year plus filled with trial and error to find the right treatment.

A couple years ago, I joined the “Bell let’s Talk” movement and shared my experiences with mental health at my local church.  I was surprised and pleased to learn that many (and I mean a lot) of those attending admitted to suffering from a mental illness at some point in their lives.  Some had already sought out help and others were encouraged to take that first step. If sharing my struggle with bipolar disorder and depression will help a single person with mental health issues take that first step, my day is awesome.

I am comfortable with my illness.  I can joke, laugh, and share without feeling any shame.  Life is good and so am I.

-Janet

 

Thank you Janet, for your honesty and openness.  I know from personal experience how hard it is to get your words out and talk about your mental health.  Love and hugs!! 

Rebecca XO

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  • Kathy Allan says...

    Oh Lord you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down,you are from familiar with all of my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely,O Lord. You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even if your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

    You are a precious gift from God! We love you so much. Keep letting your light shine. You are a beacon to the hurting. God is using you in His mighty way! Thank you Janet

    On Jul 22, 2017

  • Adam Schemenauer says...

    Thanks for sharing this, Janet. You are a great person and this proves the level of courage you have. You are an inspiration to others! :)

    On Jul 22, 2017

  • Charlotte Dube says...

    Janet, my good friend, you are a fantastic person and such an inspiration!! You help make my life a better place to be.

    On Jul 21, 2017

  • Marg Sullivan says...

    Janet, You are a blessing. In your weakness you are made strong. A woman of faith, love, peace, joy and LOVE! We are thankful that you don’t filter your story. We are thankful for who you are.

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Brenda Simmans says...

    Me too!

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Lorie says...

    I to suffer with bi-polar. Most do not understand my life. I’m not shy telling people. I hope then they can try to understand the things I say and do.

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Jocelyne drapak says...

    Janet you are a superwoman! Always caring and helping everyone and anyone. We are so lucky to have you as a sister.

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Jocelyne drapak says...

    Janet you are a superwoman! Always caring and helping everyone and anyone. We are so lucky to have you as a sister.

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Marie-Ange Grainger says...

    So proud of you Aunty!! Thanks for being a voice to bring awareness to mental health and the many different aspects of this disease. LOVE YOU!

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Angella says...

    Thank you Janet! If I were to write anything about the crap I go through, it would read just like this, nearly word for word. I have said and done things that shock the hell out of me, let alone anyone else. But it is so refreshing that you continued on to say that despite the bipolar and depression, that’s not the only thing that you’re about. It is such an all consuming disease that it’s almost as much of a struggle to not let it define who you are. You handle it all gracefully, my friend.

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Donna Kresse says...

    Janet, girl after all these years I didn’t know but I don’t see you often enough. You have always been one of my oldest favorite friend. Doesn’t matter how many years we don’t see each other when we do it feels like old times. After reading your article I remembered a whole lot of great times with you and Joan and the rest of your family. I am hoping to get to town to do some visiting and you are on my list. Love you and hope to see you soon. Keep that beautiful smile!!

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Pauline Coquet Boyer says...

    You’re right Janet, it takes a very strong and courageous person to share so openly. You are a very gifted person Janet and thank you for sharing your gifts!

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Terry Emde says...

    I am proud to have you as my best friend!

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Betty Weenk says...

    So proud of you Janet! Your truthfulness & courage is outstanding.. as is that strong heart & soul you carry inside. Love you Jan Jan❤️

    On Jul 20, 2017

  • Jackie Mark says...

    Yes Janet life is good and so are you! Love your honesty and passion as you share your story in hopes of educating and helping people! Always love your blogs!

    On Jul 20, 2017

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