Why in the incredibly diverse, mostly accepting year of 2018 is mental illness still something we shun. The stigma is still so strong. Yes, it’s not exactly something pretty and shiny and fun to talk about but I want people to talk about.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, there are so many different mental illnesses out there and only a doctor can give you a diagnosis but that diagnosis shouldn’t hang like a heavy label. It’s nothing to be afraid of, admitting to yourself that you may need help.
I’ve experienced an number of health issues and always dismissed my darker days as something that will always happen. A part of “Abby”. I’d walk in smiling and “happy” to a doctors room for something as obscure as a sinus infection and chat a bit, those who know me, know I chat a lot and then he’d say, Abby you are depressed. I’d falter, was my facade so easy to see through. No, no I don’t want to take antidepressants they’ll make me fat or a zombie.
However, earlier in January this year a darkness came over me and wouldn’t lift. I was losing my battle with this darkness. I was at a yoga class and as I walked out I phoned my GP and asked if I could wait as a walk-in patient. It was then or never, I knew if I didn’t ask for help what may happen.
I had a blood test done and my serotonin levels were off the scale low, shockingly so. I was also suffering from PTSD after a culmination of the break-in where I was ransacked two years ago and later having a gun shoved in my face. I was put on the highest dose and given anxiety meds. I won’t go into too much detail here because I want my message to be about seeking help if you feel that you need it.
It’s not EASY. I repeat it is not easy, but you are also not alone. There is comfort in knowing that others are battling similar issues and can be supportive. Popping a pill doesn’t make it all go away. I’ve only been on them for a few months and the dosing up is very difficult, you will most likely experience side-effects. Every ones journey is different. But you are on a healthier journey. In some cases perhaps pills aren’t even needed and you just need someone qualified to help with trauma, stress, anxiety.
There are options and there is support out there.
If you don’t have the resources or the time to get to a doctor then there is still help. SADAG is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group.
To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday,
Call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182
For a suicidal Emergency contact us on 0800 567 567
24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14
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