Okay. So this post might look like it’s just riding the hype of Netflix’s new series, 13 Reasons Why, but believe me. This is more than that. I have finished reading the book 3 days after buying it (which was last year) and I have to say it, Jay Asher hits right in the feels. I have so much connection with Hannah Baker, and that is because I have experienced some things she has experienced in high school.
People saying you had sex with someone when truth is you just kissed someone? Check. People saying you’re a slut and getting your name carved on the bathroom doors, labeling you as a bitch? Check. Having no permanent friends just because? Check. Being okay with catching a grenade for people who you thought were your friends but weren’t? Check. And most especially, looking like you’re the bad girl for covering up people’s lies? Big check. I started cutting myself. Bleeding like crazy, drinking more than I could take, drowning my fears with vodka and hiding behind a strong image. I cried, but no one knew that. Or atleast, I didn’t let anyone know that.
Been there, done that and it wasn’t quite easy but unlike Hannah Baker, hey, I AM ALIVE.
I made it through the storm. There were signals that a hurricane was about to hit me again, and the thunder roared so loud but I kept a deaf ear to it. Then few months ago, the lightning called mental health disorders struck and my boyfriend of 6 years was diagnosed with Generalized and Social Anxiety Disorders, plus Panic Attack Disorders. I always knew he has it. Of all people, I should know. But I was in denial before. I never consulted a psychiatrist when I was suicidal. However, now that it has been medically diagnosed, I knew for a fact that I have to again embrace the beautiful mess that it is, and be stronger because I am not the one who’s going through it. It may only be my boyfriend who’s got such awful condition, but the battle wasn’t his alone. It was ours, our friends, his family, shared with people who cares for him.
I waited several months, contemplating how to share with you our journey, and here. Here I am after sleeping at 5AM because I binged watch “13 Reasons Why” last night, waking up 8 to go to work, writing the 13 reasons why I won’t let mental health disorders which could’ve taken away my life, and now is threatening my boyfriend’s to win against us.
- Mental health disorders does not define a person. Patrick is not anxiety. Patrick is not depression. Patrick is not fear or shame. Patrick is not escitalopram oxalate, neither is he all the medicines he need to take. I appreciate the man behind all the panic attacks and sudden mood swings and nightly medicine intake because he is genuine and sincere. It is the same for every other people in the world experiencing mental health disorders. I know for a fact that if it was that easy, they’ll just “get over it” but it isn’t, so while they’re battling with their situation, let us learn to embrace the beautiful mess that they are and not label them.
- People with mental health disorders will never intentionally hurt anyone. If it hurts you that sometimes your loved one is not in the mood to talk, or if he seems like he’s not listening to you, remember that his mood isn’t because of you. It is because of his anxiety and it is something that he can’t control. He doesn’t want to hurt you, he never wanted anyone to get hurt. Understand that sometimes, I mean, most of the times, it is hard for them to control their selves, just don’t retaliate when you’re fighting and learn to look beyond the angry anxious person in front of you.
- People with mental health disorders aren’t crazy. Nope. Seeing a psychiatrist and asking for help doesn’t mean that your loved one is crazy. No one with a mental health disorder is crazy. You know what’s crazy? Crazy is denying the fact that he or she needs medical attention. Crazy is allowing depression or anxiety to eat them whole. Crazy is allowing them to live in fear. Crazy is not accepting.
- There is a cure for any mental health disorder. Again, if you feel like you or a loved one needs to see a psychiatrist, go. It is something you shouldn’t be ashamed about. If you need to take medicines and if it is something that can help you, go. You are but your own self, and don’t let the stigma of mental health illness get the better of your life.
- You get lots and lots and lots of hugs! This is one thing that I love about fighting the battle. On bad days, you get to hug your loved one and just sit there in the quiet. On good days, you get hugs too! Hugs actually make things better, really.
- People with mental health disorders are fun to be with. There are times that I find Patrick’s condition a little funny. It is not that I am not taking him seriously but believe me, there are moments in the middle of his panic attacks that we’ll just laugh suddenly because he said something funny. It’s fun to sometimes just stay at home, watch Netflix and eat nachos. Small things become fun.
- People with mental health disorders need people who understands. You don’t let mental health disorders win in your life, because your loved ones with mental health disorders need you now more than ever. They need you to understand and not judge them. They need you to sometimes just listen and not say a thing.
- People with mental health disorders are worthy of all the attention we have in the world. Nope. Suicidal kids aren’t attention-seekers. Nope. They aren’t hungry for attention that they cut themselves and overdose. It’s kind of alarming how someone with mental disorder even be blamed for a situation he or she never wanted to have. These people need our attention, and are worthy of our attention not because they lack attention but because their lives matter. They matter. And no matter how bad their situation is, they deserve to be heard.
- The happiness you feel when a person who is constantly unhappy tells you that “I am happy today.” is unexplainable. This is self-explanatory, but to tell you, there are times that I would sometimes want to leave Patrick already because I also get tired, but hearing him say “I am happy.” even about small things and accomplishments, seeing him smile even if I know that smiling is the hardest thing he ever does in life, makes me believe that one day, everything will be okay.
- Being able to see improvements with your loved ones’ attitude and perspective about life is such a good feeling. Oh, for someone with Social Anxiety Disorder, Patrick already is about 5 steps to improving. He even was the guest speaker of his elementary alma mater. Just imagine how he did that. You don’t let mental health disorders win against you because seeing your loved one achieve small accomplishments make the difficult battle easy to bear.
- It is not our job to heal mental disorder, it is our job to listen and I think that’s beautiful. I don’t talk a lot, but whenever I am with Patrick, I speak without end. I speak about the silliest things, and the worsts of my days. I speak about love and hate and everything. But sometimes, in those days when dark clouds hang over Patrick’s head, I learn to shut my mouth up because I only need to listen. There are times that I cannot do anything about his rants, but believe me when I say, if you only listen, you will hear beyond what they are saying and you’ll learn to love them more.
- It’s hard but it’s worth it. Enough said.
- Nothing feels better than being able to win a battle no one ever thought you could conquer. I pray for that day when Patrick finally heals. I am always looking for that day when I don’t have to cut Morcets into half or Rivotrils into fourths. I am always looking forward to that day when he wouldn’t shake in fear suddenly, or when he wouldn’t just be stressed out about nothing. Do not let mental health illness win against your life, because when the day comes that you’ve won your battle together, it’s gonna be such a wonderful feeling, knowing that you’ve been there for someone even during the darkest days of his or her life.
Mental health disorders, while it is so terrifying to have, and even more terrifying to admit you have, is something that should not ruin what you want in life, or your life. Yes, there maybe bad days but breathe. It’s not easy but breathe. Bad days aren’t equivalent to a bad life. And if you’re not with mental health disorder, the least you can do is to be kind, always. Because you’ll never know how much your words and actions may affect someone else’s life. People with mental health disorders deserves love and compassion, genuine love and compassion. Pass it on!
PS. Patrick used to have monthly check-ups, he had one yesterday, April 5th and guess what? Next appointment is not in May nor June, he’ll come back July! Little achievements like this is just so wonderful. For people praying with us, thank you. Everything will soon be okay. 😉