I decided it was time to talk about something I have only ever eluded to. It explains much of my absence and frequent “breaks”. Previously, it was to a point where I felt I could always bounced back pretty easily. But currently it’s been severe to the point that it made me realize that this is something I needed to stop hiding.
I don’t want to stop making videos. But I wonder if that time has come. My health is not consistently well enough to devote to any kind of even medium-length commitment. Over the past year or even maybe 2 years I’ve mentioned health problems. That’s because I suffer from a pretty serious mental illness. It’s a complicated illness, and I doubt any of you have heard of it even if I felt comfortable identifying it. It is a compound illness that is a result of several “base” illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other going ignored and untreated. What I have, is a complex illness that results when you ignore your mental health, and the warning signs, for years and years. You think you can muscle your way through it, that when horrible, or traumatizing things happen, you just need to “toughen up”. Well, turns out the easiest coping mechanisms your mind turns to are usually the most maladaptive and detrimental in the long run. I’ve always been a prideful person, that combined with just an upbringing completely devoid of mental health awareness caused me to suffer silently for a long time. By the time I sought help, it was a much, much more serious issue.
When it first became apparent there was something wrong, I was taught that it was a dark secret, that I couldn’t tell anyone. When my mother found out I had confided in my best friend, she told me I shouldn’t have, that no matter what I couldn’t tell anyone about my…. “abnormality”. I’ve lived my life trying every moment to hide it, but I just don’t believe it is right, or healthy.
So I’m hoping this confession will give others strength, and hope, and courage, to not be afraid to reach out for help to someone close to you, or a professional… even your regular doctor or the on-campus nurse! Don’t be ashamed that you aren’t “normal”. There IS help. I promise you. You CAN get better. Or maybe you just need a little support and insight from a professional during a difficult point in your life. College students…. MOST schools (even community college) offer some form of mental health services. You will most likely find information in the health services building or nurse’s station, or wherever you would go if you were sick or got injured on campus. ITS FREE AND YOU CAN START THERE. They have trained counselors that know what to look for and how to direct you if it is beyond their scope. Mental Health is a taboo subject no one likes to talk about. Our greatest fear is being labelled by that most condemning word: crazy. There is no such thing as crazy. If I could do one single thing with my life it would be to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, or mental unwellness.
Last bit of personal confession. I wasn’t diagnosed until I went to see my primary every-day physician about some sleep problems. Thank God I had an excellent doctor who asked a lot of follow up questions and was aware of the “red flags”, so that the appointment ended with “I am making you an appointment with a psychiatrist right away.” BY NO MEANS is this the answer for everyone. I say this to illustrate to you that I had no idea that what I was going through was… something that anyone else in the world might experience. I truly believe that if I had known about and acted on the warning signs earlier in life, I could have saved myself so much pain and strife.
As a proud person, it is difficult for me to admit any weaknesses, but recently my health has made it difficult to function on an everyday level. I really am trying to continue videos and come of with new ideas for content, but it is difficult when you never know if you’ll be able to function the next day or not.
So can we say this? I am a human being, and I have passions and feelings and desires. I HAPPEN to also have a mental illness that makes things that are easy for others difficult for me at times.
I am still Rose, the Rose you’ve always known. I am still intelligent(hopefully) and caring.
If any of you out there don’t know who to turn to, or need a little guidance on how to find help, my email is RoseErifnosi@gmail.com. I will do my BEST to direct you to a resource or an option that is best for you, although I am not a trained professional I will help in whatever way I can.
Can we say that people with mental illness are still people?