June 23, 2017

‘Drama queen’, ‘attention seeker’, ‘too emotional’, ‘easily offended’ and ‘cry baby’; those are just a few terms I heard growing up.
I did not know how to express myself, without feeling judged by those closest to me. Therefore, from an early age, I learned to put a lid on it. I'm married now and I have had depressive episodes often. My partner was initially very supportive; he'd try to make me eat when I'd stay in bed for days, he'd hold me and let me know he understands, or he's there. I'd feel horrible that he could not go out.
More recently though, when the tears would not stop, he asked me why my ‘issues’ were different from billions of people in the world.
“He asked me why I couldn't just ‘snap out of it’. Once more, I felt like that little girl that was the ‘drama queen’ and the ‘cry baby’.”
So I put a lid on it again. I felt invalidated.
I know I'm not just sad. It should come as no surprise that in order to numb my feelings, I started to rely on alcohol to help me cope. Obviously, this pushed me further into my shell. My work suffered, I was always arguing with my partner and now I had a new problem I had to get rid off. I asked for help several times, but there was always something, always someone at the time that needed just a little bit more help than I did. I tried to stop self medicating on my own but it didn’t work. I always relapsed and then felt even more of a failure. I lied and told my partner I’d stopped and he believed me for a while until he found my stash. I thought I was being careful. I loved the happy feeling I got when I was numb. I felt alive. I suppose in his way of trying to help, he asked me to go cold turkey.
I did a week without ‘help’. It was hard, but that made me a little proud. And then another. But this time I was not alone. I had a friend at work - a clinical psychologist. He talked to me everyday. He encouraged me to see a psychiatrist.
Now I take medication that makes my sick head better.
"I want you to know it’s not my fault that I am the way I am. I want you to know I am not a ‘drama queen’. I also want you to know that staying silent is not the answer."
However, when those closest to you think that by speaking out, you’d embarrass them, what do you do?
Luckily, I work for an organisation that deals with mental health and in trying to be an advocate for others, I'm also helping myself. Thanks for letting me share.
Get involved in this campaign online with the tag #Iwantyoutoknow!

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