Through the last 4 going on 5 years of my difficult, dreadful, and stressful struggle with diagnosed mental illness, I have found that being transparent with your loved ones with either get you exiled from your family or will push your family to surround and support you with love ❤ when you need it most.
I wasn’t always transparent when I was first diagnosed. I hid away from everyone, I would go through periods of time where I blocked my siblings from calling me, I I would always be triggered from things my parents would say, and they had no idea what was going on, I shut everyone out due to being ashamed, due to feeling like no one would understand, I felt alone, empty, and isolated simply putting a mask on being the person I thought they needed me to be. I felt like my immediate family mainly my parents would not accept me if they knew I was “mentally” ill, especially if they found out about my self harm habits I originally picked up at age 14. I was afraid they would “label” me as “crazy” and tell me I was demon possessed and try to throw a bible at me, or tell me to pray it away.
So I hid my symptoms from them the best I could. When distance is present things become easier to hide. Things got harder to hide once I was hospitalized for the first time in 2015, and from there I believe my family began to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and ask questions to one another like what’s going on with Tash. I am sure even earlier than 2015 my parents knew something was going on, but couldn’t get through to me because I refused to let them. I didn’t want to be treated like a victim. I didn’t want a pity party or people feeling sorry for me. I didn’t want to disappoint. I wanted to continue putting my mask on I had worn for years and to continue being who I thought they wanted me to be.
If I recall correctly earlier this year (2017), I got fed up with hiding parts of myself from the people who I needed support and love from. I got tired of hiding myself from the world 🌎. I got tired of saying I was okay and I wasn’t. I got tired of being someone I wasn’t. I wasn’t happy, everything wasn’t peachy. I was hurting. I was on the edge just waiting to fall………. So I finally came clean to my parents about my diagnoses and sent them articles to read about them from The National Institute of Mental Health or NIMH for short. (Click on underlined word to check it out) At this time I started opening up to my siblings especially seeing as me and my sister have 2 of the same diagnoses. I got to a breaking point and I told myself either they will love me as I am or not at all.
To my surprise when I told my parents, yes they had questions, but I believe it was my mom who responded how can we help you ? How can we support you? My siblings followed suit and I’m sure my baby sister had a response and an attitude something like, she couldn’t believe that me (the published author, college student, beautiful, perfect life having , ambitious young woman could have a mental illness just like her.) Little did my sister know, all those things are just TITLES and they didn’t define who I was as a person and they didn’t explain the pain I was in. When I received this response and I knew that even though I had dark days my family was going to stand behind me.
I was overwhelmed with joy at this time,and I could do nothing but remain speechless. At first I was a little hesitant to continue talking about mental health with my family. But little did I know once the door was opened a lot of truth came out, and we began to see how each of our mental health journey and lives were more similar than we thought. Time moved on I began to give my sister advice on different things that had and hadn’t worked for me living with mental illness. I continued sending articles and keeping my parents mainly my mom updated about the status of my mental health and my meds. It is at a point where when I visit my family my mom asks me twice a day or so have I taken my meds. I roll my eyes like “yes mom,” knowing I am thankful she cared about me enough to ask.
Don’t get me wrong as blessed as I am to have such a wonderful family it is BY NO MEANS A WALK IN THE PARK. Sometimes I feel like a burden, especially when I call and wake my parents up at 2 a.m. , to tell my mom I am on my way to the hospital due to self harm, or when I argue with my brother in the family group text about suicide the bible, Jesus, and death, or when I tell my family I want to die and I confess to them having tried to kill myself by taking well over the amount of my meds I was prescribed, or the times I try to convince my mom that I am not worth loving and I tell her I am defective.
Believe me I am sure my family totally judges me, after all we are human beings before anything. But I know that they are there for me, even though I feel like a burden, I am sure they care about my well-being and for that I am beyond thankful….. most of the time.
Let me be honest it makes me so sad to have to be such a burden to my family when they have their own lives going on. I still find myself smiling when I feel empty in front of them. I find myself still kind of being ashamed of my self harm scars on my arm around them, I find myself still feeling alone when I know they are there. I find myself still contemplating death when I know it would make them upset if I took my own life. The life I didn’t give myself…….. I still find myself being so sad despite everything.
Though I/we may still have negative thoughts, we must realize how important it is to have a support system, and I am grateful for mine. I may have mental illness but I have more tools in my toolbox to fight back against it, and more tools/skills will be coming so WATCH OUT BIPOLAR, BPD, & PTSD I am COMING FOR YOU !
This blog post was actually inspired by a text I sent earlier this morning in my family group text. It included the picture you see above of me with my ❤ LOVE ❤ cup (my mom bought that for me for valentine’s day I think a few years back .) lol
The text I wrote said “Needing lots of love today!!!! Go ahead and donate your love and put it in the basket (basket emoji) ❤ you guys ! Call me soon mom and dad
Thanks to my amazing parents & siblings I love you all ! Also thanks for all the love you donated today & dad stop stealing pics of me for Facebook ! ❤ #dontstopbelieveinginme #Mentalhealthmatters #journeytowellness #letstalkabout mentalhealth
I have realized how important it is having those people who love and support you ! I want to be that support for others whose family have yet to be open to understanding the pain & symptoms that come with having mental illness. My DM ‘s and e-mail is always open!
Together WE can Overcome !
Inspire. Motivate. Love