Long time, no talk. Honestly, I have been drowning in adulting and have not had time to create content. Blogging has been my favorite outlet for expression and it makes me extremely happy. For the rest of 2019, I plan to dedicate time to activities that bring me joy. Next, you will notice that I have moved from Blogspot to WordPress. In the upcoming weeks,I plan to move my posts from my Blogspot address to this one. Please stay tuned for more updates on my blog development. Lastly, I want to thank everyone who reads my blog. I appreciate all of my supporters. I am sincerely thankful for everyone who has encouraged me to continue with my art. I truly appreciate the opportunity to express myself on this platform. Additionally, I appreciate the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others through sharing my perspective and insight on issues. This is my safe space. I can be bare and vulnerable without judgement. Thank you so so much.
Trigger Warning: I am about to discuss mental health, mental illness, depression and suicide. If these topics are triggers for you, please do not continue reading.
As many of you are aware, my plus size style has been the foundation of this platform. My interests and my essence have been the house that sit on that foundation. I want this platform to have substance and to change lives, which sometimes will require me to discuss issues outside of Lipstick, Thighs and my plus size life. Today’s topic will not be fashion focused, but more personally centered. May is Mental Health Awareness month. Mental Health is defined as ” a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.”At an early age, I was introduce to Mental Illness and mental health via my mother. From firsthand experience, I have learned how detrimental the stigma associated with mental illness is. My mother carries shame due to her diagnosis. Several years ago, she was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Depression. My dad and I have struggled for years to encourage her to both seek and continue mental health treatment.
Several issues have influenced my mother’s disdain for seeking professional help. The largest deterrent for her has been financial. My parents are both on disability, and they scrape by month to month. She can not afford the copay for seeing her therapist (psychiatrist), so she no longer goes. Finding the right therapist (psychiatrist) has been another problem. Often, she builds rapport with one and then the therapist leaves and she has to start all over, which can be disheartening. Unfortunately, I think the underlying reason why she refuses to maintain steady therapeutic sessions and avoids taking her medication as prescribed is because she does not want to admit that she needs the help. I do not know whether to blame pride or shame for the denial. Culture is a contributing factor as well. Religion is another influencer. I am working to get my mom to realize that people of all races and socioeconomic statuses experience mental illness. On top of that, I want her to know that you can trust in God and work through your issues with a therapist simultaneously. Spirituality/ Religiosity and Therapy do not have to be mutually exclusive. My dad and I are doing our very best to continue to encourage her to get help.
The keys to a better quality of life in regards to mental health are understand what it is and then removing the stigma around having a diagnosis. My mother is highly intelligent. She can do advance math problems in her head, even after experiencing multiple psychotic breakdowns. Her vocabulary is expansive. She used to play the piano and organ exceptionally well. Often, I wonder how different her life would be had she been diagnosed earlier, and if my grandmother had a solid understanding of what mental illness is. If she had a better understanding of mental illness, I believe that she could have been and could be a better parent to me, a better spouse to her husband, a better friend, and most importantly, abetter version of herself.
My mental health struggle has moreso been on the emotional front. Most days, I struggle to get out of bed. For sometime, I have felt overwhelming sadness. Somedays, I do even know why I am numb. Over the past two years, my finances have been at the center of my poor emotional health. I have carried a full work load, worked intense overtime and juggled part time jobs just to barely make ends meet. I am drowning in debt. Often, the future seems bleak. I feel as though I can not get myself together and I can keep myself afloat. In the past, at minimum, I could trust myself to keep it together and be responsible.
At this point, I feel extremely powerless. Trying to get into graduate school has been stressful. I want to take the GRE and to get my SHRM certification but I can not afford them. Trying to reduce debt has been a fail. I do not feel like my best self. I feel as though I have fallen off. Honestly, with the looming debt that I have, I sometimes wonder if life will ever be worth living. I wonder if I will ever be stable. I had my lights cut off a few weeks ago for the first time in my life. That was the lowest point for me. The past two years have been the most humiliating times that I have endured. With rent, bills, gas and the rising cost of living, I have not had funds to buy clothes or post my style. I can not afford to buy anything new. I am barely covering food and my basic needs. Late last year, I stopped wearing wigs because I could no longer afford them. My spirit is under attack. I feel like I am under a spiritual attack. My esteem has been low. I feel out of control, defeated and powerless. Absolutely nothing in my life is going right. I have always been strategic, but at this point, I am out of ideas. I am trying to keep the faith. I keep reminding myself that I have purpose and that my life has value even though I feel the opposite.
Today, my main goal is to be transparent about my experiences with mental illness so that I can encourage others to educate themselves. There is power in knowledge and understanding. I am still battling trauma from my childhood. I am still struggling to repair my relationship with my mother. There are some emotional scars that I would not have, had she been her best, mentally healthy self. I am being transparent about my own struggles. Social Media is full of the highs. We do not get a glimpse of the struggle or the lows. I hope that others who are struggling with their psychological or emotional selves know that they are loved and supported.
If you are in need of psychiatric services or are feeling like you are unable to continue with life, there are many support resources available. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. You can call to speak to a crisis specialist or visit the website to chat with an online specialist. Most states have a Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse website that lists resources. If you are in Tennessee, you can visit the TN Department of Mental Health and Substance abuse here. You can search google to find mental health organizations in your area. Centerstone, Vanderbilt Behavioral Health, and the Mental Health Cooperative are three widely known providers in the Nashville/ Tennessee area. If you work, check in with your Human Resources Department to see if your company has an Employee Assistance Program, where you can receive free therapy. My company offers 5 free therapy sessions to employees, so I plan to see a therapist for help. Lastly, if you are not struggling with your mental health, but have a friend or family member who is, please be supportive and encouraging. Also, donate to mental health agencies in your area, so that they can provide services to people in need. Make your dollars count.
After I navigate through my financial burdens, I hope to bring forth more content. Thank you for taking the time to read. Please take care of yourselves.
Until next time,
PS: I hate to ask. I do not want to come across as a beggar. If you’d like to help me dwindle my debt, I would appreciate any donations. Please know that the funds will go directly to my debts and nothing else. My Debt Go Fund Me link is here.