Mental Health Awareness Month
Hello friends, Mental Health Awareness Month is coming to an end.
Even though the month is coming to an end, I wanted to highlight my own personal experiences with treating mental health along with providing some resources for you all to check out.
TW: medication, therapy, anxiety, depression
My journey with mental health problems started when I was a preteen. I started to notice overwhelming feelings like anger, sadness, and worry. I would become extremely angry at the smallest inconveniences and would worry myself sick about things that most people wouldn’t even think about. At the time, I thought it was just normal things that everyone went through, but as time went on I started to realize that what I was experiencing were more than just general everyday feelings. At some point in high school my mom took me to our family doctor and he prescribed me some antidepressants. This would be the start of my journey towards mental wellness, although it was a bumpy one.
By the time I left for college I had tried quite a few types of different medications to try and help my anxiety and depression. There were lots of side effects to consider, I would have my medication reevaluated often, and sometimes I wondered if the side effects were just something I would have to deal with in order to function semi-normally. During college I began to see a therapist and psychologist which helped a lot with my coping skills, but my medications still weren’t helping and I wasn’t happy. In fact, I had some of the worst side effects I have ever had. Vertigo, hallucinations, “brain zaps”, sweating, and more. These are all things that I had to deal with on a regular basis. I had come to think that this was life on medication and that I would have to put up with these things the rest of my life while I constantly toyed with my prescriptions.
When I left college in Indiana and moved to Minnesota, I decided to speak to my new family doctor. They got me on a different cocktail of medications that made the side effects a bit better, but at this point I began to question if the side effects would be something I would have to continue to deal with, or if I could find something better for my body. I spoke with my doctor and decided that I wanted to come off medications completely. The withdrawal process from those medicines is something I would never wish on anyone, but I was glad that I had the privilege to try them in the first place. You never know what is going to work for your body unless you try and I learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t.
This is when I began to think about medical marijuana. I used cannabis regularly to help fill the holes left by my medications and it helped to cover their side effects. I realized that if I could get a medical prescription in my state, I might be a lot better off and I could work better with my mental health professionals regarding my use of cannabis. I went to see a psychiatrist who specialized in the medical marijuana program in our state to see what they had to say and I left with a prescription order that day.
Since then I have had a lot of success being on the medical cannabis program. I was able to stop worrying about my medications and side effects and was instead able to focus on getting myself into a better spot mentally. I found a new therapist in Minnesota who I love and I even went into a group therapy for a while which really helped me gain some healthy coping skills that I now use daily. Soon after that I started to focus on living more mindfully and began to find ways to get moving that I really enjoyed and that made me feel good. In order to channel some of that positive energy and keep myself busy Kyle and I started Eat Game Love which brings me to today.
I wish someone would have told me a long time ago to not settle for being unhappy and that if I continued my search I could find something that worked for me. I had a lot of privilege on my journey to be able to see qualified mental health professionals and to live in a state that offered my medication. I highly recommend seeing a therapist if you are struggling and are able. However, I don’t think you necessarily need those things in your life to start making changes and find what kind of things help you. Below are some resources to get you started if you are interested in looking for help and my dm’s are always open.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my experiences and also having the willingness to learn more about mental health this month. These are some resources that I have gathered:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Mental Health First Aid
- Guardians Mental Health Resources
- Mental health resources specifically for the gaming community
- RTS bot is in our stream and discord for accessibility. You can type !list in our chat or dm RTS bot on discord to see which subjects RTS bot can find you resources for. You can then type !resource ______ for a link to specific resources. Add RTS bot to your stream through this link!
- Mental Health screening
- 99 Healthy Coping Skills
- Self Care Plan Guide