Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV or anywhere else. The advice in this post is based on my experience and my experience alone. If you are struggling with mental illness, please see a mental health professional or your family doctor for expert, professional help.
Up until a few months ago, I was ashamed to admit that I have a mental illness. The stigma that comes along with it, and the looks of pity, concern, and fear from others, just wasn’t worth the disclosure. So I kept it to myself. Although looking back, I probably did a pretty poor job of hiding it. Anyone close to me knew something was wrong and I’m pretty sure strangers thought I was just a basketcase. I was like the kid wearing a sheet and telling people I’m a ghost; everyone knew I was lying, they were just too polite to say anything.
But now, thanks to an amazing support system, I’m fine with telling people what’s wrong with me. Why? Because I’ve decided there’s no shame in it. I can’t help what’s wrong with me. I liken it to my gestational diabetes. I did everything I could to prevent it but my body didn’t care. It was going to give me the disease regardless of my efforts. My depression and anxiety are the same way. And there’s no reason to be ashamed of something I can’t control. Besides, there are so many people like me that it’s almost the new normal to be completely fucked up.
Anyway, as a result of my therapy, I’m working on new behaviors to try, particularly when I’m anxious. I’ve talked about my distractablity list before. Let me tell you, that list, combined with my meds, have done wonders to calm me down. It’s also worked to help change some of my financial behaviors as well. You see, when I was in the darkest part of all of this, my finances almost crashed and burned. I forgot to pay some bills, couldn’t stay organized, almost overdrew my account due to lack of attention to my checking account, and a whole host of other problems. It was ugly. And, as a financial writer, it was embarrassing.