A lot of people like to say, “create a support system.” However, for the purpose of this post, let’s cut the crap, okay? Sure, a support system is a nice way to sugar coat it and make it sound all nice and helpful. But you’re not just sad. You’re not always helpless! You’re building a fucking army with soldiers and weapons. You’re fighting a daily battle in your own mind. You need more than a “support system” you need a damn army! People willing to stand up and fucking fight with you! And the tools to do it with!
This subject isn’t coming out of just no where. Last night, I had a date with a man who tried telling me herbs would cure my depression. He told me not to trust doctors, and that pills make you “fake happy.” At that point, I got on the defensive. I’m also posting this because recently I’ve had two women I care deeply about come to me for advice on taking Prozac. Something I have been on for a little less than a year. However, I’m very observant and self aware so I knew what to be able to tell them.
I found out that one of them hasn’t been taking her Prozac like she was told. In fact, she only took one. She let her ego get in the way, that’s what she told me. And I understand that more than anyone knows. I spent over a decade fighting these illnesses without help. Why? Because I wasn’t “weak enough” to take medication. I had this shit. Well, I eventually found my strength, the support I needed, and the courage to talk to my doctor. My life was suffering, a relationship had ended partly due to my depression and anxiety. I needed to start building my army.
My army started off small. It consisted of a few unreliable soldiers, and a few steady ones. No ones army starts off strong. My roommate at the time was my biggest support, as well as my ex and one of my close guy friends. My weapons weren’t much, they were alcohol and Prozac. While I was strong to make the first steps to building my army, my army and myself were not yet strong. We had the wrong weapons. We had the wrong soldiers.
Eventually, I focused on making sure I had the right people to fight beside me. This list has grown, it has added and taken away people.
My sister (best friend) is my right hand woman. I go to her with everything. Without her, I’d be a pile on the floor. I’ve learned that some battles are okay to fight without her, but I know she’ll be there when I need backup. Her sister is also in my army. We don’t talk as much, but she’s knowledgeable. I know I can go to her and trust her with anything. These two women are the rocks I built my army from.
Then, I added in my Father. While he’s not always able to help, it means the world to me that he’s by my side. He’s there for support and for prayer. My grandmother is also in my army. I call her daily, without her I would be homeless and without anything in this life. I would not have a thing. Also in my army is my lifelong best friend, I don’t talk to her often anymore, but I know she’ll forever be by my side.
There’s a few other friends I have with me, too. A few close guy friends, one of which I can always turn to for comfort. Another I can turn to for distraction, and one I can turn to when I need a little help. One of my best friends is very into her faith, she’s one of my instant go to soldiers when I’m weak and low. She inspires me, builds me up.
Most importantly, is my God. I’ve said before, I understand that not everyone is a Christian. But for me, my faith is huge. “He is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I will never be shaken” Psalm 62:2. My God is always who I need to start turning to first. He is the one in which brings me love, comfort, purpose, and life.
Also recently added to my army, is my therapist and my psychiatrist. Currently, I’m reevaluating whether or not my psychiatrist is the right one for me, but I know I found a damn good therapist. He lifts me up, gives me direction, and sound advice for when life gets to be too much. I report to him weekly about how my battles are going, he keeps me strong.
That’s just half the army. That’s only the soldiers. You’ve also got your weapons and your resources. Damn, I bet right now I’m totally sounding like the navy brat I am!
Anyway, you can’t go into battle unprepared and with the wrong weapons. I recently got rid of alcohol. Very rarely do I add marijuana to the list of things I fight with. But my weapons have grown. I still take Prozac, as well as others. I have 2 ADD medications and an antipsychotic. I’m currently using this as an antidepressant and it’s already shown to be working wonders. Another weapon in half caff coffee. It brings me just enough strength to get through the days.
My resources include a self-help Workbook on anxiety, as well as one for depression. My Bible, of course. My daily planner, and a todo list app for when thoughts get to be too much. I blog, that’s a resource and a weapon. It helps beat the stigma of mental illness.
I want to leave you encouraged and inspired. I want you to start thinking about what your army looks like, the changes that need to be made.
Remember, building your army only makes you stronger. Which means, seeking help and taking medication (if that’s the right path for you) only makes you stronger. There is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing worth hiding. Let it known you’re fighting a battle, recruit soldiers, build your army against mental health issues. We’re all in this together, we’re all in each other’s armies.