Have you ever had a mental breakdown in your life before? Well, I have.. It’s something you will always remember. Only you will truly know if you are fine or not. Everyone saw it but did anybody know what was truly going on with me. Not even close!
7 years ago I was a 19 years old sophomore in college dealing with a lot of stress. My writing career was finally getting the much needed criticism it needed because I got tired of my high school teachers kissing my ass. However, I didn’t handle it well at all. I never minded challenges but seeing and hearing my writing being critiqued by others in classes was too much to bear at times. Almost too much to even give up writing and change my major.
On top of that, most of the same people I hung out with my freshman year didn’t want to be bothered with me anymore. I’m not sure as to why but it is what it is.
So instead of even saying much I just acted crazy. I pretended to be a character every day of the week. I’d go up to people and start crying with them, people I hung out with I’d laugh hysterically, and after not being able to handle constructive criticism anymore from my teachers and peers I gave some unkind choice words.
One month had passed by and I just had enough of everything. So one day, enough was enough. I got up one morning and I screamed at the top of my lungs, texted random people, and said so many things I simply do not remember as my cry for help. Suddenly, three police officers came to my dorm and escorted me to an ambulance car. Then after, I was admitted to the hospital in October 2013.
I know what many of you are thinking? How come you didn’t reach out to your friends and family back home? Well, in all honesty, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be that guy who:
– Wanted to be the first guy in my circle of friends who “made it” (graduated from college)
– I didn’t want to disappoint my mother because I wanted her to believe in me
– I didn’t want to be like my father who was abusive and never could finish anything in life.
In hindsight, was it a great idea to ignore my pain and suffer in silence. Obviously not but I didn’t know how to express my pain. I didn’t want to be viewed as a whinny punk millennial who couldn’t handle the challenges of adulthood. With so many thoughts racing through my head I just decided it be best to just roll one up and drink another cup of whatever.
From October 3rd to Oct 7th of 2013 I was miserable in that hospital. My life was almost threatened several times by other patients, I was on numerous medications, and didn’t know what else to do but just bite my time and comply. I felt even worse when I got out because I felt like I failed everybody.
After my traumatic event, I was able to come up with better coping mechanisms. I sought out therapy, finished the school year without any major issues, and was able to control my insecurities and ignore the obvious stares from people clearly thinking, “Why is this guy still hear at my university, he’s fucking crazy!”
For my own sanity I had to admit to myself it’s not okay to keep saying, “I don’t need any help!” After that I realized that even though I’m a strong person, I’m not strong enough to ignore all of my emotions. I have to tell somebody or either write down my feelings. But I can’t suffer in silence any longer.
Now that I’m 26 years old I found mediation, yoga, basketball, working out and the woods. I’m always going to remember the darkest moment of my life in October 2013. I was even debating about writing this but the truth is I knew I had to. Men like me have suffered in silence for such a long time trying to be so strong that most of us just ignored our emotions instead of embracing them. It’s perfectly okay to say, “Since I’m not okay today let me take the day off. I’ll reach out to so and so, that Facebook support group, or a family or friend because they’ll help me in my time of need.”
Lastly, never ignore the signs that anybody is going through. None of us are perfect and most of us are too strong for our own good. We need to be a better job de-normalize any form of shame when it comes to asking for help. There is always somebody that will help us no matter the situation maybe. I’m thankful for everyone who was supportive during that traumatic time for me. I know I wasn’t easy to deal with and I’m sorry if I caused anyone of you pain. However, I was in pain and I was too scared to acknowledge it because back then it was so much easier to ignore everything and run away. But now I’ve learned that running away never resolves anything. Never feel ashamed in your weakest and troubling moments. Apologize, learn, accept responsibility, unlearn and simply, move forward.