By Carol Botello, Volunteer Fundación Serenamente
The passage through this life is often difficult for many, pain can kill people, families or companies in an instant.
Human beings must learn to live with pain and get the most out of it, for themselves and for others. It is therefore, that I have decided to share a bit of my story to help the general audience, even those who do not have a disorder, but that have been seriously affected by the current pandemic scenario, so that they can get ahead and seek timely help in Foundations such as Serenamente, to which I now belong as a volunteer.
Have diabetes, hypertension, cancer or any physical disease is easily handled and processed by the people around us, but what about mental illness? It is a very controversial topic, since citizens in general still have it as a stigma, as an item that must remain locked in a drawer under chains and a large padlock.
Since I was a child I was very vulnerable, sentimental and empathetic, this is not bad, in fact, it is the best that people can possess and more in an aggressive and ignorant society in which we live, to be different, give a ray of hope.
I always cried for nothing, I never said no and although I was educated with values, the alcoholism of an absent parent affects a lot. To the 14 years, I remember I had a hysterical attack, my father hit me that day, but I excuse it in your ignorance.
To the 17 years I went to a psychologist by myself, because I knew I had a problem, in the second session I had to take my parents, but they didn't believe in those things. To the 18 I went to a psychiatrist, since he had hallucinations and abnormal thoughts, he said he had psychosis, so I started taking some medications that I stopped shortly after, and I followed my life with constant mood swings, I noticed them, I have bought many books on psychology and psychiatry looking to help myself, I have been a patient of hyperthyroidism and chronic migraine for more than 10 years.
I had to take a lot of medications, it was torturous for me, until one night I had visual and auditory hallucinations, so i quickly contacted a psychiatrist, I had to be more cunning, I had to be strong for my two children and my mother, could not miss this event.
I must mention two important pillars in my life, as a Muslim by religion I clung to God and then to my most unconditional love, My beautiful mother. I mention this before continuing., because all of us who suffer from a disorder must hold on to something, what they believe in, in a good friend, in what can give them strength to get out of each crisis, knowing our disease is a step forward.
My diagnoses are bipolar depressive affective disorder with psychotic symptoms and severe depressive anxiety disorder, it is not easy to have this kind of test in our lives, but believe me we are special, we have good hearts, our empathy is not just any, we really get under each other's skin, Not everything is bad, Why embarrass ourselves?, Why shut up until you feel like not existing?, if even losing a pencil can unleash a crisis in us, but we are not alone, we are also very brave. Not special and brave people like us, they see us as strange, crazy, but no ... this as my psychiatrist told me, it's only up to smart people.
Do not let yourself be defeated, don't let your strength fade, We may be manic and do things that we will later regret, or depressive, that we do not even want to get up, but let's be honest, there will be someone, or even a pet that does not deserve to see you lying down without the will to live, you even have to grab your legs and get out of bed, even an exercise routine without desire, can help you, maybe when you are on the street you will have a panic attack, it is awful, you just want to be in your comfort zone, but we can't lock ourselves in all the time, we must fight and fight without getting tired.
Undisturbed people struggle with visible things on a daily basis, even they feel sad if something does not go well, and we? Brave warriors, we fight our minds, against that darkness that becomes light for others, Don't you think it's beautiful?
I know that when you have a crisis it is difficult to see clearly, but a part inside us tells you fight, and don't stop fighting. It's like swimming, the one who doesn't know, will swallow a lot of water, but it is determined and it says: I will swim and it will surely reach the shore, because there is an invisible force, that not even our brain without serotonins or dopamines or whatever it is that we lack produces it, that invisible force is called willpower, take our medications, a good therapy, reading, training, art, what you like to do, what calms your mind and your heart will help you.
I was an alcoholic before I knew my religion, I even took drugs, but now my faith in God helps me set limits when I have manic phases. Be christian, Muslim, Hindu, buddhist, atheist, or whatever, look for that strength inside you.
In my case, I am not ashamed to say that I have a psychiatric illness, and I recognize that it is difficult to seek help even within the closest, because many of them won't understand, but I do feel like a winner thank God, and I don't mean to win in the material world, so with these diagnoses, job, study, I make art and wear my muslim outfit that covers even my face, confronting every time I go out some ignorant who call me a terrorist, coping with the anxiety caused by being around people, to be afraid to enter a bank or a supermarket, but I go out and face it, for taking care of my three treasures and more now in this time of pandemic.
And how do I get over it until I come home? I always carry a book with me, I learned to control my breathing, or my eyes get lost seeing the wonderful creation, there are many methods, but I share mine.
Triggers in my?, someone to lie to me, someone who is unfair to me or others, the lacking culture of some people around me, sometimes I want to defend myself, but the silence through generations has been wise. If I let myself be provoked, they will reach a limit, and for me it will be chaotic.
Be strong, know your illness as you know a friend or foe, has weak points and strong points, so find those weak spots, remember we have been privileged with this, for the fact that we are the bravest, every day we win great battles, you know this and that is enough.
Emotional attention should be a priority for society in general, let's seek a healthier world, both for those with a disorder, as for those who, as a result of the strong experiences of the last year, are suffering from some emotional illness, that I would dare to say that it is a large part of the population.