Well hello, it’s Bangs Friend again! Since my last post, we have all been through a lot. This pandemic has been hard to navigate and it’s especially hard for those who struggle with mental illness.
There is a lot of stigma that comes with mental illness. Some people don’t understand it, and others deny that it even exists. But really, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
1 in 5. That’s a lot of people.
The reason I wanted to share a little bit about my story is because I hope that if anyone else is struggling with mental illness — whether it be major depression, bipolar or something else — maybe my story can help you a little bit on your journey. And mainly just to let you know that you are not alone. It’s ok to struggle and there are actually a lot of people out there struggling too.
My story might be a bit different than some, but I was actually hospitalized for psychosis last year. I don’t entirely know what caused it, but I blame isolation. Shelter in place in California was really hard on me. I had a lot of stress in my life and wasn’t prioritizing sleep, which caused me to have delusions and irrational thinking.
I have zero recollection of the first 4 days of my hospitalization. I had people come visit me, I talked to them, but I don’t remember any of it.
After those days things slowly started to get more clear. I spent a total of 6 days in the hospital and then started a partial hospitalization program, which I would highly recommend. Like highly recommend, for someone in this type of situation. It was a life-changing experience for me. (I won’t get into it all here but feel free to ask me any questions you have about that sort of program.)
I was still recovering 6 months after my hospitalization. The weeks following hospitalization while I was in the PHP program were really productive. I spent the majority of my day going to group therapy; processing past experiences and learning skills to manage my thoughts and emotions. After the program was over, and I was back to “real life”, things got a little harder.
To be honest, everything felt harder. Running was harder, making lunch was harder, everyday tasks just felt overwhelming at times.
I’m now a year in a half out from my hospitalization and feeling so much better. Since then, I had another episode of hypo-mania which made me really have to accept my original diagnosis of Bipolar disorder and take charge. I’m now on a medication that is working wonders and am working to understand and treat my illness.
I feel like one of the lucky ones. My whole family is extremely supportive. My husband has taken days off work, my mom, mother in law and sisters have come out to watch my kids. Not everyone has that kind of support and not everyone knows how to navigate the system.
Mental illness is so hard. You can’t see it, and it’s different for everyone. But just like many other physical illnesses, it can be treated. It doesn’t define who you are, but can add color and experience to your life.
So, take care of yourself friends. Make 2022 the year you prioritize yourself and your mental health. It’s important to be healthy, for yourself, your family and the world that desperately needs you.
Feel free to DM me on instagram @Katie.m.McGann with any questions at all.
Life is a journey, it’s all about helping others stumble along. We got this.
Do you struggle with any mental health challenges?
Do you have a family member who struggles with mental health?