The hardest thing for someone living with a mental illness is not having understanding people around you. It is not uncommon for someone who is living in the world of depression to get the label of lazy. When someone starts to tell you that what you are dealing with is not real, how after a time do you not believe it?
This reality that some in the mental health community has to live with on a daily basis. Crown Liberty is a young woman Oakland, California. Liberty’s story is one of the challenges.
On a daily basis, she is living in an environment that doesn’t believe in mental illnesses. It is a constant theme in her story.
“It’s very challenging,” she explains. “The people around me don’t exactly understand what I’m going through. They see it as lazy, or think it’s not real.”
It is difficult most days for Liberty. The people around her believe that she is the first of her family to have a mental illness. The truth in Liberty’s mind is that she is the first to address that something is wrong. She sees that mental illness runs through her family, but no one talks about it.
Liberty’s official diagnosis is Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It is possible down the line that it will lead to a Bipolar diagnosis.
“The medication I’m on is for people with Bipolar Disorder,” Liberty explains about her current situation. “If they work, which they seem to be doing, my psychiatrist will continue with this path of treatment.”
The origins of Liberty’s story start at the beginning. Its hard to say when anxiety and depression came into her life to today. Liberty’s story is the journey of one human being fighting against the odds.
The mental health story of Liberty begins at birth, whereas a child she always felt anxious. It didn’t help that Liberty grew up in a verbally abusive environment that still exists for her today. It was easier for her to maintain her anxiety through elementary and middle school. It all changed with an event her freshman year.
“I was sexually assaulted in my freshman year of high school,” she recalls. “It made me spiral into depression. I never went to therapy or even told my family about it.”
An event like this could’ve been the crushing blow to Liberty’s life, but she found the strength to go numb and move on. Things didn’t improve for Liberty, and in her junior year of high school, she found her life in turmoil. During this period, her family was going through a tough time with homelessness. Liberty remembers moving around so much that year as her family had to live in homeless shelters. It can be hard to find a good footing in your mental health life without a home.
“In 2013, my senior year in high school, my best friend’s family allowed me to move in with them. I was able to graduate high school even with everything I lived through,” she remembers.
Moving on with her life, Liberty was able to do two years of junior college full-time and work part-time. For a moment in her life, she could see a bright future. It was another move fro her home that that again was a factor in the beginning of another low depression cycle. It only got worse for her depression when Liberty had to drop out of school.
In the best of times, relationships can suffer major strain. While Liberty was dealing with a major depressive cycle, her relationships suffered.
“In 2016, my family didn’t understand what was going on with me. All they saw was me staying in bed, doing less in my life, and sleeping more. I lost my job, and tried to kill myself.”
By January 2017, Liberty had hit the lowest low in her life. She found herself during her hospitalization. Liberty got her first real taste with a panic attack. The positive? It was the first time that Liberty began to get the help in her life she needed.
“This was the start of my journey with medication, and the door to mental health help had finally opened. I began to figure out what my life meant and what it means to be me,” Liberty explains.
It is never easy after getting your first diagnosis. It usually means that you are at your lowest, and it is never easy to climb back out without setbacks.
“On my birthday I had another breakdown and a hospital stay. It was good because it meant a bunch of pill changes and talks of Bipolar Disorder.”
This is where Liberty finds herself at the end of 2017. Working towards recovering and helping her mental health through medication and psychiatrist visits.
Liberty has found the medication part of her diagnosis to be the hardest to deal with daily. Since she was a kid, Liberty has taken issue with swallowing pills. Up until she was twenty-one, she could only take them with applesauce.
“Going from not taking medication, to at one point taking six pills a day was a hard transition. I still haven’t gotten used to,” she explains.
It can seem impossible at times to deal with a mental illness on a day-to-day basis. There are days where Liberty finds herself in a panic situation. It isn’t long before her hands getting sweaty, that her heart starts racing, and she can’t stop crying. It is here that she forces herself to focus and do breathing exercises.
When the Liberty needs to vent she turns to writing in her journal. Liberty has her blog where she can share her thoughts with the mental illness community. Liberty has also found it effective to vent to a few trusted people in her life. To get through what Liberty lives through on a daily basis, it is important for her to find good outlets. She has done that in a way that is effective for her mental health.
What would Liberty like to share with the mental health community?
“I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I want to tell anyone who is struggling to breathe. It helps, and you don’t need anyone else to focus on your breathing. Find a technique that works for you. It may seem silly at first, but it gets you out of your thoughts.”
In my own experience with WordPress, I have met so many in the mental health community turning to writing a blog. It can be the most therapeutic thing to share your experiences. It is the same for Liberty.
“Writing has allowed me to be more open and accepting of my truths,” she explains. “It has opened a new door and taught me new things in all areas. I’ve learned more about myself and what works best for me. I know the kind of people I need in my life when I hit another low point in my life.”
Liberty has found her place in the mental health community with people that understand what she is going through on any given day. Her blog has helped increase her self-esteem and she feels as if she is able to make a difference.
If you would like to learn more about Crown Liberty you can find her on her blog:
Interviewee: Crown Liberty
Author: James Edgar Skye