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“Hi my name is Jo and I suffer with a mental illness…”

In October we celebrated World Mental Health Day and I made a (somewhat vulnerable) story and post
about my own personal struggle and journey…
I haven’t kept it a secret that I battle with depression, as well as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

I was diagnosed with depression in 2012. I didn’t lose anyone close to me, nothing bad happened to me,
I hadn’t gone through a break up or had a fall out with someone close to me, I merely had my hormones
tested only to discover that my serotonin level was very low (and a few others). It was then pretty easy
to ‘diagnose’ as depression runs in my family…I was put on medication and after a few weeks I started to
feel the difference…I started to feel what most people would define as ‘normal’…I felt great!!!

This became my new normal, however, I viewed taking medication as a sign of weakness so every few
months or so (generally when I was feeling pretty good) I would stop taking my meds…Eventually I told
my doctor that I didn’t want to take my meds anymore…He asked me why…I told him…’I don’t want to
be reliant on medication to live my life’. He explained my condition and asked me, ‘Jo, why do you have
to be a fighter? What are you trying to prove? If someone was diabetic, would you judge them for taking
insulin? If someone struggled with their eye-sight, would you view them as weak if they wore glasses?’
Well that really hit home!!! Of course I wouldn’t view a diabetic or someone who struggles to see as
weak!!! I then decided that I would take my medication, every single day, despite what others said…
PLEASE don’t think that taking medication is a sign of weakness…In fact, I feel like it’s the opposite!!!
Acknowledging that you have a problem and need help for it is an incredibly brave thing to do!!!

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder 2 years ago and to be honest, I don’t really know
what triggered it…I have had therapy, I have been on strong medication, I have been on a lighter dose of
medication AND, more recently, I have tried dealing with my anxiety in a more natural way…Some
products have worked and some haven’t BUT I think that will depend on you as a person…
I have always been a worry wart…I have always been a people pleaser…I have always been
shy…However, 2 years ago things were really bad…
I didn’t want to leave the house…Getting out of bed was difficult…I pushed people away because I
convinced myself that I was a nuisance and it would be better if I wasn’t in their lives…I ate my feelings
(often in secret), I refused to answer the phone if I didn’t know who was calling, I wouldn’t eat
something if I hadn’t made it, the only thoughts that came through my mind were negative, I hated the
person staring back at me whenever I looked in the mirror (wow, typing this is harder than I thought it
would be)…If someone said ‘Jump’, I would say ‘How high?’…If someone were to not like me, my heart
would be broken…In fact, I was just broken…Medication was what I needed at that time…Without it I
don’t know where I would be…Once the medication started to work, I was able to piece my life back
together (I generally did little to nothing because I didn’t know where to start…Life was just too
overwhelming)…I started making goals, I started achieving them…I worked on relationships with those in
my life…I became the friend I wish I had always been…And more recently, I have started speaking about
all of this…

Its scary being real and raw on social media because you never know if someone is going to judge you
for it…I have received a few messages from people saying they never would have guessed that I

had/have a mental illness…Tons of messages from people saying that they can relate…and a few
messages from people saying that I shouldn’t be promoting medication…That’s the last thing I want to
do…Medication is what was needed for me at that time (my antidepressants will be a life long thing
though)…I don’t want others to struggle because they won’t take medication…HOWEVER- As I said
previously, I have recently managed to manage my anxiety by following a more natural route!!!

I have one amazing company to thank for that and the fact that they have just opened in Durban makes
me the happiest girl in the world…Wellness Warehouse…I am yet to meet a company that cares like you
do!!!

With October being the month where we celebrate mental health, I was fortunate enough to receive a
package full of herbal medication to help with stress, anxiety and insomnia…I have trialed all of them
and Flora Sleep and Sedatif PC have been my favourite. I am happy to report that I have not taken a single Alzam since
October the 2nd …Instead I have been taking these before bed and I am sleeping like a baby, and am
feeling stronger and happier with each passing day…
I subscribed to the Wellness Warehouse newsletters and a few that I have received and that really hit
home were titled, ‘Mend your mind’ and ‘Tired and wired?’ and ‘Calm day, restful night’…So insightful
and so informative (and easy to read)…THANK YOU soooo much for caring about us, the customers…I
have no idea if this will ever get to Wellness Warehouse but I hope that somehow, it does (and NO this
isn’t sponsored)…

As I said, Wellness Warehouse is now in Durbs (well, Ballito) and having all your health related products
under one roof has been an absolute game changer for me…I have always popped into Wellness
whenever I have been in CT but having it a mere 25 minutes away makes my heart super happy!!! For those
Durbanites who are interested…Its at Junction in Ballito…
If you have a mental illness or fear that you do…Please reach out to a professional (or even email me so
that I can send you some referrals)…If you have tried and succeeded by following the herbal route, what
have you done and would you be willing to share with me so I can share with others?
All my love (and pb)
Jo

   

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