This one is going to be a bit difficult to write and even harder to let you guys read, but Let’s Flourish Together is all about self-betterment , and as a mental health advocate, I’m hoping this helps someone else understand their mental state more.
My readers who’ve been following me since I wrote my blog Understanding Depression and Anxiety know that I have battled mental health issues for several years now. If you thought I was vulnerable then, well, hold my Bahama Mama, because you’re in for a ride. Until now, I’ve always been pretty quiet about where this battle started because it’s tough to talk about, but I know this will help at least one person out there, so I’m sharing it with you today.
When I first started my therapy sessions last year and gave my therapist the rundown of my life, she concluded that a particular incident I went through started my experiences with depression and anxiety. It all started in 2013 when I started my freshman year of college with my best friend that I’d known since middle school. I was super excited to embark on this scary but fun adventure with someone I developed a close bond with for almost ten years. She was more like a sister to me rather than a friend.
Fast forward to meeting Marlon, who is now my husband, and introducing him to my best friend. We all liked to hang out together after class and go to the gym together to play games. Well, one day, as we were waiting outside of my dorm room for Marlon to meet up with us, I decided to tell my friend what I was feeling. I said, “Hey, I think I really like Marlon. Do you think I should go for it?” I was so happy when she encouraged me to say something to him, so I did just that. I’m sure most of you can see where this story is going.
I worked up the courage to tell Marlon that I liked him, and I was pleased to find out that he liked me as well. So, I told my friend the good news, and Marlon and I started to date to get to know each other. About a month in, I get a message on Facebook from my friend basically accusing my of standing in the way of her and Marlon being together, even though Marlon never saw her in that way. I don’t know why I still have this message, but I still look at it every now and then — I guess to see if it still hurts. Unfortunately, it still does. Here’s a shortened version of the message she sent that day:
“That very first day we all went to the gym together I started thinking that he was really nice and that if we were to be together, I could actually see a future with him… I was gonna tell you so that maybe you could help me tell him but on the phone you told me… he liked you back and I just went along with it… I’ve always felt like I’m your sidekick. I just wanted to have my own spotlight for a change.”
When I got the message, I was blindsided and sad that she felt this way, but I already knew what I had to do. I always believed that you should never let a man get in the way of friendship, so, stupidly, I tried to end things with Marlon only one month in. Thankfully, Marlon wasn’t having any of that 🙂 . Sadly, my best friend turned every one of our mutual friends from middle school and high school against me. No one would return my calls, texts, or DM’s — I was met with silence.
There was one incident that I’ll never forget — Marlon and I were walking to the diner, and we saw a friend that all three of us knew and cared for. This friend went to elementary school with my best friend, and she went to high school with Marlon. Naturally, my best friend introduced us, and we grew quite close to the point where we hung out together even when my best friend wasn’t around. Anyway, she was walking out of the diner, and when I waved to her, she completely ignored me and said, “Hey Marlon,” and completely walked right past us. I felt unseen, invisible, alone, and broken. It still stings to even talk about it because it’s like I’m reliving it all over again.
I tell you my story because this situation is why I struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and I think it’s important to talk about. I want to normalize the idea that PTSD can come from almost any experience that had a major impact on your mental state. That period of time and for the next three or so years, I had no one else to turn to, and I felt completely alone. My therapist suggested that the PTSD came from losing all of my friends all at once so suddenly and from not being seen or heard because none of my ‘friends’ asked for my side of the story before completely ignoring me. To this day, I have no idea what she said to turn all of my friends against me, but whatever she said to them, I don’t believe it was the truth. If they knew that I had no idea that she liked Marlon first and that she encouraged me to say something to Marlon about my feelings, then maybe they wouldn’t have abandoned me. But, who knows what would have happened?
My advice to you all, especially if you suffer from depression and anxiety but have no clue where it comes from, is to reflect back on your life and think about what you’ve been through. Sit down and have a conversation with yourself — what experiences really hurt you that you don’t let yourself talk or think about? What have you gone through that has had an impact on your life and left you to never be the same again? Once you think you’ve figured it out, please go see a therapist and talk it through with them. It helps tremendously, and once you find the right therapist, everything starts to make sense.
I hope that sharing my story has helped someone today. Maybe you went through something similar, or maybe you thought that only people with combat experience can have PTSD? Maybe the vulnerability that I shared with you will encourage you to be vulnerable in your personal life? Whatever the reason, I’m thankful for you all giving me a safe space to freely share what I’ve been through.
“When I started talking to my therapist, we hit the source of my PTSD and the trauma that came from the things that occurred when I was younger — issues with my father and how that may have affected me. And the PTSD from being fired from the radio. I was unpacking all of these different things.”
— Charlamagne tha God