How I Respond to Mental Health Challenges

Lately I’ve realized that I’m into a funk and I don’t know how long I’ve been going through this season of my life. I feel overwhelmed. But is it related to my move across the country last year? Or maybe I continue to struggle after recovering from COVID-19[feminine].

I love the Southern California climate and can be outdoors all year round enjoying the beauty of nature. What’s the problem then, you ask? I don’t know, and that’s fine too. Sometimes life is overwhelming and we cannot identify what is pushing us close to the edge.

I’m the type of person who wants to help others while often hiding my own emotions and feelings. That’s not to say I’m not emotional, but I tend to hold my feelings in for a long time until it all comes crashing down like a waterfall – minus the serenity.

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After PHighting for my life with pulmonary hypertension (PH) for over 17 years, adapting to new standards and ultimately redefining myself, I will admit that I am a different person today than I once was. I find that now I can easily become anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated and angry. Sometimes this change makes me hurt the ones I love the most.

I feel a twinge inside me that I tried to decipher and put aside, but it continued to bother me. It’s close to my heart, but not like the chest pains, throbbing and heaviness that The PH makes me feel. It’s different, but what is it?

All my life I’ve thought of myself as a really good person who tries to make the best decisions, even though sometimes, as my family will tell you, I failed. Its good; we all do. I am human. What we do next is what matters most.

But how can we do the best when we have no idea what it is? What if the world around us felt like it was closing in on us every day?

The other day, I was having difficulty with self-motivation. No matter what I tried to refocus my energy on, I failed. My brain fog and confusion increased which only made me cringe further. When my husband Manny came home from work he asked what was wrong. I collapsed, tears streaming down my face.

The next day I called my mother in Texas. She was there with other family members to celebrate high school and college graduations. When she asked me how I was, I collapsed again. I told her that I had messed up so many times in my life and I regretted things that I couldn’t go back and undo.

She reminded me that we all mess up – it’s part of life. I said I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much in almost 50 years. Sometimes I don’t like the person I’ve become. But why?

Yes, I’ve changed over the years, but why can’t things be like before? What will happen in the future?

Due to this ongoing struggle, I accepted that I needed more help. My GP suggested I see a psychiatrist, but I didn’t think it was necessary at the time. Nevertheless, I made an appointment. Talk about anxiety!

The psychiatrist told me that my anxiety was out of control. Also, my brain fog and lack of focus persisted after I had COVID-19. But the psychiatrist had a plan. Although I was not too enthusiastic at first, we agreed to start new drugs at the lowest doses for a month.

I owe it to my Mental Health to try. Plus, I want to get some of my old self back. Mental health has affected every aspect of my life. But with PH and my other co-existing illnesses, the psychiatrist said, I have more to do than I realize. She was attentive and wanted to help me feel better overall.

So it looks like I have a new player in my medical team. Taking care of my mental health is essential and I’m proud of myself for asking for help. It’s time to get out of this hole.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has helpful resources on its website.

To note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of anything you read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion on issues relating to pulmonary hypertension.