Mental Health Awareness Month is recognized throughout May.
We owe it to ourselves to take care of our bodies and minds.
Self-care is vital.
I’ve written this post and hit the delete button a couple of times.
I didn’t think I could share my vulnerabilities.
But if I can help somebody else in some small way, then this post is worth it.
This is my story.
Mental Health: My Truth
My mental health has been at an all-time low.
I suffer from depression.
That’s my truth.
17.3 million American adults suffer from depression in a given year.
I’m one of these 17.3 million Americans.
I’ve been battling clinical depression and severe anxiety for a while now.
But only recently did I learn what it was.
I knew something was wrong in the past, but I didn’t bother to address the underlying issues.
That was a mistake.
I thought I could white-knuckle my way through it.
Over the years, I’ve tried to hide my depression, fearful of judgment.
But I’m not afraid any longer.
I suffer from depression.
I’m sure that depression is genetic in my family.
I have to face depression without fear.
Some days it feels like a dark cloud hangs over me.
It takes every last bit of energy and inner strength I have to get out of bed, get a shower, get dressed, and start my day.
But I’m going to be okay.
I’m working through it, taking it day by day.
Some days I have minor victories.
If you’re battling depression, it can feel like a 500-pound weight sits atop your chest.
“Oh, my God; how will I do it today?”
I’ve asked myself that so many times.
“How am I going to do this today?”
Then there are the days when I feel so overwhelmingly and inexplicably sad.
And I don’t know why.
That, as I’ve come to understand, is depression.
Taking Control of my Mental Health and Depression
Last year, I enrolled in psychotherapy and began taking Wellbutrin.
Today, I participate in regular therapy sessions every other week.
My therapist is outstanding.
Nevertheless, it’s my job to put in the hard work.
And the work can be challenging.
Every day I strive to become a better person, a better version of myself.
There are days when I fail miserably.
And there are other days when I see myself making slow but steady progress.
Right now, what’s most important to me is living a healthy, emotionally balanced life.
I try to avoid toxicity if I can help it.
My therapy is a journey.
I’ve tried to dig deep into my past to discover the genesis of my feelings and emotions – anger, sadness, loneliness, rage, confusion, and more.
Taking control of my life, to me, is understanding who I am and what motivates me.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned what drives my insecurities.
Exercising impulse control and thinking about the consequences of words and actions has helped me become a better version of myself.
I still fail many times over.
But I keep at it every single day.
If you’re experiencing similar issues, I’m here to listen.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of your mental health.
Your mental health is too important to let fall by the wayside.
A Miner Detail recognizes its impact on mental health
A Miner Detail is a Maryland politics blog that I started in 2015.
My site is written as a resource to inform Marylanders about their elected officials and candidates for public office.
From the first day I launched my site a little over seven years ago, I hoped to provide Marylanders with helpful information they can use when it comes time to vote.
I’m writing about people.
These are people who, just like me, have feelings and emotions.
There have been times in the past that I didn’t appreciate or understand how the stories I publish on my site can affect somebody’s feelings or mental health.
The internet is still so impersonal, despite the advances in technology that instantly connects us with loved ones, friends, family members, work colleagues, and public officials.
There are times in the past when I’ve lost touch with reality.
I had forgotten that I was writing about a person.
I understand that some of the stories I’ve written on A Miner Detail over the last seven years have caused others pain.
Politics is personal.
My intentions have never been to cause anybody any unnecessary pain
But I understand that a handful of the stories that I have written in the last seven years have negatively impacted the subjects of my work.
A Miner Detail has done some quality journalism since launching seven years ago.
Our writing has forced some local governments to take a hard look at their ethics policies.
We’ve exposed some politicians as irrational public actors.
And we’ve reported on and blogged about the toxic politics that has taken hold of our political culture.
We’ve upset some people, and I’m sure we’ve even caused pain.
I’m genuinely sorry and remorseful if I’ve ever hurt somebody – through A Miner Detail or otherwise.
My mission is always to put the facts first and approach every story without malice.
I am sure that A Miner Detail hasn’t always contributed positively to our political dialogue.
For that, I’m truly sorry.
We’ll do better.
Eric is my dear friend and professional colleague at A Miner Detail.
He and I have experienced our fair share of public blowback over the last seven years.
It’s gotten ugly.
Our skin is thick, but some of the stuff flung at us, especially the stuff that’s not true, really hurts.
Eric and I accept the blowback as a consequence of political blogging.
I am not immune to criticism, nor is Eric.
We take feedback seriously, and we make an intense effort to improve ourselves and our writing.
But we’re still human beings.
We’re flawed, just like everybody else.
We make our fair share of mistakes, but we do our absolute best to correct and amend any errors on our site.
Anonymous Attacks and Internet Bullying
Here’s what you should know (and probably already do).
I haven’t lived a perfect life.
Far from it.
During my early college years and mid-’20s, I made my fair share of mistakes.
I wish I could change the past.
But I can’t.
My mistakes are public.
It’s all out there.
I am embarrassed. I am remorseful.
However, my mistakes are a small part of who I am; my mistakes do not and will never define me.
I’ve learned a lot in the last 17 years or so.
Yet it feels like some people want to believe that I am only the sum of my worst moments.
They want to believe that I cannot change or that I’m somebody I’m not.
You know what?
That does hurt.
I own those painful feelings.
That judgment hurts a lot.
Some of the internet blowback and online bullying aimed at me over the last couple of years has taken its toll on me.
I always thought I’d never concede that others have “gotten to me.”
But there’s real pain involved here.
I, too, am a person.
I have feelings, emotions, and pain points.
Some recent online attacks have genuinely hurt me, my family, and even some of my closest friends.
An individual has recently launched a series of anonymous and false attacks.
We cannot figure out the person’s motivations for doing so.
The individual behind the attacks have so much to lose and nothing to gain.
This person is seemingly and inexplicably hellbent on harming our lives, spreading vicious lies about me, and destroying my credibility.
The person attacking me undoubtedly wishes to remain anonymous; they wouldn’t want someone to publicly out them.
For now, revealing the aggressor’s identity won’t resolve much.
We want the aggresor to stop their online bullying, leave us alone, and pretend like we don’t exist.
But we’re afraid this person’s nefarious attacks won’t stop; they’ve demonstrated an unhinged obsession with causing trauma and tormenting my family.
And this person has crossed a line.
This person’s actions have made my wife and children fear their safety.
They are causing trauma.
For no reason.
Is it to get even with me?
You won: You’ve gotten what you wanted.
You have contributed significantly to our family’s pain.
This isn’t fair to my family.
I want you to stop.
My family should never feel afraid to remain in our own home.
But we do feel afraid – because of you.
Please leave us alone.
You know that I have always been there for you.
We don’t understand what and why you’re doing this.
Please, please leave us alone.
Mental Health Resources
Here are 60 online mental health resources.
Please call 911 if you’re in an immediate crisis.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
- Crisis Text Line: Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling
- Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990
Suicide Prevention Organizations
- The Devon C. Rubenstein Foundation
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- The Trevor Project
Quick Online Mental Health Treatment
Finding Mental Health Treatment
- FindTreatment.gov: Find a provider treating substance use disorders, addiction, and mental illness.
- American Psychiatric Association Foundation: Find a Psychiatrist
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder
- American Psychological Association: Find a Psychologist
Take Care of Yourself
Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to break the stigma.
I know it’s scary to talk about mental health and the pain you feel.
Trust me, I’ve deleted this post a dozen times or so.
But we have to talk about mental health.
For anyone who shares a similar journey, I’m here for you.
I mean that. I’m here for you.
My email is Ryan@AMinerDetail.com.