May is mental health month, but for those of us living with mental illness, every month is mental health month.
I started experiencing signs of mental illness from a young age. My name is Matt, I am 15 years old, and I live with Bipolar. When I was 11, I started having insomnia. This went on, and continues to go on to this day. After a while, my parents, realizing I had begun to grow tired, grumpy, and suicidal, decided I spent too much time on my phone. They took it away, hiding it from me. And while it definitely had contributed, my phone was just my way of self medicating. Once they saw that the problem had not been solved, they began to reevaluate.
NAMI has always been important to my mom. She has been going and actively participating for a number of years now. She herself has mental illness. It didn’t surprise her that her son could be suffering with some of the same things she was suffering from. My relationship with my parents back then was rocky, particularly with my mother. We often yelled at each other, never agreeing on anything. I knew something was up with me, but I just didn’t know what. I wanted to sleep for an eternity.
My mother started taking me to therapy around age 12. At first we both had private sessions with the therapist, and then gradually started to have sessions together. It took a few months, but we learned to communicate better with less hostility. I started to learn coping skills, and was introduced to something that has become key to my stability: medication. The process of finding the medications that are right for yourself can be quite hard. Im still on that journey myself. But over time, I began to find meds that worked for me.
My recovery mission has been quite simple. Over time, there have been bumps, of course. But I successfully have made it this far, without any episodes or without hurting myself. Not everyone is so lucky, though. Teens all of the world experience mental illness of some kind. If you are parent, please pay close attention to your children, and maybe we can continue to raise the number of people living with mental illness who have had no psychotic episodes, like me. Hope is abundant, and help is out there.