My Mental Health With Sickle Cell Disease

I recently got diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It seems the struggles of living with sickle cell keep piling up over the days, from one (unsolved) problem to another. I must confess that it’s stressful and getting on my last nerves.

The truth is, I am beginning to get extremely exhausted with the episodes of infections, pain crises, organ problems, eye problems, more pain crises, anemia – just name it. It’s a tall list when it comes to living with sickle cell.

A positive attitude only gets me so far

Although I try to get through it with a positive mindset and attitude, I sometimes break down in tears and ask the selfish question, “Why me?” I cry and kick things out of frustration, and I get tired sometimes.

It’s a new year, and sickle cell still sucks. All warriors ask and hope for is a cure so we can live a normal life like everyone else.

When mental health breaks down

This was the first time I entered and got admitted to the psychiatric ward. I never knew mental health could get that bad. I used to think: Oh, I’ll be sad, then I’ll not be sad. Then I’ll be happy and not happy, and that’s all there is to this mental health issue. But I was wrong.

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Mental health is underrated. The things that I realized while being in a psychiatric hospital overwhelmed me. I kept asking myself, "Why would anyone be subjected to so much pain and torture and not even know when it will end or if it will ever end? How does one cope with an already stressful life with sickle cell?"

It wasn't until I started realizing these things that I saw how much I underrated mental health.

No moments of peace in my life with sickle cell

For a while now, all I do is wish for death. I just want to be free from all this and have some peace. It seems impossible to have some peace in this world while you still breathe.

Now that I think about it, I’ve realized that I’ve never really had a moment of peace in my life. It’s a problem, after infection, after mental disorder, and the list is long. All this has been weighing on me, and all I did was keep going. As if I had any other choice.

Everyone needs breaks

Everyone needs a break. That’s why workplaces and even the hospital give time for a break. Yes, everyone suffers from one thing or another and that is just how life is. I think the reason most people have mental health issues is because of how much they piled up without getting a break. So eventually, it gets too heavy to handle, and the brain gives up on them.

Having an episode and later being told some of the things I did, I was shocked. It was all just too much, and I didn’t get a break to cool off. Just like a car's engine can give up – poof – just like that. Well, whether I die today or not, I promise myself to take a lot of breaks because I never want to experience that again – never, ever again.

I’m learning to talk more to people than just my notebook. I’m learning to let go of past trauma and just rest if I need a few months off from everyone just to breathe, heal, rest and be human no matter what I’m going through. Whether it’s another infection, a series of crises that seem to never end, or losing another warrior, I am taking breaks in between, whether my health will permit it or not.

Pay attention to your mental health

The bottom line is that mental health is seriously underrated, and people need to pay more attention. To be honest, what I experienced scared me. To think that it was possible I could be roaming the streets or stuck in a mental health institution because of sickle cell makes me know that sickle cell needs to be paid more attention. We are really going through just too much and mostly with no one to talk to about it.

I’ve spoken to a few sickle cell warriors, and trust me, they don’t really feel like warriors. The neglect of sickle cell is beginning to weigh all the burden on the already suffering patient.

My heart goes out to mental health patients all over the world. I never imagined how scary it could be or what it even means to have lost your mind until now. It is definitely not a pleasant thing to experience. Please take extra care of your mental health.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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