Why a Mental Illness is a Big Deal

I’ve been depressing for awhile now -as in, dealing with Depression. I’ve also entertained its close friend, Anxiety; plus a few hangers-on like Disassociation, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Social Phobias. I didn’t even know those existed till they walked off with some of my mental furniture.

Once I’m back to staring at the cracked ceiling of an empty apartment, I wonder why mental illness is such a BIG DEAL. Why does it always have the ability to kick my butt this badly every time?

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

Because, Mental Illness is a BIG deal.

Yesterday, I witnessed a boy who collapsed into a hysterical fit when his mother said they had to ride in the elevator. A perfectly healthy friend had to reschedule her doctor’s appointment for “a better day.” Another friend told how she could not sleep in the same room as her baby, since the baby’s normal breathing patterns kept her up all night.

Minor issues become major. Small things are big. Mole hills are mountains!

So, now what? Treats? Bed? Movie marathon? I wish. Those things cost money! We need practicality before the rest of our sanity escapes out the window, and takes the rest of the chocolate with it.

Knowing that a mental illness blows things out of proportion is empowering. How? When one of my kids starts melting down, I KNOW to back off and get him a snack. When fear and anxiety cloud my horizon, I KNOW to get outside for a walk. When my friend says she needs to talk, I KNOW to drop everything and listen.

Am I freaking out? Don’t have a mental couch to collapse on? I take a break. I breathe. I run a meditative exercise. Try it; re-focus with what works for you. Then, try the basics: sleep, food, love, happiness.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

On the flip side, stop doing the little things that make it worse: staying up, eating crap, avoiding affection, and wallowing in sadness.

Sounds easy, right? It really is. The trick is to not make it difficult. “Just go get in the shower,” I tell myself. “Just get in there and sit -you don’t even have to wash yet.” Or, “Wrap up in a blanket and hang out on the porch. You don’t have to get dressed.”

See? Believe me, I’m in the camp of making a simple thing much more complicated. I also know how BIG I feel once I get past the little, white lies of my mental illness.

 

©2020 Chel Owens

Need Help? Go On and Ask for It

Mental illness sucks.

That’s the summation of my thoughts, usually after a depressive spiral. It’s what I think when a good friend loses a job because of a schizophrenic episode. It’s my answer when another friend hits the low part of his bipolar cycle. It’s the phrase I mutter in response to people’s suicidal thoughts, lack of desire to do anything, or expressions of overall sadness.

Not only do we all experience the side effects of our mental issues, we also get no support whatsoever from our own minds. When enveloped in the venom of negative thoughts that mental illness supplies, we hear things like:

You’re a terrible person …with specific reasons.

No one likes you …complete with names.

Whatever you try fails …including examples.

No one can help you. No one wants to help you.

All of these Wormtongue-spoken messages are not true. In fact, the last one is the most not-true. There are plenty of people who can help. Heck; there are strange people who voluntarily went to school and paid a lot of money in order to listen to others’ mental health problems all day.

Weirdos.

I speak of counselors or therapists. I speak of psychologists. To some extent, I speak of psychiatrists as well. They have all chosen a career, voluntarily, to listen to crazy people like you and me.

Uh-oh: negative-thought brain is talking again:

They don’t really want to help you. They’re just doing it for their job …with examples of friends or relatives who’ve complained about a bad experience.

It’s impossible to find one who’ll be good …with reasons why your issues are a special case.

You can’t afford a counselor …with a list of your expenses.

matheus-ferrero-yfmjALh1S6s-unsplash

Guess what, brain! They really do want to help you. Granted, there must be therapists who are terrible. There must be some who are in it for the money. If you ask around and/or read online reviews, however, you’re likely to weed out the bad ones. After all, these weirdos did choose their job. In my experience, they did so because they wanted to help people.

Plus, the costs might be manageable. Depending on where you live, some of those strange people who can and want to help are cheap or free. Some are covered by job insurance plans, others by government programs, and still others by ecclesiastical assistance.

Don’t be afraid to ask around, get a good listening ear, and get going on your life!

You are important. You are worth any cost.

I promise.

dan-meyers-hluOJZjLVXc-unsplash

Photo Credit: Pexels
Matheus Ferrero
Dan Meyers

10 Things That Help My Mental Health

More often than not, I struggle most days. I’m sure I pass for a normal adult. But sometimes I’m having a panic attack. Or every little noise makes me irritable. Every day has some amount of stress. The days I struggle with the normal stress are extra difficult. There are a few things I use as coping mechanisms to get me through most days. Sometimes I never leave my apartment and focus on a few of these things. I don’t think I could get by without this list. These are the things I need the most and sometimes don’t get enough.

1. Caffeine (Coffee/Tea)

It’s not uncommon for me to have several cups of coffee throughout the day. I’m trying to cut back by drinking tea in the evenings. As long as I get caffeine, I’m satisfied. Caffeine is a pain reliever. This is why I drink so much. If I’m not drinking coffee, I’m pills for pain relief. The pain is muscle aches. Hypertension. Even when I’m relaxed, I don’t feel relaxed. Caffeine doesn’t make the pain go away, but I don’t notice it as much. I also use the cup or mug as a barrier. I feel safer with that barrier between me and the world.

2. Quiet/Silence

Finding a quiet place is difficult sometimes. Noises don’t always bother me. On bad days, nowhere is quiet enough. Not even my home. Libraries are great if seats are open. Sometimes I must have my back to a wall to feel safe. Sometimes the ambience of a coffee shop is soothing. On the worst days, listening to other people talk is so irritating I can’t be in public. I struggle with friends who feel if I’m not talking that means I’m angry. Usually I need to warm myself up to interact with others. That usually takes a couple hours and a couple coffees.

3. Writing

Writing is one of my passions. I couldn’t survive without the written word. I can convey my thoughts and emotions in written form better than verbally. It’s my way to vent. I get all my emotions out. It prevents me from bottling up everything. It has also helped me work through many of my mental health issues. Sometimes comments from others going through similar situations is enough to help me stay positive. Sometimes writing fiction is a great way to escape. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I couldn’t write down my thoughts and feelings.

4. Human Interaction

When I say human interaction, I mean spending time with loved ones. My support system. I haven’t always had a support system. I never knew how much being close to others could affect my life. I get upset if I don’t talk to this small group of people every day. Their interaction, or lack of interaction, with me can determine if I have a good or bad day. Sometimes we may not speak or text. But we share pictures or memes and it reminds me they’re thinking of me. That thought alone is enough to pull me away from the darkness of depression.

5. Reading

Many people read to escape. They want to imagine a life different from their own. This is part of why I enjoy reading. It’s helps my mental health because it clears my head. If I’m reading, I’m not overthinking something or stewing in negativity. I can focus my mind on the story, and this alleviates my anxiety. This is especially useful if I read before going to work. It’s relaxing and helps prepare me for any potential stress. I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying a book with me everywhere. I could go several days without reading but I always have a book with me in case I need it.

6. Walking

Any kind of exercising can help one’s mental health but not everyone is built to spend hours at the gym. I lose interest in anything over a half hour. When I was in better shape, I could do 45 minutes. Walking, however, is something I can do all day every day. I stopped using my car so I could walk more, and I enjoy every minute of it. Recreationally, I can walk for an hour listening to music from my smartphone. I walk to work or to coffee shops or wherever. It’s exercise and I enjoy it.

7. Staying Busy

When I start running out of things to do, I feel depression spinning its ugly head in my direction. Keeping myself busy with work or projects, even games, helps me focus. When I’m focused on a task or project, I’m not having negative thoughts. I’m less concerned about what may or may not happen. Just like prioritizing tasks, I prioritize my thoughts. Worrying won’t get the job done. I stay busy so I don’t have time to worry. But I don’t get so busy that I feel overwhelmed. I keep a balance between projects and fun. Sometimes my projects are fun.

8. Hugs

This is a difficult thing for me. Hugs are important for everyone. It helps one’s mental health overall. My problem? I don’t like other people touching me. I’ve worked on this over several years. Strangers should definitely never touch me. Acquaintances I’ll give a pass now and then, but I don’t go out of my way for hugs. The handful of people closest to me are the ones I accept hugs from without question. It’s taken me a long time to develop this. Even to allow myself to accept it from close friends. Overall, I don’t get many hugs. But when I do, it changes my world.

9. Photography

I’ve always had an interest in taking pictures. I recently acquired a new camera and I love it. I want to take pictures every day. I don’t know if it’s the task itself, or the act of creating something that makes my soul happy. I’m a creative person. I enjoy creating things. That may be all it is. Or maybe there’s something about photography that brings me more joy than other things. Regardless, it will always be a fun hobby and I recommend it to anyone looking for a creative outlet.

10. Sustainable Income

This is something no one thinks about until they don’t have it. I was unemployed for half of 2018. My mental health hit an all-time low during this time. Most people don’t think about how much financial stability affects their outlook on life. It was eye opening for me. It’s easier to find the good in the world when I happy to have food on the table and a roof over my head. No one can appreciate the small things in life until they no longer have the small things. Having enough money to survive with a little extra is enough. I don’t need all the money in the world. I only need enough.

All these things work for me and I recommend them to anyone looking for something that will help. I will caution that what works for me will not always work for someone else. Still, none of these things will hurt anyone if they try them. It costs nothing to try something you might enjoy.

What To Do?

It’s been a while since I’ve last written on the BPW blog…at least it feels like it’s been a while. Memory is still pretty bad, but cognative function is slowly returning. I’m not excited that it’s returning, because not only did I get used to having no memory, it was actually comforting to have forgotten all the bad without trying. Lately, I feel like I’ve been in a slump. I’ve got a full time job now, so I’m back to work. It isn’t rewarding, but it’s a paycheck, which I desperately needed. I know that “normal” life is a lot of feeling whatever, then short bursts of happiness or sadness. It’s just weird for me, because I felt like I was at the top of the world during my treatment, or rather when the depression finally lifted. Now though, I’m getting used to the feeling of “normal” which isn’t a good or a bad, it’s just kinda blasé. It feels eerily familiar to the numbness of depression, but fundamentally different. It is a little worrisome, obviously, as I never want to go back to being depressed.

The question now is what the hell do I do with my life? I mean, I work 40 hours a week, like almost everyone else in America. But like, my hobbies have suspiciously vanished, my friends are, well, there, but living their own lives too. And I don’t want to cut in on that. I don’t want them to feel like I’m forcing them to make time for me. Y’know? I guess it’s just a part of getting older…people focus more on their careers and romantic relationships, and friendships kinda just sink to the wayside. I know it sounds like my friends are terrible friends, or maybe that I’m a terrible friend, but two of my dear friends, we have an understanding. We can not see eachother for months, then pick it right back up when we do see eachother, like there was no time in between. It’s actually a great style of relationship to me, because it’s very low maintenance, but offers all the benefits of a close friendship. Back to the point, I just don’t know what to do with my life now that I’m not depressed. I mean I can clean, and do chores and such, but my physical pain (slipped disk in my back) still limits me severely. I also want to do something I enjoy, y’know, something that brings me joy. It’s funny, because I’ve never thought of things like that before. Everything I did during my depression, was simply to get my mind away from the suicidal thoughts. Now that I actually want to live life, and bring myself joy and fulfillment, I’m at a loss. I enjoy writing, as you can probably imagine, but I can’t just lay in bed and write my time away. Writing is therapeutic for me, but also can be a source of stress, so it’s a fine balancing act. So I don’t really know what to do? I mean, I want to date again, but my social anxiety is still out of control, especially in romantic situations. I’m on many, if not all, the dating apps, but I don’t really just fire off messages, because not only could that be annoying to the girl, but the effort I put in to messages, and then to receive no response is saddening to say the least. So I don’t really spend too much time on dating apps, plus I may be old fashioned, but I like to meet people in person, develop a platonic relationship, before moving on to romance. So, what do I do with my free time? I am actually looking for answers, so if you have recommendations, let me know. Also, is this sort of weird middle area of emotions just life? Or what? I don’t know…maybe I’m just over analyzing. Let me know, please?

Off My Chest

So, as you can probably tell, this is not going to be like my usual posts. My brain has returned to its normal, insanely fast pace. I of course didn’t really do anything positive to help myself. I watched some of the saddest music videos I could find. Of course, you know that I believe music to be one of the most powerful things that humans have ever created. A single certain song can make or break your whole day. Today, the song that set my spiral was 1-800-273-8255 by Logic. You may or may not know that that’s actually the number to the National Suicide Hotline. And of course, it has a very sad music video, and very sad lyrics. I found myself sobbing at the end, and went on my usual depressive train…I am not proud of myself, because I worked so hard to become not depressed, and here I am, willingly slipping back into it. Granted, this is not my old clinical depression, this is simply situational depression. Yet, that doesn’t make it suck any less, and that doesn’t make it less terrifying to me.

What I have to get off my chest, is the two main reasons that I wanted to die while I was depressed. These may sound like small problems to you, but to me, they meant everything.

The first reason I wanted to die, is that I am a empath. See, sounds trivial, but let me explain. You see, when I see, or hear about people struggling, with anything, my depression deepens because I cannot help them. It really all stems from the phrase, “You can’t save everyone”. That single phrase kills me inside. There are things going on in peoples life that makes them suicidal. Or maybe you were/are like me, and you’re suicidal for no reason, all the time. You know, now that I think about it, I probably should have started with reason two, because they are rather intertwined. The second reason I wanted to die, is the world f*cking sucks. There are such injustices in the world, slavery, oppression, corporations pushing products down our throats. I like to think that I’m what the kids call “woke” in that I see everything wrong with the world. Yet, I’m only one person. I can’t fix the worlds problems. You see how the two problems are intertwined? It hurts me to my core that there are so many problems in the world, and I can’t fix any of them. I can’t save everyone, nor should I. But that’s where my empathy takes control of my mind. I so badly want people just to love each other, and love themselves. So, I started blogging to help with my own issues, and I really wanted to help as many people as I could reach. The internet is a wild thing, we are all connected now, literally. How can I focus on myself, when there are so many problems in this world. Now, I have to stop myself from thinking like this, because it will drive me deep back into depression, and I cant go back, I won’t.

For real though, like what the actual f*ck is hate? Why do some people hate other based on their skin color, gender, sexuality, whatever. It pisses me off. It pisses me off even more that I used to hate people based on things they couldn’t control. Yet, the wealthy and greedy all only care about money or power, or both. I mean, we could cure cancer, but do you know why we won’t? There is more money to be made treating the disease than curing it. That’s f*cked isn’t it?! Why the actual f*ck is there a market for child sex? Like WTF is wrong with people? Why do corporations continue to destroy the planet, and then blame our individual actions? Like me using a plastic straw is worse than dumping millions of gallons of trash into the ocean. This world is just full of such bullsh*t, and I couldn’t stand it. That’s why I wanted to die. The rich and powerful continue to trick the rest of us, making us think we can change things. But as soon as we affect their bottom line, it gets swept under the rug.

I am terrified to have kids, because I KNOW that I won’t be able to leave the world a better place for him/her/them. And I’m just supposed to live my best life, while turning a blind eye to all this? How the heck can I do that? I so desperately want to live a normal, not even happy, just like baseline, life. These thoughts though, it is a real struggle. Now don’t get me wrong, there is true beauty in the world. I want to be able to focus on the good in life, I think that’s the only way I’ll make it, but I don’t know if I can. I need hope. It’s as simple as that. ECT did treat, and probably, cure my med resistant depression. But without hope, I don’t see my life changing all that much. Please. Whatever you do, just love yourself, love others, let’s make this world a place suitable for our children, our children’s children. Let’s just live and love life. Please.

What Are Friends For?

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re the needy friend in the relationship? I do, quite often I might add. You see, my depression was pretty much taken care of by my ECT treatment. The thing that didn’t go away, or even get better as a matter of fact, is my anxiety. Particularly my social anxiety. I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn here, but I am rather observant. Which, combined with my overthinking capabilities, can get me into so rather “sticky” trains of thought.

As a quick related side note, my family has been more or less disfuntional for just about ever. Yet, more recently I feel like it’s kinda falling apart. We don’t eat meals together. We don’t really gather all that much. I mean honestly I rarely ever see either of my siblings, and both of them are just upstairs. It probably has something to do with everyone getting older. My mother is well into her 50’s now, my siblings and I all in our 20’s. It just feels different than the normal dysfunction.

Back to the point, because of this, I’ve been going out to eat more often. However, due to my social anxiety, I find it incredibly difficult to do so by myself. It feels like, to me, that going to a restaurant and eating by myself makes me stand out too much. I almost feel like I shouldn’t be there. Needless to say, it makes me very uncomfortable to dine by myself. So I usually ask my family if they want to join me. Most of the time, it’s a no. But then, if we don’t go out to eat, and nobody cooks dinner, then are we just not going to eat? This happens uncomfortably often in my house. Granted, we are all grown adults, and able to fend for ourselves, but then I run into 2 problems. One, being that I can’t go out to eat by myself due to the wonderful anxiety associated with it. Two, if I make a meal for myself, the rest of the family gets upset that I didn’t cook for everyone. See, the second part I don’t have that much of a problem with. Unlike my two siblings, I was raised to think that if you are going to cook dinner, you cook it for the whole family.

Another quick related side note, I have a lot of these preconceived notions in my head about right and wrong, and how I should act accordingly. The issue is, is that most of these notions, are either self-detrimental, or are there because of my depression.

So, I can’t make dinner for myself, and I can’t go out by myself, where does that leave me? I usually call up my good friend, who lives just down the road. Let’s call him R, for the sake of his privacy, and my own. So, R and I have been friends for about a decade now. I met him through video games, and we quickly hit it off and became good friends irl (in real life). The problem that I’m facing now, is that I feel like I’m putting in a lot more effort into our friendship than he is. I also feel like I’m “The Needy Friend” because I am normally the one who initiates time together. As you can imagine, with my disposition to eating alone, I have been calling him more often than I used to. I mean, I also am a lot less depressed these days, so I am probably just overthinking it.

So, the question, that I am finally getting at, that I have for all of you is: Do you consider what I’m doing, to be okay? Like “normal” I guess? I feel like I call him numerous times a week, and want to hang out, grab a bite, whatever. I have had a lot of time on my hands, because he has been working, and I (until August) am not. So, honestly, would you consider me the needy friend? Hopefully none of you relate to this, because friendship is a glorious thing. Especially close friends, especially when your family is as lacking as mine. So, I basically want your advice TBW fam, what should I do?


And if you have a quick minute, or want to read more by me, check out my home blog Out Of My Mind

For the Strong Who Feel Weak – A Guest Blog Post

This a guest blog post from contributor that has posted here before, Emily K Harrington. Please enjoy.

For the Strong Who Feel Weak

If you live with an ice-cold knife in your chest. If you’ve ever felt your soul catch on fire. If you’ve had bugs crawl under your skin. If your body has ever felt so tight you felt your physical form contracting… you’re my people.

If you have lost all hope or had none to begin with, I’ve been there. If you’ve tried therapy and coping skills and it didn’t help, I’ve been there. If the medications you’ve been prescribed made you worse instead of better… I’ve been there. But where I am now is beautiful and meaningful, and I started exactly where you are. And I didn’t get better on my own. I’ll never be cured, but I can live a life in which I am willing to occupy my body.

Logistically and philosophically, things can only get worse to the point at which you die. It can’t get worse than that. It isn’t always possible for things to get worse. But it is always possible for things to get better. Things can always get better. This is true. So, wherever you are, with whatever lack of hope you have, it is unequivocally true that it is possible for your life to improve.

You’re strong. You’re in pain. You’re out of answers. You’ve lost hope.

And all I can offer is words. At the end of the day, you’re the only one who lives inside your head and gets to make decisions about your life.

If you’re struggling, you’re not alone, and there are literally hundreds of millions of other people online who have had your same symptoms and some version of your experiences. No two humans are exactly alike, but none of us are really that different, either. We’ve all got the same chemicals in our brains, just different balances. So reach out. (Themighty.com is a great place to read other people’s stories or just comments on daily life with any one of many health problems, mental and physical. The Mighty is a loving community, and if you have a story to tell, you can submit it to them to potentially get published. Your story could reach many people, so if you have something to offer (and everyone does), write your story and get your helpful information out into the world to help others.)

You are so strong. You’re having a bad day or month or year. You may have terrible, repetitive thoughts, but you are not created out of those thoughts. Thoughts come and go, and even if some come back over and over, that repetition doesn’t make them true. You are a human with inherent worth and lovability. Even if it feels like no one loves you, you’re worthy of love. Even if you feel weak, you’re carrying a burden that takes tremendous strength to bear. Even when there’s no one to talk to, you still have options for expressing your feelings.

You are actually pretty great. You deserve love. You deserve happiness. You deserve meaning. You deserve safety. You deserve respect. You deserve to express all of your feelings, positive or negative. You deserve to live in less pain.

There is hope out there. There are doctors and therapists and blogs and communities and self-help groups and books on how to feel better. There are concrete things you can do to minimize your pain.

This is your journey. For good or for ill, it’s yours. So stand up and fight. Life is an adventure, and adventures are dangerous and scary sometimes, and can be exhausting. This adventure is yours, alone.

At the end of your life, you will not be on your deathbed saying “I wish I had spent less time helping and loving people.” Give a hug. Hold a door. Text your mom to say you love her. Pick up a piece of trash from the ground and throw it away properly. Give blood. Give that homeless vet a little bit of money. Compliment the cashier at the grocery store. Smile at a child. Spread love in the world. It will help you every time.

Stop guilting yourself. Stop blaming yourself. Stop berating yourself for things you have no control over. Stop calling yourself names. You are not worthless, weak, a burden, unlovable, broken, ugly, stupid, or a loser. If you just started crying, it’s probably because you think one or more of those words is true about you. It’s not. No more self-hate. For a moment, imagine what it would look like (in terms of your actions) for you to love yourself. What would you do to show yourself love? pause to think Do one of those things today.

There is always hope, but you won’t always be able to believe it. You’re always worthy of love, but that won’t always feel true. Continue to allow your thoughts to come and go, to simply be things that happen in your mind that are then replaced with other happenings. You won’t always see clearly: such is the nature of mental illness. But you’ll come back. You always come back.

I know we don’t know each other; all I know is that you’re reading about mental health online right now, which means you’re seeking to understand yourself or others. For that, I am very proud of you, and you have permission to be proud of yourself, too.

Love and empathy forever.

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js


Depression Over the Ages

It’s a funny thing, depression. One of the loneliest conditions a person can experience, it’s nonetheless felt by millions upon millions of people the world over. And yet, despite being so prevalent, no two people experience it quite the same, even though the outcomes are so often similar.

When I first succumbed to the onslaught of depression in the early 2000s, there wasn’t a whole lot for me to know about it. I felt miserable, I wanted to sleep all day, I hated myself and my life, and daydreamed of death virtually non-stop. It was a distinctly personal experience, and one that I had trouble sharing with … well, anyone.

You see, the advent of easy global communication was still a year or two away, and in the beginning, there was just myself and my friends at school. My friends at school didn’t really understand depression – even with my closest friend, Jen, who I know suffered as I did, I struggled to communicate the depth of despair and self-loathing I felt every day.

The funny thing about misery, though, is that it loves company. I eventually found myself on AOL chat rooms and other instant messaging platforms, and suddenly a world was opened up to me – a world of dark, dangerous, depressed people who felt just the way I did (and some of them were even worse). For the first time in my life, I truly realized I wasn’t alone, and although I never met any of these chat people in real life, my online presence became my life. I would count the breaths until I could sign on again to talk to my dark, gothic friends.

These ability to communicate thoughts and feelings was, in some ways, a saving grace. Without it, I would have been truly alone, and I don’t know how long I could have survived in such a state. I have little doubt I would have killed myself.

Before this, though – before people could easily communicate – what did depressed people do? How did they let out their frustrations, vent their feelings, and cope with the voice in their head telling them they would be better off dead?

I mean, depression isn’t exactly a new phenomenon; famous figures throughout history have notably suffered, including Tchaikovsky, Churchill, and Cobain. As public figures, of course – and as artists – they had some form of outlet, but what about the countless ‘little’ people, the ones with no outlet, no forum, and no way of telling the world that they aren’t happy? What of all those lonely souls throughout history?

Whilst depression may not have changed in a million years, our reaction to it certainly has. Even though it’s still considered taboo in some circles to discuss mental illness at all, the fact that it can be discussed is, in itself, a revelation. I came across a post the other day on Reddit about a young girl who was contemplating killing herself. It was a heartbreaking read, but what made it bearable was the fact that, without hours, there were literally hundreds of comments in support of her and her experience – hundreds of people who reached out through the anonymity of the internet to try and help her through this difficult moment.

I’m not saying that people who suffer from depression are in a better place now than in the past; the disease is powerful, and can make lonely the most outgoing of people in a heartbeat. But what we do have now, that we never had before, is a forum through which to discuss our suffering. A place we can go to learn from others, and share our experiences. And whether that’s on Reddit, Twitter, or right here on WordPress, there is a world of loving and caring individuals out there who are willing and waiting to hear what you have to say.

So don’t be lonely, and don’t be a stranger; reach out. Someone will answer.

Become a Patron!https://c6.patreon.com/becomePatronButton.bundle.js

The Long Expensive Road to Recovery

I recently had my first appointment with a psychiatrist. I had counseling when I was six and again when I was eight but nothing since. There was a lot of trauma to discuss over nearly 30 years and this was the first session, so I felt I rambled a little too much. I was told this was normal for the intake. I think they got the overall picture but part of me feels like there were things I didn’t get to say. I had to remind myself there will be plenty of other sessions to discuss all the things.

This being the first time I’ve actively sought out help, I’m proud to say I did this on my own. No one told me to get help. There was no court order. I chose this. The was caused due to several factors. I now have insurance through my employer and therefore the costs are less. I could see my personal and professional relationships becoming strained due to some of my issues and I wanted to solve this before I caused serious damage. More importantly, I want those people to see I’m doing something to correct the problem. If others see an effort being made to correct an issue, I think they’ll be more understanding of what I’m personally going through.

Obviously, one session isn’t enough to provide a diagnosis. There are so many titles and subcategories and specific labels. They are leaning towards something in one of the traumatic disorders, but it will probably take a few weeks to get a firm diagnosis. This is just a label to me. Something to tell others. What’s important is the treatment. I can call this whatever I want, and it won’t make any difference if I don’t do something to correct the issues or don’t deal with the trauma on a conscious level. If anything, a name for my trauma and issues will only help me get disability from the state. Is that what I want? No, but I might have to in order to have money to pay for treatment.

This is the first step in a long journey. I don’t know how long it will take. If I focus on the finish line, I’ll feel it’s too far and give up. I can only take it one day at a time. One session at a time. This would be easier if I didn’t need a lot of dental treatment as well. I have almost $1,000 in dental costs I’m saving up for and now I need a couple thousand to reach my insurance deductible. Thankfully my insurance provides a Health Savings Plan that I can put money into but even that’s a long way from having enough money in it to cover all my costs. It’s so expensive just to be alive.

Parents, How Do You Do It?

I’m 25 years old, not married (but in a two-year long relationship) and I have no children. I would like to get married one day but I’m not sure about being a mother.

One of my countless worries is my ability to parent with a mental illness. I know people have babies and parent every day with mental health struggles, but I have no idea how it is possible.

There are days when I can’t get out of bed. When I can’t focus on anything but the ruminating thoughts in my head and all I want to do is be alone. How do you care for your children when you can’t care for yourself?

I’m also afraid of my child growing up in this hellish world. I hear horrible stories every day about the evil acts done to children at my work so I can’t not think about the possibility of something traumatizing happening to them. I worry that they could be born with a physical or mental disability or a mental illness like myself.

I would feel so guilty! I imagine that I would never feel that I was good enough and could never give them the life they deserve.

Parents out there who have a mental illness, please comment below and tell me how you do it! What are the struggles? Do your child(ren) also have a mental illness?

I would really love some insight on this.

P.S. I also know that parenting is not for everyone. I don’t know if it’s for me which is why I am asking questions. It’s for science!