The Voices of Mental Illness

Mental illnesses and disorders are so much more common than most people realize. Unfortunately, mental health isn’t talked about as much as it should be. It usually only comes into focus if a famous person is experiencing it or dies by suicide, like recently with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. [May they find peace and rest peacefully.] While it’s heartbreaking and a tragedy no matter who is experiencing it, it shouldn’t only be talked about if it involves someone who is well-known.

There are so many things that people still don’t know when it comes to the struggles of living with a mental illness or disorder. Part of the reasoning can be attributed to anxiety. Another part of the reasoning can be attributed to the stigma that is still undoubtedly attached to mental health.

Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. —9.8 million— experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. — National Alliance of Mental Illness

I am one in four adults who is living with serious mental disorders.

In May of 2018, I decided to make mental health-related topics one of the main focuses of my blog. More often than not, talking and having a conversation about things is one thing that helps me the most. My goal is to help improve my own well-being, but it is also one of my goals to try and help others in the process. I hope that, by using my blog to start conversations and to spread awareness, it helps at least one person out there who may feel like they’re the only one going through the struggle. Because they are far from alone.

I want to share some quotes from people like me, who have or are currently experiencing the trials and tribulations of a mental illness or disorder. They are all things that we want to share in hopes that it sheds some light on what it’s like to live with it/them. Perhaps we don’t feel comfortable telling you ourselves, or we don’t have a good opportunity to speak up or start a conversation, or maybe we just don’t have a channel in which to share it. They are completely unedited from some lovely people I have connected with on Twitter and Instagram.

I recently shared this on my Twitter and Instagram accounts to help spread the word about this project, which I decided to call “The Voices of Mental Illness: What We Want Need You To Know.”

If you ever have anything that relates to mental health that you would like to share, please feel welcome to comment or email me through my contact form and I will respond as soon as possible. I may not like talking on the phone, but I love reading comments and receiving emails! I am always open to quoting anything you’d like to share with my readers, interviewing you for a blog post, and more!

The Voices of Mental Illness: What We Want Need You To Know

“I want people to know just because you have to keep your house neat and organized doesn’t always mean you have OCD. There are 4 different types of OCD. When you have OCD your triggers can be anything. I personally have a type of OCD which causes intrusive thoughts and “checking,” which means I will check an already locked door 10 times before going to bed because of the fear of something bad happening. It’s very hard to live with and makes relationships very hard.” — kbrooke_dailey on Instagram

“I wish they hadn’t written anxiety as just a personality flaw and prompted me to get professional help.” — jusanotherqueen on Instagram

“No one pays rent in your head so get them out of your mind and focus on you!” — efruithandler on Instagram

“Some days, just waking up and eating is enough. It’s okay not to be ok.” — mrsx.lifestyle on Instagram

“One of the hardest and most dangerous things about any type of mental health is how much it isolates you. It makes you feel like you are entirely alone, that no one can possibly understand and a lot of the time the people around you probably don’t. My advice is to go online and find a support group, either online or in your local area. Your GP might be able to suggest one too. The idea of tlaking to strangers might seem terrifying, and at first it will feel a bit odd, however, once you get talking and realise that people are describing exactly how you feel you will really benefit from it.

I’ve suffered from depression for over half my life now (since I was 14, I’m 32 now) and while it will never go away, I want people to know that it does get better. There is a light at the end of that dark tunnel. It might take you a long time and a lot of trial and error to get there, but it can and will happen. You will know happiness again.” — Heather Trend on Facebook
 

Jennifer from Style Me Fantasy also connected with me via Facebook. She says,

“I deal with depression in the same way as my other chronic health limitations. I’ve educated myself on my condition, I (usually) know my limits, and I build padding and backup plans into schedules. I feel lucky to have the tools I need to succeed. I hope the next generation can take them for granted.”

I think that Jennifer has a great point. The first step to understanding any health condition is education. That’s probably one of the first things I did once I started piecing together my diagnosis. Ever since then, I’ve been doing my best to understand my emotions and feelings so that I can understand my own limits.

Jennifer shared something with me about what she has and is still currently going through, and she invited me to share it in this post. I hope that, in reading it, it helps us all understand how important it is to start the conversation. Talking about it is an important step in breaking the stigma.

My husband and I both lost our fathers young; his to heart attack, mine to suicide.

When my son was old enough to ask why he didn’t have grandfathers, we told him that they were sick. “Dad’s dad had a sick heart; Mom’s dad had a sick brain. Both went to doctors, but chose not to do what they were told.”

I will eventually have to sit down with my son and talk about mental health and the very real possibility that his neurology is atypical, like my father’s and mine. While I try hard to not let my own clinical depression affect his life, I make a point of discussing it around him as openly as I would, say, my husband’s back pain that acts up sometimes.

I’m hoping that by introducing the idea of mental illness as a biological phenomenon early, and focusing on how it can be managed like other medical issues, it will smooth the way to recovery if he ever finds himself struggling.


 
I’d like to send out a special thank you to those of you who contributed something to this post. All quotes are unedited from real people who have experience with some sort of mental illness or disorder.

Even though this post is live on my blog, this project is on-going and far from over. Stay tuned for more from “The Voices of Mental Illness: What We Want Need You To Know.”

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Nicole

My name is Nicole, and I’m very happy that you decided to stop by and visit my blog! I write about mental health, and I post the occasional product review. I’m most passionate about writing, mental health advocacy, and gaming. My husband and I live in the South with our five tabby cats and two parakeets. If you ever want to connect with me, please don’t hesitate to visit my Contact page.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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