National Mental Health Day

Today is National Mental Health Day. Before I begin, I would like to thank everyone who supports me in my journey to get through anxiety. It’s a difficult issue to deal with and I am extremely grateful for your support!

One of the things that really bothers me are the misconceptions that surround mental health issues. There are many that upset me, but one of the ones that I personally deal with the most is the assumption that mental health issues are easy to get through and that they are a sign of immaturity, weakness, or laziness. None of these things are true. Mental health issues can be just as difficult to deal with as physical ones. For some reason, many people seem to dismiss this fact.

Battling with negative thoughts, irrational fears, and other mental health problems is not easy. It’s not something that you can just snap out of. Just because getting through anxiety or over other obstacles can take time, does not mean that those who struggle are not trying their absolute hardest on a daily basis.

I personally have struggled with anxiety for several years and know first hand how difficult dealing with the mental health issue can be. There are so many things that I love to do that anxiety holds me back from doing. Yes, I try my hardest to overcome my fears, but that does not mean that my anxiety will just vanish. I only wish it was that simple.

I know that I can’t expect everyone to understand – none of us can. There will always be people who don’t know what it’s like to struggle with a mental health issue. There will always be people who think that we are making up our struggles or simply not strong enough to overcome them. What’s important is that we believe in ourselves and that we remind ourselves that we are stronger than our anxiety.

If you are reading this and are someone who finds it difficult to understand what others go through, please try to remember that we all struggle with something. Just because you may not deal with the same issues, does not mean that they are not real. Also, even if you can’t exactly understand what someone is going through, please try your hardest to be kind to those around you.

To those of you who struggle, you can get through this!

 

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Be The Professor Who Helps

Serenity

I was talking to a good friend of mine this morning when the subject of how universities and schools in general deal with students with mental health issues. While I had many complaints about how my college handled the situation of me struggling with anxiety, I also found that I had many compliments as well. One very important compliment in particular was how some professors try their hardest to be really kind and understanding when it comes to those who struggle.

As Rae from Bookmark Chronicles mentioned yesterday, attending college is hard enough without having to deal with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. When I attended college, things weren’t easy for me. Often times I found myself skipping classes, leaving early, or having to change my schedule around simply because the arrangement of the classroom made things harder for me due to my anxiety.

While some professors…

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Wanting Explanation

Anxiety sucks – plain and simple. There are so many things about anxiety that are frustrating, but today I’d like to focus on one. Today, I’d like to focus on how, sometimes, anxiety seems to come out of nowhere for no reason.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not always sure that knowing the cause for every anxious moment helps. However, sometimes, when anxiety seems to sneak up on me out of nowhere, it would be nice to know why. Maybe then I could go about fixing the problem.

Take today, for example. I’ve been doing really well lately. However, about ten minutes ago or so, I randomly felt anxious! I didn’t really expect it. I was having such a relaxing afternoon and then, BAM!, I just felt anxious. Unfortunately, calming myself down instantly isn’t one of my strong suits. However, now I’m trying to relax and as you can all see, I’m writing this.

It can be frustrating not totally understanding why you feel anxious. Sometimes I understand why I’m feeling this way and others, I have no idea. Right now, I have a couple of ideas why I started feeling stressed but to be honest, I can’t be certain. While on one hand, it shouldn’t matter why I’m feeling so unsettled because I should just work on getting through it, but on the other hand, knowing sometimes makes me feel a little better.

I guess I’m writing this to let you guys know that I know how frustrating it is when you go from feeling calm to feeling really stressed. I know how devastating it feels to go from feeling on top of the world to feeling like you’ve gone back a step. The thing is though, that nothing can erase the progress that you’ve made and that we all have bad days. Don’t beat yourself up! Work hard and you will get through this!

Understanding Others As You Wish To Be Understood

Serenity

I’m guessing most of you have heard the phrase, “treat others as you wish to be treated”. If you haven’t, I think it’s important that you do. Anyway, just as it’s important to treat others with kindness and respect, it’s also essential that you treat them with understanding – especially if you’d like to be understood.

I don’t think I know a single individual who doesn’t want others to try to understand them; to support them. I know that it kills me when others don’t try to understand what I go through with my anxiety, when they draw conclusions without trying to get to know me.

Sadly, I’ve witnessed some hypocrisy going on. I’ve seen some people who I know for a fact have suffered with anxiety or some other health issue only to treat me as if I’m insane just because I don’t struggle in the exact same way

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Mental Health Awareness

As many of you probably know, this month is Mental Health Awareness Month. I honestly wouldn’t have known this except for the fact that many of you have written posts, created tags, and started projects that center around this fact. Before I continue, I would like to thank all of you who have mentioned that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, along with all of you who dedicate your life to talking/raising awareness about mental health issues! Thank you!

I was thinking of creating my own tag for this month, but then I decided that I didn’t want to step on the toes of others who have already done a great job of this. Instead I thought I would write a little about what I think most of us who struggle with mental health issues would like the rest of the world to know! If you would like to add anything to this post, please feel free to add your comments in the comment section! Thanks!

 

Misconceptions

MISCONCEPTION: Those of us who struggle with mental health issues are just acting a certain way for attention.

TRUTH: Most of us actually don’t like getting the negative attention that comes from struggling. We don’t “put on a show” for attention. We genuinely struggle with mental health issues.

MISCONCEPTION: We want to struggle.

TRUTH: We hate struggling! Struggling with a mental health issue usually means sacrificing much of what we want.

MISCONCEPTION: We can just “snap out of it”

TRUTH: While it may be hard to understand, sometimes it’s easier to begin to feel anxious etc. than to stop feeling that way. Our mental health issues cannot just be turned off whenever we wish. If it were that simple, we would have done it already.

MISCONCEPTION: We are not trying to get better.

TRUTH: While it may not seem like it, many of us are trying on a daily basis to get through our mental health issues. It can just be really difficult to do.

MISCONCEPTION: Everyone who has mental health issues are unable to think properly, etc.

TRUTH: We are just as intelligent and capable of thinking as the next person. Sometimes our anxiety and other issues just makes things harder for us.

MISCONCEPTION: Struggling with anxiety or another mental health issue is a sign of weakness and/or immaturity.

TRUTH: Struggling with a mental health issue usually has nothing to do with immaturity. Even the most immature of individuals can struggle. It does not mean we don’t want to grow up. In fact, many of us want to be able to be more independent and successful. Many of us already are.

 

As you can see, there are many misconceptions about mental health issues and those who struggle with them. While not everyone is going to understand people struggle with anxiety, depression, etc. , kindness should always be offered. However, if it’s not, please understand that just because someone doesn’t know how to deal with something or help, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you!

 

What We Want:

Those of us who struggle with mental health issues want to be understood. However, many of us know that some individuals simply don’t. We want the ones we love to care for us and support us. Additionally, those of us who struggle with mental health issues want to get better, want to be able to manage them more effectively. For some of us, doing simple things can seem difficult because our anxiety and other issues get in the way. We want to be able to push through our obstacles and get things done.

 

What You Can Do For Those Who Struggle:

If you know someone who struggles with a mental health issue, you should treat them like you would anyone else that you care for. Remember that we are intelligent individuals who can think just as well as the rest of the world. If we are struggling, the best thing to do is remind us that you are here for us and that you care. If you want to know specific ways that you can help, ask. What we want most of all is kindness and effort in terms of trying your best to be here for us.

 

For All Of You Who Struggle With Mental Health Issues:

You are not alone. Seriously! I know that you might think that it’s just something everyone says, but it’s true. Chances are that at least one (and more than likely, more than one) person understands what you’re going through. They might not deal with the exact same issue as you do, but they probably deal with something very close. Don’t be afraid to talk to the people who you trust. Don’t be afraid to share your story with others (in a safe way, of course). Chances are that someone will understand and listen, someone will care!

 

Just A Few Great Reads, Projects, and Tags! :

Mindfulness and Me – Matt asks great questions to help others to talk about mental health issues and life in general.

Mental Illness Tag – Becca created this awesome tag to help people speak about their mental health issues!

Slippery When Wet – Carla wrote this amazing post on the truth about mental health issues!

 

I highly recommend that you check out these awesome posts, projects, and tags!

 

*Image found on Google Images

 

 

Slippery When Wet

I absolutely LOVE this post by Carla! She talks about the importance of ending the stigmas that surround mental health issues. She asks that people please realize that it’s not easy to just “snap out of” how we feel!

“Is There Anyone Out There?”

Do you ever wonder if anyone else in the world feels like you do? Like a part of you knows that there are others who struggle, but still a part of you feels like you’re the only one who struggles in a very specific way?

While everyone struggles, everyone struggles with different issues. Also, everyone struggles in their own unique way. What do I mean by this? Let me give you an example.

I have severe anxiety. Now I know with 100% certainty that there are tons of others who struggle with severe anxiety. However, I also know that everyone struggles with anxiety in different ways and that everyone’s anxiety manifests in different ways.

Sometimes this is hard for me to deal with – the knowledge that I am probably the only one who struggles in the exact way that I do. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anyone to struggle in the same way that I do. However, at the same time, it would be comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one with these exact issues.

It can be difficult because I see how anxiety effects me, embarrasses me. I experience certain things that I don’t even mention on here – things that I hate and wonder if I’m the only one who experiences them.

The important thing to remember though is that everyone struggles. Even if it’s not with the exact same issues with the exact same effects, there are people who can relate; understand. There are people (and I thank every single one of you) who are here for me, who support me, and who have words of wisdom that they are more than happy to pass along. None of us are alone and all of us have the power to help each other and to be helped.

Still, I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to wonder if anyone feels the exact same way as you and goes through the exact same things as you do. I know what it’s like to wonder if you’re ever going to get through your struggles, if you’re ever going to break free of what holds you back.

My point of this post is to remind you that even if people don’t go through the exact same things as you do, they go through very similar things and feel very similar to how you do. There are people out there who genuinely care about you and who will be there for you.

I want to thank everyone who supports me in my journey to get through my anxiety! I want to give an extra special shout out to Carla from The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise, Matt from In Silence We Suffer, and Jen from The Anxiety Chronicles. You guys have helped me so much, especially this week!

*Picture quote found on Google Images. Song lyrics from Maroon 5’s great song, Harder to Breathe!

When you’re going through a hard time, remember that there are people who care!

Friendship

Today I want to write about friendship. If you had asked me before I created this blog if it was possible to make true friends online, I’m not sure what I would have said. Honestly, I still find making real friends online tricky. Let’s face it, without actually seeing someone in person and being around that person, it’s hard to trust them.

Before I continue, I want to make something clear. I do not, under any circumstances, believe in giving out personal information online to people you don’t know (okay, maybe reliable companies, but that’s it). Without knowing who someone really is, giving away information that’s too personal can put you in a lot of danger. This should be avoided at all costs.

However, I do believe that true friendship can be found online. There are so many people in this world who are smart, caring, and most importantly – genuinely kind. Through writing this blog, I have found that so many people care for one another and empathize with one another. Also, I’ve seen people genuinely want to know how others are doing and that, I think, is amazing.

I’ve made some great friends through blogging, I really have. I feel so blessed that I’ve met these individuals and I really enjoy talking and connecting with them. If you asked me if they were my friends, I would tell you that, yes they absolutely are. Would I give these people extremely personal information about myself? No. However, I know they care about me and I care about them a lot too. I believe that if I needed their help, they would be there for me. Maybe they couldn’t drive or fly over to see me, but they would be here for me. If these individuals needed me, I would be there for them as well.

Blogging has taught me something amazing. There are so many of us who go through similar situations, who struggle with similar issues. There are so many people looking for help, guidance, and respect. You know what else? There are so many people who are kind, understanding, and willing to lend a helping hand.

I consider a great deal of you friends. Some of you I talk to more than others, but you are all important to me. Thank you for sharing your experiences and for caring about mine!

So please be careful online, but don’t totally dismiss the idea that true friendship online is possible!

 

Genuinely Sorry

Yesterday when I was at the bank and struggling, I told my mom that I was sorry. I don’t think she believed me.

As I’ve mentioned, I think a big issue with anxiety is that some of the people we know who don’t experience anxiety, don’t believe that we struggle so much. It seems that for some reason, some individuals are under the impression that we either (a) fake our anxiety, (b) do it for attention, (c) do it out of immaturity/fear of growing up or, (d) enjoy it. There’s also the possibility that they think we go through anxiety for all of the above reasons.

The sad truth is, that these people may never understand that the above statements aren’t true. Honestly, I think there are some people in the world that will never understand what we go through and will never have the patience to deal with it in a kind, loving way. Now, I’m not saying that these people don’t love us or that they perhaps don’t try their best, but what I am saying is that they may never be able to help in the way that we know to be the most helpful.

Like I said, this fact is sad and unfortunate. However, something that is really upsetting is when I apologize and I feel like it’s not believed to be a genuine apology. The truth is that I am sorry. I’m sorry that I struggle. I’m sorry that I sometimes need the help from others to get through what should be simple things. I’m sorry that I sometimes upset others by being so anxious and needing so much assistance!

I think a big reason that the phrase “I’m sorry” might seem so insincere to some is because those who do not deal with anxiety are often under the impression that we can just make our anxiety stop, or that we should be able to. I think some individuals think that if we’re truly sorry, we can and should just stop struggling. As we all know though, it doesn’t always work this way.

Getting through anxiety is often an ongoing process, one that takes hard work and commitment to achieve. Just because things are difficult, we struggle, and we might ask for a lot of help, doesn’t mean that we’re not sorry. What it means is that we go through something that is really hard to manage and cope with.

When I apologize, I mean it. In fact I’ve never apologized and not meant it – ever. I’m truly sorry for putting people through this, for asking them for their help and for requesting so much of them. Also, I’m sorry that I go through this at all. I would love not to struggle with anxiety and I would love not to ask for so much help and feel like I need it. And you know what? I am working on getting better. It may not always seem like it, but it’s true.

So remember, if someone doesn’t believe that you’re sorry, it’s not your fault. Some people just can’t understand what we go through or don’t have the patience. It doesn’t mean they don’t love us, it just means that they don’t understand or find it difficult to grasp something that they personally, don’t struggle with. I wish you all the best and remember, you are not alone and there are people who care and who are happy to help! Also, you are not a burden! Period.