Monthly Archives: February 2016

8 Things I Learned Years After My Dad’s Suicide

Being a Suicide Survivor takes strength at the same time a vulnerability to process feelings and actions. I hope this helps provide support for those who have lost someone to suicide, as well as an education for those who support them.

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21 Texts to Send People With Anxiety When They Need It Most

By Sarah Schuster                                                                                          Jan 15, 2016

Show someone you care today!

Sometimes you will have a friend that is not feeling like themselves. This happens especially when that friend has a mental illness. It doesn’t take a lot to show you care and support your friend. Take a look at these text messages and see just how easy it can be to make a difference in their life. Show someone you care today!

26 Pieces of Advice That Have Actually Helped People With Mental Illness

By Sarah Schuster

With that expert’s list of ways to manage anxiety, the latest trendy mental health app and that “magical cure for depression” your aunt heard about on TV, it seems like everyone’s full of mental health advice these days.

So, we asked our mental health community to share pieces of advice they’ve actually found helpful. These little nuggets of wisdom aren’t FDA-approved, but when used correctly side effects may include: self-care, acceptance and a little more patience with yourself.

Here’s some advice that’s actually helped people with mental illness:

1. “On a particularly difficult day, I was trying to fight through an anxiety attack and finish all the child-related tasks I needed to complete. My husband kept offering help, and I kept refusing. He pulled me aside in the laundry room as I was frantically folding another load and said, “Just let me help you.” It doesn’t immediately make the anxiety go away, but it’s helped me learn to let go.” — Maria Hildreth

2. “Don’t wait. See a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed. Chances are, someone knows exactly what you’re going through.” — Kristin Salber

3. “I have depression and anxiety (as well as other chronic medical conditions), and after the worst week I’ve had in a while, my doctor said, “Find something you enjoy, and if you can’t find that, find the joy in something.” This really had an impact on me and still reminds me to look for a silver lining.” — Faith Merryn

4. “I have generalized anxiety disorder, and I made friends with someone who’s extremely similar to me. She told me to always be myself and the people who truly care will stick around. It truly did help.” — Julia Ann Lange

5. “Words can hurt to say, but they need to come out. Write all those words down on paper.” Melissa Cote

6. “A friend recently told me that no matter if I get a job one day or not, your life matters as long as you can make people smile. When I think of it that way, it’s easier to see my life as something of worth.” — Emma Wozny

7. “A great therapist I had told me to focus on ‘harm-reduction, not perfection.’ I felt like I was expected to magically ‘get better,’ and she helped me learn that starting with baby steps was totally OK.” — Jen Decker

8. “Someone said, ‘I’ve been here, I know a way out, I’m here to show you too.’ And, ‘It gets better, it may not leave, but it gets better. And it has.” — Tom Everman

9. “I have anxiety and major depressive disorder. This is going to sound ridiculous, but my best friend once told me, “When you’re sad, watch ‘The Simpsons.’” It actually works when I’m panicking, too. It gets my mind off whatever I’m obsessing about, and I usually end up laughing.” — Dawn Czarnecki Seshadri

10. “It wasn’t long after my diagnosis that I was told pretty bluntly: ‘This illness is has no cure. You’re going to carry this illness for the rest of your life. So you can either wallow in the weight of that, or you can fight for your only life and make it a good story.’” — Lyss Trayers

11. “My depression and anxiety stem from a traumatic childhood. Just hearing ‘it wasn’t your fault‘ from my psychologist was incredibly helpful.” — Kathrine Elise

12. “Don’t always believe what your brain is telling you.”Kerri Lewis Brock

13. “It’s OK to feel sad. You don’t need to pretend.”Allyson White

14. “The best advice: Treat yourself as if you were a good friend.” — Julie Jeatran

15. “Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.” — Jennifer Northrup

16. “I have post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. When I was in intensive outpatient therapy, the counselor looked at us and said, ‘It’s over. That moment is over. It isn’t going to happen again.’ For some reason, that resonated with me.” — Nicole Hanes

17. “They told me this: ‘You are not broken; you are a whole person. You are just human. A human who is living, learning and growing. And learning, living and growing comes with bumps in the road. Remember that this is just a bump.‘” — Kallie Kiefer

18. “Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.”Jennifer Northrup

19. “Your worst days will only be 24 hours.“Arielle Smith

19. “You wouldn’t skip a dialysis or chemotherapy appointment. Your therapy appointments are just as important. No excuses.”Jennifer Davis

20. “‘I think you need to give therapy a try.‘ Thanks to that, I started therapy and I’m now on the path to recovery.” — Julianne Leow

21. “Your struggles are your accomplishments in disguise.” Katherine J Palmer

22. “Remember: Depression lies. Don’t believe it.” Beth Brogan

23. “Always ask for help. There is never any shame in asking for help.” — Meghan Shultz

24. “Take life 5 minutes at a time.” — Stephanie Lynn

25. “You can’t give everyone else everything you have. You absolutely have to save a little of yourself for yourself.” — Shawn Henfling

26. “I am a human being. Not a human doing. I just have to be.” — Michelle Balck

Men and Depression: How Male Depression Really IS Different

 

Real Men Really DO Get Depressed A tough guy—a man’s man—doesn’t get depressed. Or so our American culture teaches us. If you believe what you watch in movies, TV and the US media in general, men should always be in control of their emotions,…

Source: Men and Depression: How Male Depression Really IS Different

10 Reasons to Stop Stigmatizing People With Mental Illness

By Rachel Griffin, Oct 16, 2015

I normally post online about Muppets, coffee, musicals and cats, but something happened recently and I can’t stop thinking about it: the Kenneth Cole billboard that links mental illness and gun violence. A blog I posted on my Facebook critiquing it was mostly ignored (it got maybe 2 likes), while I got 318 likes on another post.

That one was about my hair.

So now, I’m on a tireless quest to help people understand why mental health stigma can be devastating. You might think this doesn’t apply to you, but even my super kind-hearted friends have said things to me about mental illness to “help” that felt more like a punch in the stomach. Even I need to work on the way I see myself and others with mental illness.

Here are 10 reasons why you (and I, and everyone else) need to stop stigmatizing people with mental illness:

1. It makes it harder to ask for help.

Those three words, “I need help,” floated behind the curtain of my mind for too long. They’d peek out — peek a little more — and then run back to hide again. I could feel the words trying to slide out of my mouth desperate to be heard, but shame would push them back again. When they finally escaped they wore a lot of costumes, hidden in “I thinks,” “Maybes” and “I’m not sure’s” to cover what I really needed to say.

When we make people feel like there’s something odd/shameful about having a mental health issue, we make it hard for them to admit they need help. Sometimes when they finally do, it’s only when they’ve become most desperate. What should have been a first step becomes a last resort.

2. It makes people feel like monsters.

Once, after telling a friend I took medication for depression, she had a dream I was chasing her with an ax. Because of what I said about depression! I was confused and so hurt. Me? The girl who took a cockroach out of her apartment to set it free? The girl who gave the building exterminator an orange freeze-pop and asked him to please not kill the mouse? It made me never want to tell anyone else ever again.

When the media shouts and obsesses over mental illness like it’s a fearful thing (“Did the mass killer have a mental illness?” “Monster shooter had depression!”) it misrepresents a whole group of people. They don’t often show people with mental illness who are doing phenomenal things in this world. Fear sells, but it also shames.

3. It can make you hurt people you care about, even if you don’t mean to.

Think of all the people you interact with and care about in your life. One out of four of them have a mental illness. You never know who’s listening and how your joking or comments affect them. Educate yourself about mental illness before you make hurtful jokes or get on your soapbox. All the cool kids are not stigmatizing anymore, so you don’t want to look like a goober.

4. It makes people feel alone.

When people don’t talk about mental illness (or whisper it like it’s dirty word) it makes people feel like it’s uncommon or something to be ashamed of. Stigma isolates, but community and connection can be an important part of healing. We need to know our people are out there. We need to know one day we will be welcomed with open arms.

5. It makes people feel guilty about taking medication.

Because of some lame comments from people who I trusted (with no medical background) about medication, I’ve been off my medication about 10 times. I tried so many alternative therapies, but always ended up in the same position. Then when I went back on medication, I felt like a failure. It wasn’t until a brilliant, compassionate psychiatrist sat me down and said, “Stop it,” that I finally changed my attitude. She told me it wasn’t weak to take medication; it was strong. I wasn’t cheating life by taking it; I was cheating myself and everyone else by denying myself it.

Different methods work for different people, but never shame someone for taking medication for their mental illness. It can have devastating consequences.

6. It denies those with mental illness hope.

I moved to New York City from a small town, and now I’m a graduate student at New York University. I have amazing friends and a supportive community. I volunteer and teach amazing kids. I’m happy. But there was a time I couldn’t imagine these things for myself. I didn’t have any role models who had a mental illness. I only knew the stigma.

When people with mental illness come of out the shadows, it shows others they can live successful, beautiful lives — with a mental illness.

7. It makes people feel weak.

When we shame people for asking for help, it makes them feel weak. The idea that anyone can just “get over” or “work though” a mental illness is outdated. On the contrary, it takes tremendous strength to ask for help and stay with treatment. It’s badass.

8. It doesn’t help people get the mental health care they deserve.

Care for people with mental illness should be top-notch (I mean, we’re talking about the brain here), but in my experience, it’s not. I’ve been treated like I’m a child. I’ve been on hold with insurance for 45 minutes only to be told there’s “nothing they can do.” I’ve noticed compassion is missing from our mental health system, and I think stigma is a big barrier as we work to improve our mental health system.

9. It causes lack of education about mental illness.

I remember when I started experiencing obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, I was so ashamed and didn’t understand what was going on. I thought I was just some kind of freak.

We need to educate kids, teens and adults about mental illness so when they’re experiencing the symptoms they’ll know what’s going on. When we are silent, they stay silent, sometimes delaying treatment long after symptoms occur.

10. It’s not compassionate.

We have to have compassion for people with mental illness. And those who have mental illness need to have compassion for themselves. Don’t believe the stigma, and get the help you deserve.