Category Archives: Mental Health

Dear Mom and Dad, I Need You to Accept My Mental Illness

Dear Mum and Dad,

 

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have this voice in my head. At first it was just a whisper, sneaking in late at night when it was quiet. But the voice got louder and spoke to me more and more over the years. It makes me doubt my every action, it makes me agonize over every word I speak. It tells me I am stupid, it calls me a failure, it tells me I’m annoying and it tells me you hate me. Sometimes the voice is so loud and I feel so exhausted I can barely move. When I ask the voice what I should do, it tells me to hurt myself, it sees some busy traffic and it tells me to run in front of it, it sees that knife and it tells me to hurt myself with it. The voice was so loud and so persistent, I saw no end, I believed everything it said. I became so sad, I eventually stopped feeling anything. The voice became “helpful” then — it helped me make a plan. It tricked me into thinking the only way to make the voice disappear, was to also make myself disappear. However, that’s when the other voice would also speak.

 

This other voice made me see the future, it made me see all the detail, it made me see all the pain. That voice would save me, but that voice also plagues me. Voice number two has a physical form, much harder to hide. It clouds my mind, it stops my brain from functioning, it makes me feel sick, it causes me feel physical pain. This second voice is no friend, it makes me scared of everything. So welcome to my mind, where three voices battle. There is the depression, it floods my mind with painful thoughts and memories spontaneously. Then the anxiety, the voice of panic and overthinking. Then, somewhere in there is me, who just wants to be happy.

 

I know this sounds silly, but the hardest thing I do each day is just getting out of bed. I spend all night agonizing — sometimes it’s depression giving me a highlight reel of every painful memory, other times it is anxiety racing around my mind, listing everything I need to do. At some point I eventually sleep, sometimes even without nightmares, but when that alarm goes off I feel so exhausted. I can just about deal with that — coffee helps — but then anxiety and depression also wake up. I panic, I think of all the things I need to get done today, I imagine them all in my mind. I’m scared of not finishing, scared of failing, and then depression tells me I shouldn’t even try. So I lay there for a while — powerless, exhausted from the nightmares and panicking about the clock ticking, plagued with the fear of failure.

 

Eventually I force myself up and try to focus on just one little task. The voices quiet down and I gradually get on with my day. Some days I’m not so lucky. Some days the depression wins and I lay there for hours and hours, doing nothing but thinking about how pathetic I am. I tell myself I will fix it tomorrow, then the panic and the pressure increases and that night’s sleep is even worse, so the next day is even harder. That cycle just continues and the voices get stronger. But don’t fear, because I understand the voices are not me. I don’t know where they came from, but I know they’re not my words.

 

That is what makes me better now, why I seem happy. I try my best not to listen, and some days I am really strong. I push it down with dreams of the future, of a life where I might one day be happy. I know how to fix myself now, I know I will beat this. However, I need you to understand more than anything that everyday is still a battle for me. It may seem silly to you, but for me this is all so real and so difficult. So when you say I am lazy or weak or pathetic you cut deep into my wounds. You make me doubt everything I am trying to do, and you become just like those voices. As well as shouting at me, telling me to snap out of it, telling me the voices are my fault, you might as well be a part of my illness too. You may forget your words or your actions, but depression takes great satisfaction in storing it and playing it back to me. I don’t expect you to fully understand, but can you please just accept this is happening to me? That alone will make me ten times stronger. That is all I need from you.

 

Love,

 

Your daughter

 

Harriet O.

 

http://themighty.com/

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

Taking a Mental Health Day from Work When You Have Bipolar

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Do you take mental health days from work? Most people don’t. But should you take mental health days from work if you have bipolar disorder?

Source: Taking a Mental Health Day from Work When You Have Bipolar

10 Things You Should Never Say To Yourself

By Katherine Hurst

The Law of Attraction teaches that our words play an incredibly important part in the lives and happiness we create for ourselves.

Our words steer and shape our energies – in either a positive or a negative direction. We are not only susceptible to the words others use, but the words we use with ourselves.

Essentially, our words – spoken aloud or internally as thoughts – create our world.

If this is the case, why do so many people still think that it’s ok to talk to themselves in such a negative manner? A lot of people will say things to themselves they wouldn’t dream of saying to a friend. Is this right? Absolutely not.
So what can you do?

Watch out for these 10 things you should never say to yourself.

1. ‘I’m not good enough.’

But the real question is, by whose standards? Stop being so tough on yourself. We can all be our own worst critic, but this shouldn’t be the case. Have you ever heard of the saying ‘we accept the love we think we deserve?’ How do you expect others to recognise your worth when you’re unable to even see it in yourself? Become your biggest cheerleader!

2. ‘I can’t do it.’

Don’t give up before you’ve even got started. If it’s true that where your mind goes your reality follows, take your mind to that place of confidence and success. Learn to hold what you want in your mind’s eye first and chances are, it’ll soon be yours.

3. ‘What will they think of me?’

Too many people live in fear of what others may or may not think about them. However, life’s too short to get caught up in such things. Live your life as YOU – there is no surer guarantee for happiness.

4. ‘I’m so fat/stupid/useless.’

Whoa there! You wouldn’t talk to a stranger in this way, let alone someone you love, so why use such harsh words with yourself? If you do find yourself getting hung up on aspects of yourself you’re unhappy with, resolve to take quick action – beginning by focusing on the things you DO love about yourself.

5. ‘Nobody loves me.’

This is nothing but self-pity talking; how could you know who does or does not love you? We are all worthy of love and if we were to think hard enough, would find that there is love to be found in our lives in even the most unexpected of places. And remember – the more loving you are yourself, the more love you are likely to receive in return.

6. ‘Life is so unfair.’

We all come up against hardships and pain at different points in our lives; however, these are often aspects of our lives that are beyond anybody’s control. So let it go and learn to accept that whilst life can have its difficult moments – it’s the good moments you ought to focus on.

7. ‘It’s too hard.’

Are you sure about that? Or is this just your insecurities and fears talking? Remember the power of mind over matter – and until you try, you’ll never know how hard it is.

8. ‘I’m so embarrassed I could die.’

We’ve all had those moments where we’ve wanted nothing more than the ground to swallow us whole. What you have to remember is that everybody has embarrassing moments and that in the grand scheme of things – these really aren’t such a big deal. Laugh it off.

9. ‘They must not like me.’

Perhaps someone hasn’t returned your calls or replied to your emails…maybe you didn’t get the promotion or asked out on a second date…Rather than tormenting yourself by making negative conclusions such as ‘they must not like me’ or thinking harshly of yourself, why not consider the more rational, positive reasons here? It is far more likely that the person in question has been busy or had to handle an unexpected problem. Whatever the reason, it is never as bad as you imagine.

10. ‘I give up’.

There is no obstacle too big that with the right support, you cannot overcome. Always remember this. Also – it is often when we feel closest to giving up that we are closest to achieving what we want most. So remember – keep going, keep going, keep going!

Once you’re able to recognise just how big of an impact your own words can have on your happiness, you’ll never want to say any of the above to yourself ever again. So give more positive self-talk a try – and enjoy the many benefits!

Why social workers aren’t discussing religion, spirituality with clients: Social work professor explains disconnect between practitioners’ beliefs, practice — ScienceDaily

Why social workers aren’t discussing religion, spirituality with clients: Social work professor explains disconnect between practitioners’ beliefs, practice — ScienceDaily.