Living With Mental Illnesses

Living with depression and anxiety can be a train wreck. You have days where you can get out of a funk and days where you feel like you are sinking at the bottom of the well with no rope to help you climb out of it. It’s almost like demons get hold of your soul to the point you can’t breathe. Fighting depression and anxiety is no picnic. The world doesn’t see the battles you fight. All they see is your exterior shell. To them, you appear happy-go-lucky and are full of zest.  

Mental illness puts masks on faces. It isn’t easy to define when a person has their episodes. There was once upon a time that mental illness was a stigma. No one wanted to talk about it because only “crazy” people were mentally off. Some people in this world are mentally unbalanced. I don’t think anyone will dispute that claim. But there are many people out there fighting depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other diseases that are not physically visible to others. When I first started noticing my depression, I was in my twenties. The doctor put me on CELEXA. You are not supposed to stop this medicine once you start it, and I did because this medication caused night tremors. I couldn’t sleep, and my anxiety became more pronounced. Instead of consulting with my doctor, I took it upon myself to come off the medicine and have additional symptoms become noticeable. This action was not one of my brightest moves. It’s very dangerous not to talk to your physician before you do this. There are all kinds of problems that can occur with coming off a medication cold turkey when you aren’t supposed to because it can result in many different health issues, including death.  

I am not a medical professional, and I won’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do if you are dealing with mental illness or know someone who struggles with various forms of mental illness. I can tell you that my journey has consisted of learning my body well enough to know when I’m working with anxiety and depression.  

Mental illness brings out strong emotions in not only its victims but their friends and family. Episodes of anger, frustration, confusion, hurt, and despair is not uncommon. I have a triple whammy to contend with within my body. Not only do I suffer from depression and anxiety, but I also have ADHD. There are days when I will be starting a project, and my ADHD kicks in, and I can’t focus on anything. It isn’t easy working on projects when you can’t concentrate. I like to finish what I start. ADHD can make completing projects challenging.  

The best advice I can give anyone battling any mental disorder is to talk to a physician. They can test you to see what you may be living with and get you on a path to feeling better about your life—research your symptoms. I found some information online about living with mental illness that I wanted to share. Here are some of the issues people living with mental illness face daily.  

  1. YOU FEEL AS IF YOU ARE LOSING CONTROL – The downside to mental illness is that it makes you feel like you have no control over yourself. You might start to feel like you are numb and going through the motions. You may be drifting through each day and begin to feel like each day becomes more robotic.  
  2. YOU START BELIEVING THAT YOU ARE UNWORTHY – This is true on so many levels. When mental illness attacks, it can make you feel like a loser. It’s the furthermost thing from the truth, but mental illness is like a clamp on your soul. The firmer the grip, the more you are hurting. You might start to feel like you can’t change the pattern and that no one cares. You must recognize those emotions and talk to someone. When you start feeling unworthy, reach out. Don’t hold those emotions in.  
  3.  YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE BOUND TO MAKE MISTAKES – One of the worst things people do is stop trying when they are fighting mental illness. They convince themselves that they are only going to make mistakes on any project they undertake. The reality is everyone makes mistakes, but you can’t spend your life beating yourself up for those errors in judgment. Give yourself a break.  
  4. YOU FEEL THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE HAPPY AGAIN – It’s scary when you live with mental illness. You want desperately to be happy, and you convince yourself that you will achieve that goal. One of the biggest things people with mental illness face is the unexpected curve balls thrown at them. When a person with mental illness starts to get a “win,” that is something positive in their life, it isn’t hard for them to get knocked down when something goes wrong. Mental illness tends to make people see the glass as being half-empty instead of half-full.  
  5. YOU FEEL TRAPPED – One of the loneliest feelings in the world is feeling trapped inside your body. My mind is like a roller-coaster. My emotions can be on a mountain peak one day and in a ravine the next. Depression and anxiety have effects that are difficult to describe. You can’t always know when an attack is going to happen. Sometimes people psyche themselves out by worrying about issues they have no control over. When that happens, the depression and anxiety can become multiplied. What’s important is to recognize the symptoms and keep your physician posted on changes in your demeanor. They can help you if you verbalize what you notice. Doctors aren’t mind-readers. They can only help what you keep them informed.  
  6. YOU LOSE YOUR IDENTITY – I’ve talked about this in previous blogs, but I think it bears repeating. When you fight mental illness, you have to fight for yourself. When you are fighting negative energy, it can create a shell of who you are. Sometimes it takes difficult events to put us in a growing pain environment.  

The truth is that mental illness can make life challenging but not impossible. Learn what your symptoms may be and talk to a doctor. If you know what condition you are dealing with, make sure you are doing things to keep your life healthy and happy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn about issues you are unfamiliar with having. The best thing you can do is take precautions with your health. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.  

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