www.whyville.net Feb 21, 2016 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Let's Talk About Mental Health

Users' Rating
Rate this article

Mental illness is something that many people deal with. People around the world struggle to talk about their mental illnesses. This lack of communication furthers the stigma surrounding mental illness, so it is important to talk about this topic. I gathered some Whyvillians who have dealt with mental illness and they answered some questions about their experiences.

Theallywa: What mental illness(es) have you dealt with?

ROOSE: Depression, anxiety, seperation anxiety (recovered), (very little) ptsd, eating disorder (ednos), paranoia (recovered), mania (short term & recovered)
KandHshow: I have anxiety and OCD.
MeBeLizzi: Growing up, I was tossed around between doctors, and I've been given a lot of false diagnosis. But my official diagnosis are Aspergers and PTSD, along with Major Depression and panic anxiety.
natnat10: I have borderline personality disorder, and have dealt with psychosis and depersonalization.
PwnQueen: Generalized anxiety and depression.

Theallywa: How has your mental illness affected your every day life?

ROOSE: It makes living extremely hard. I can't go outside without feeling anxious. I'm tired pretty much all the time. I can't go to school. I can't focus on anything and I'm failing HOMESCHOOLING because of it. I haven't gotten a job yet because I don't know what days will be good or bad.
KandHshow: OCD is more frustrating than anything because there are times I have to count things, like how many times I stepped on where the carpet turns to tile or press backspace a certain number of times, and then there are times where it's a little bit different and more "real" feeling. Like, "Oh if I take a picture of this something bad will happen to it." or "If I post this, this horrible thing will happen."
MeBeLizzi: It's really hard to think about the important everyday things sometimes, when I'm having a really rough day, or if I'm having a depressive episode. Sometimes I have to remind myself several times to even get out of bed and brush my hair. Having Aspergers and panic anxiety makes social interaction extremely difficult. I don't have the best skills when it comes to identifying facial expressions and associating them with moods, and I am very sensitive to noise and touch.
natnat10: It has affected every aspect of my life. My whole personality is a mental illness. The decisions I make, the way I think, my emotions, and the relationships I have with other people are completely unstable.
PwnQueen: As of late, I've been living very well with my issues, but in the past, they required me to take a leave of absence from school because it just wasn't an environment that allowed me to recover from a long depressive episode.

Theallywa: Have you noticed any stigma surrounding your mental illness? If so, when?

ROOSE: Social stigma. when I was in public school I was put in a seperate classroom. A teacher would follow me around. I was talked down to. People didn't take me seriously and described my legitimate emotions and feelings as breakdowns or just "having a hard day". Definitely was separated from other kids at school and it 100% ruined my high school "experience".
MeBeLizzi: There have definitely been some people in my life who have looked down on me, or degraded me as a person because of my illnesses, but on the whole, I have actually had more people look up to me because I am still fighting. One particular instance though, was in high school. I had just switched schools, it was the end of the 3rd quarter of my freshman year, and some of the honor society kids got together to paint a banner. We were all going to go to this girl's house after school to do it, and when they heard me talking to my one-on-one, they decided that I shouldn't come because I couldn't "bring my support"
natnat10: Not too many people know about BPD. If they do, they automatically think that I'm crazy.
PwnQueen: People always have this idea of what a depressed person looks like and I never fit that image. They think we're all visibly beaten down and sad, crying all the time and just not doing well. People also like to infantilize anxiety sufferers by telling us we're "overreacting" and acting like children.

Theallywa: How have you dealt with your mental illnesses? What activities or things have helped you cope?

ROOSE: Honestly makeup is my passion and is the only thing that can get me out of bed. As obnoxious as it sounds it really does help me going and getting ready for my day and socializing with people and doing things that typically I wouldn't be able to do on a hard day.
KandHshow: Well I've been prescribed a few different medications over the years, but currently I'm not taking any. My mom has both of these illnesses too, so that helps me a lot because I think it has made us closer. Aside from that, I think that just kind of taking a deep breath and saying "Can I do anything to change this situation? Yes? Change it. No? Worrying about it won't help?
MeBeLizzi: I actually have an insanely long list of coping skills. It has 309 skills on it, and sometimes if I need something new, I look at the list and choose a random number. My go-to activities are shuffling a deck of cards, crocheting, reading a book, or playing my guitar.
natnat10: Over the years I've taken plenty of medications to help me, and I've finally found the right ones to balance me out. Going to therapy has helped me more than I thought it would.
PwnQueen: Time has definitely lessened the symptoms of my illnesses, but I definitely think the most helpful thing was knowing that there was a reason to try to handle it better. I'm a vocal performer, and being on stage actually lessens my anxiety.

Theallywa: What advice would you give to a friend or family member who is unsure of how to help someone they love that has a mental illness?

ROOSE: Give them space and let them breathe. Don't suffocate them with meds therapy and psychiatry. And always ask them what they need before providing help.
KandHshow: I would have to say just to listen to them. Depending on their illness they could need different things. So yeah, listen to what they have to say without interrupting them and let them know you won't judge them for anything. Maybe gently say that there is help, whether it's with a school counselor or at a doctor's office.
MeBeLizzi: If someone you love is struggling with a mental illness, you have to stick around. Don't shy away from them because you don't understand them. Read about it, ask a professional how they recommend you go about helping. But do not ignore it.

Theallywa: What advice would you give to someone struggling with a mental illness?

ROOSE: Try your best to remain stable. baby steps to recovery can get you anywhere in life
MeBeLizzi: Be strong. Fight for yourself, if nothing else. It can be so hard to find motivation to wake up, and shower, and brush your hair and teeth, But you have to do it. Wake up and shower every morning. Get dressed in something cute even if you're not going anywhere. Brush your hair, and do your makeup if you want. Look good for you. That is the first step.
natnat10: You're not the only one. It may or may not get better, but you have to keep trying.
PwnQueen: Don't give up. Recovery is always possible, even when you don't think you have a reason or a way. The resources are out there and there are people who will fight to get you access to them.

Theallywa: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about mental illnesses?

KandHshow: I think I'll end it by saying that, if you broke your leg, you'd get help for it, right? Well a mental illness is another part of you that just needs some help sometimes.
MeBeLizzi: Mental illnesses are not something to romanticize, but they are not something to overlook either. Your scars from cutting are not beautiful, but they are not ugly and they are not to be ignored. Your emotional scars are not beautiful, but your STRENGTH is. Always believe in yourself, and remember that you are not alone. There is always at least one person somewhere that loves you, and that is willing to help you. All you have to do is ask.
PwnQueen: Knowing about a mental illness doesn't mean you understand what people who have it are going through. Empathize with people without saying you know what they're going through -- if you don't have the problem, you only know about what they're going through. You don't experience the disease like them, and no two people experience a mental illness the same way even if they have the same one.


Did you like this article?
1 Star = Bleh.5 Stars = Props!
Rate it!
Ymail this article to a friend.
Discuss this article in the Forums.

  Back to front page