The Mental Health Tag

Hey, how’s your day going? Probably great if you’re reading this swell content. One thing that is very difficult when talking about mental health is to be blunt. Honestly, it’s my biggest problem if I’m discussing my mental health. It’s so much easier to talk around the subject and not get right to the point. Kind of like I am right now…

 

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So I’ll be more blunt; at least, today I will. I found “The Mental Health Tag” when reading a blog (shoutout to Jenny in Neverland!) and thought I would give it a try myself. You can read her post here!

What is your mental health issue?

My mental health issue is clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Do you have medication and/or therapy?

I’ve taken various medications over the past four years and am currently on medication. I’ve also undergone cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with various therapists and psychiatrists (I had to mix and match in college) but I’m not currently in therapy.

What therapy/medication have you tried and have any worked for you?

I’ve done CBT on and off for five years or so, and it’s been a mixed bag for me. They certainly taught me a lot not only about myself, but about different tips and tactics that I could use to tackle my depression and anxiety. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t (my friends can attest to that…for sure) but I would say that while it didn’t ‘work’ it definitely helped. I tried three medications before I found one that worked for me, and unfortunately it was guess and check for a few years before I found something that helped. It’s not perfect, but it gets me out of bed in the morning! Well…most mornings.

How long have you had problems for?

I was diagnosed in early 2013, so about four and a half years.

Do your family/friends know?

For a long time only my immediate family and closest friends knew, but as I got to know myself and my mental health better, I told more people about it. Now it’s something I don’t mind anyone knowing, and am very happy to talk about with anyone who wants to know.

Does this affect your work and daily living?

Does it EVER. Sorry, that was a joking way of saying that yes, it affects nearly everything I do. I like to say that I have high-functioning depression and anxiety; I can go about my day and get things done, but what’s going on inside my head is a completely different story. And that’s on a good day. It doesn’t affect the quality of work that I’m able to produce, but some days are harder than others. But yes, it’s safe to say it affects my daily life.

What makes you feel calm?

Watching Netflix (depending on the show), meditating, writing, working on my basketball website, biking, hiking, being in nature.

What do you do in crisis?

Typically I like to be left alone in times like that, because there’s really not anything anyone can do for me and that makes me feel bad. However, in college I met some amazing people who would be with me at my worst to keep me safe. No, they did not have to do that. And yes, I am forever grateful for that and will probably never be able to repay them for all of their generosity.

What advice would you give to others suffering?

Don’t go it alone. Depression makes you feel like you’re isolated and fighting this battle all by yourself, and for years I believed that. But you’re not, even when you feel like it. Especially when you feel like it. And once you open up about your struggle, it’s amazing who will help you out – some people will surprise you, and you’ll get help from the most unlikely places.

What makes you smile?

Writing (especially screenwriting!), exploring a new city, getting stuff done when I feel depressed, playing with my little brother, watching a good movie, and doing anything that makes me feel alive – which is super generic, but you never know what can make you smile.

Describe your mental health issue in 5 words.

Daunting, tiring, challenging, motivating and uplifting.

If you have any questions about my mental health or want any advice or support for yours, please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear it.

It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay!

#WorldMentalHealthDay means it’s another WONDERFUL day to talk about mental health! It’s the 25th anniversary of World Mental Health Day, which was founded in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health. Obviously any special day, week or month bringing awareness to mental health is important, but I feel like this day is especially important not only for those with a mental illness, but for anyone who is trying to maintain good mental health – which is everybody.

The theme for this year’s #WorldMentalHealthDay is Mental Health in the Workplace, which I personally love because I think the workplace one of the places where the taboo of discussing mental health is most prevalent. Mental health is JUST as important as physical health.

I don’t mean to be critical of workplaces specifically; there are tons of environments and situations where discussing mental health is far more taboo and uncomfortable. But the value of good mental health in the workplace is something often taken for granted, and only noticeable when someone’s lack of mental health begins to affect their work productivity. Mental health issues happen to people regardless of how much they can get done at work. Some of the most productive people I know have mental health disorders, and often have to work twice as hard to get the same amount of work done as their co-workers.

In a perfect world, employees would have good mental health and would come to work every day with a sound mind and body, ready to get to work. But as (I hope) we all know, it is not a perfect world, and we often bring out moods and attitudes into the office with us.

How can this change? Have a conversation with a co-worker or a friend. Ask them how they’re doing. How they’re really doing. While mental wellness can sometimes be more make or break for someone with a mental illness, taking care of your mental health is important for everyone. Please don’t ignore it. Your life truly does depend on it.

Walking Out of the Darkness

I thought it would be easier to write this. Honestly, I did. I figured I could just put my message out there, hope someone reads it, and do my thing from there. But rarely, if ever, is it that simple.

A month or so ago I found out about Out of the Darkness Community Walks, which are put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I didn’t know much about AFSP other than what I could take from their title (key words: “prevention” and “suicide”), so I read some more about the Community Walks and what they accomplished. I was blown away. And I knew  that somehow, I had to be part of it.

Held in hundreds of cities in every state of the country, the walks bring awareness and raise funds for the AFSP and their programs, bringing together those that have been affected by suicide.

As I’ve said in earlier posts, mental illness – and suicidal thoughts – do not discriminate. They can happen to anyone. It could be your co-worker, your friend, a family member or a loved one. You probably know someone who has thought about suicide before. And if you haven’t – Hi, nice to meet you.

I will be taking part in an Out of Darkness Community Walk on October 28th in Washington DC, along with many other people who have been affected by suicide and mental illness in one way or another. If you’re in the area, feel free to come walk with me. You can also donate to the event in the link below.

But most importantly, if there’s anyone you know that would benefit from this, please let them know that things like this walk exist. There is a movement of people who will fight their hardest against suicide and mental illness – and we’re not going anywhere.

If you’d like to donate/share about this walk, my donation page can be found here.