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…

 

the-mental-health-tag-1-21-e1508424312815.png

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.

Anxiety, Just Because.

When I decided I wanted to blog about mental health, I did a lot of research. I wanted to see what other people were saying, what they were thinking, what they were feeling. Obviously there is good information to be found on the Internet (have you seen Wikipedia?) but sometimes its difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. That was the case when I researched anxiety.

There’s definitely no shortage of anxiety; you’d have to be living under a rock not to be the least bit worried about all that’s going on in our world. When I would search for articles and blog posts about anxiety, while I would find people who are definitely valid in their thoughts and fears, and could identify with their feelings of worry and stress, I noticed something: the anxiety typically seemed to be brought on by an external factor.

Let me first say that I am in no way trying to invalidate anyone’s anxiety about what’s going on in the world today – or anything you’re anxious about, for that matter. It’s warranted and totally valid. What I was looking for, though, was for what I could do about anxiety that’s not brought on by anything. What to do when feelings of stress, worry and fear overtake your body and mind out of nowhere, taking your brain to a place you don’t want to be for a reason that you do not know. I was looking for that because that’s what happens to me. I live in that mindset.

I know I’m not alone; anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in America, affecting more than 40 million adults aged 18 and older. However, only 37 percent of those people seek treatment. Why is that? That’s probably a topic for another post (or posts; we’ll definitely get into that more in the future). But unfortunately, my anxiety means that what I know to be true and what I feel to be true are two different things. I know I’m not alone, and yet I feel alone. I know I shouldn’t worry, but I live in a state of fear and panic.

This might go without saying, but it leads to a lot of issues. Some of these issues I can recognize, while others trap me out of nowhere. What’s taken me years to confront is the fact that though my anxiety might not be real to others, it’s very real to me. Though I haven’t accepted that yet, I know it’s true. It took a very long time, but I think it’s the first step to accepting the fact that my logic is flawed. That some of the things I’ve thought my entire life could be wrong. I know it won’t be easy but, someday, it might make my life a tiny bit better. And that’s a dream worth chasing.