Hello, it took me a while to get down to writing this since I couldn’t get a clear understanding of where I planned to go with it and to what degree of this personal information I was good with sharing with everyone, but here it is, an article on Mental Health and my experiences with it.
Personally, I have suffered from various mental health issues, some that are probably genetic and biological, some that are probably pushed by a history of a degree of trauma that comes from being in a dysfunctional family prone to emotional abuse and used to have physical abuse that my sisters kept me from.
I, and the only one of my family despite most of us needing it, have been taking part in various therapy types and have recently taken up medication in order to work through it and hopefully manage to not only find a way to manage my days better with my poor mental health, but also avoid “just managing” by taking up self-destructive coping mechanisms to get by. For those that are struggling with mental health, I cannot stress enough that you should look into getting professional help. If things are getting really bad or even if they aren’t and you think it might help, then do reach out for help – research it, see if its possible. For those still in school, perhaps the counselors can help. Professional help definitely can do you some good.
But back to the topic about mental health with me. This article probably won’t focus as much on my diagnoses I got from my therapist as much as it will focus on the symptoms I experience the most and how they effect my life, that way it is less specified to a disorder, and more specified to experience I, and others might have. With that being said, I have been professionally diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and depression (no specific name). Along with this, I have been considered for (but not sure enough to give a diagnosis for) Dissociative Identity Disorder or Other Specified Dissociative Disorder and Aspergers.
Without further ado however, lets get on with the article.
The first symptom I’d like to discuss is depression.
Depression, while also being considered a disorder, is a symptom of poor mental health I experience a lot. At this point, I don’t think I’ve had a single day over the past month or two where I haven’t at least been having a low level constant mild depression for at least half the day. Along with that, I’ve danced with depression for at least five years now, possibly even longer beyond the distance my memory goes. For me, it’s an old friend that only has gotten more prominent over the years.
With the stigma of angsty and/or hormonal teens using the word ‘depressed’ too loosely, the line between depression and sadness is a bit blurred, and while sadness is a horrible emotion that needs to be cared for, depression is different from that. Depression, at least for me, takes on the form of a persistent empty numbness that comes with spikes of feelings of regret, defeat, grief, and a longing for help. It comes with feeling and belief that there is little that can be done and that things, as they are are hopeless. It becomes a cold loneliness and begins to feel like something is eating you from the inside out and there is little you can really do about it. At times it comes without reason, other times something triggers it and makes it worse. Some days its just a huge lack of interest in everything and a gloomy air, other days it’s a wonder why I’m even bothering to get out of bed. Often times depression comes with thoughts, emotions, feelings and beliefs as well and often times, the best thing I can do for myself at this time is to surround myself with positivity, things that are fun, and reassure myself that I’ve been through it several times. Its only temporary and theres always going to be a way out.
But most horridly, depression tends to come with
suicidal ideation, a related mental health symptom I experience. Depression often calls for a need to escape, and often this can lead to the contemplation of suicide. This has taken the form of passive suicidality of wishing to die, wishing for everything to end, and just flat out hating life. Passive suicidality, while being the lighter of two main types, is still a horrible experience and feeling to have as it often comes with severe depressive episodes. However the other type is active suicidality which comes with not only wishing to die, but planning how to do so and how it could be done. With this, I have to say Ive experienced both. At this point, I could probably list off three or four fully planned suicide plans I could execute in just a few days if I felt like it with it and I usually have the idea of wanting to die pass through my head at least once a day. Its definitely not anything fun and its really what pushed me to take up medication since I was originally against it.
Do not worry though, I highly doubt I will ever actually kill myself. I have too much responsibility on this world, I have wonderful friends, Ive helped way too many people not kill themselves to go and do it myself, and I have other coping mechanisms that, healthy or not, would keep me from doing so anyways.
However, for any of those who are reading this who may suffer from depression or suicidal ideation of any form, remember that you are not alone in this fight. There are many others out there handling the same fight and many people out there to support you. There is always a way out and there is always a way to fix it. If you ever need to talk, feel free to message me on Fanpop and I will try to get back to you. For those in the US, keep this number in your phone
“1-800-273-8255.” It’s the National Suicide Hotline. If you ever feel in danger of yourself or of another, it could be helpful to have that number on hand, one day it might save a life.
But continuing with the article, one of the most prominent symptoms I experience is
anxiety. Anxiety, for me, takes on the form of a constant and persistent anxiety that causes me a lot of difficulty in my life. This is often paired with depression as it causes it, but it also, on multiple occasions, has paired with perfectionism to make it all the worse. Due to that combo, on many occasions I have started doing something I enjoy only to find out Im not one of the best at it, and getting this crushing anxious and fearful feeling so high that I was forced to quit.
Anxiety is a very powerful feeling. It can make you feel like something is choaking you from the inside. It can keep you from speaking. It can make your head be filled with nothing but terror-filled thoughts that wont allow you to focus on anything. It can make you feel like certain daily activities can feel like the waiting room before an interview or the line for the most terrifying rollercoaster ride. It’s a disabling feeling that brings sheer discomfort and terror that makes it nearly impossible to do certain activities you may need to do or love.
Along with the normal anxiety that comes out of the blue, I also have anxiety that generates from my
obsessions. Yes, we all know me as the obsessive Fanpop user who loves her birds, Supernatural, and Akashi, but obsessions of this type take on a different, more distressing sense. Obsessions take on the form of constant repetitive thoughts that high jack the mind, making it nearly impossible to focus on something else and repeating so much that even if the thought may be irrational, it seems somewhat plausible. At times they are more obviously ridiculous thoughts like “what if I open the car door for no reason and end up falling out” while others are more difficult to tell if they are irrational or literal concerns such as “what if I don’t love my partner” or “what if I don’t actually have half the issues I do have?” Of course not all the obsession are in a bad taste, but a majority of them are and a lot of them can cause a lot of distress.
compulsions, or acts that are done in order to relieve tension, anxiety, and stress. These can be the more stereotypical things like hand washing or more hidden like mental routines of going back and checking your memories to see if its valid. For me, my most noticeable one has been hair plucking that takes on the form of Trichotillomania, leaving my eyebrows and eyelashes practically bald. As for other compulsions I have, there is car door locking, table cleaning, mentally counting, and various other ones I don’t really catch the best as they occur automatically. Essentially this creates a
must-do need to have things done and/or have it done in a certain specific way as if the compulsions are not done, often a large bundle of anxiety tends to follow after. Life style wise, I have come to see that it has easily made it so that I can get into firm and rigid unhealthy schedules where an uncomfortable activity is done regularly as it satisfies the compulsion. Less severely speaking however, it also makes it take about half an hour just to get my bedroom ready and proper before bed and sometimes makes me look weird with how I have to touch certain things in a certain way.
Finally, the last major symptom of mine I think would be worth discussing is
dissociation. Dissociation is one of the less-known and understood symptoms on this list and isn’t a term everyone is the most familiar with. Dissociation is marked by a disconnect of certain mental functions that can cause a separation/loss of certain emotions, sense of reality, and sense of self. Often dissociation is found in various disorders other than dissociative disorders, but in more severe cases can result in dissociative disorders, one including the most famous Dissociative Identity Disorder, previously known as Multple Personality Disorder.
In actuality, everyone experiences dissociation to some degree. Normal and mild experiences are things like daydreaming in a boring class, zoning out while driving and suddenly ending up where you were going, watching television, etc. More severe and abnormal cases, some of which I’ve experienced, show themselves in the form of sudden loss of emotion or an abnormal numbness / lack of emotion. I frequently experience this, sometimes with reason, other times without, where “Error 404. Emotions and Attachments not found” is something I seriously feel like saying. At random points, I can go from sobbing to “meh” in seconds and randomly, in the past, my boyfriend has gone from one of the things I really don’t want to lose to someone I couldn’t care less about.
Along with this dissociation can take on physical feelings. This can result in sudden blurry vision that has once made it near impossible for me to read, the world seeming to pinch, the feeling like and I’m living from outside of my body or from another world. It also can make the entire world around me feel fake and extremely distant, almost as if everything isn’t actually there, almost as if I were watching a movie rather than anything else.
And taking it up another notch, dissociation can create personas and facets as well as destroy one’s memory. While I am not sure if it is safe to say I have alters, I do know I kind of have a second side that I flip to under highly stressful and anxious situations. Often I am aware of it and it isn’t entirely separated, but there is a severe and abrupt shift that can be seen within me where current emotions shut off and there is an entire perspective shift. That being said, its manageable. The more problematic thing is my crap memory as I usually cant really recall many emotions from the memories I have, nor do I have many memories in the first place. Most of my memories prior to about the age of ten are very thin and very few with many gaps in between. Along with this, my memory has really only been getting worse where it has become hard to recall events that happened within a week or two as experiences go in one eye and out the other. This memory failure is often due to the fact that those who dissociate a lot aren’t actually present enough to establish memories properly or their mind flat out blocks out stressful memories as to function better.
On the plus side to dissociation however, its also considered a coping mechanism (usually unhealthy however) as it allows for logical and careful analysis without the burden of emotion, keeps me from actually acting irrationally and hurting myself, and really does keep me functioning as if I was just fine despite the giant bag of mental illness I carry around.
But really those are probably the main core symptoms I am most familiar within my struggle with mental health. They mix and mingle with each other and some of the other ones that weren’t mentioned to create a lot of havoc and chaos within my life, but if they were to be the pillars it would be them. So for anyone who has any of those, or any mental health concerns in general, I would love to hold a conversation over them. (I’m also fairly well researched in knowledge of Aspergers, BPD, and DPD and fairly familiar with Autism, ADHD, and PTSD)
Also, even though I did mention it once or twice in this article, I must stress, if you are having trouble, do reach out to others and try to get some help, professional or not. Mental health isn’t a battle you can take on your own when you are struggling and it is important to get help. You are not alone and things can change and get better.
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