Growing up I dealt with anxiety and OCD. My stomach constantly felt like it was going to drop out. I had to scream when doing certain schoolwork, constantly flipped light switches. When this didn’t make me feel better I started crawling, refusing to use my legs as punishment. Most of this went away before I graduated high school. Depression showed up in college and it took my wife several years to figure out what was going on. I was blind to it. By the time she forced me to seek treatment I was giving myself carpet burn on my face, completely freezing up in stores, shaking and crying in corners. The only thing I had was the will to live. When I started treatment I quit my public relations job (which I had just completed my master’s degree for) and started writing. Three years later I’m doing great. I see a therapist when needed and take an antidepressant. I still write and work part-time as an after-school teacher. I share poetry, writing updates and mental health updates on the Depressed House Husband blog:
This account was written and sent into us through Twitter by Arsenio Franklin, who can be found at https://twitter.com/ArsenioFranklin. If you have any stories relating to struggles with mental health you’d like to share, please get in touch with us.
My name is Christopher. At the age of 12, I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia and Asperger’s. I was told by doctors and teachers everywhere that I need medication in order to function.
“You’re mentally ill. No, you’re not ok. You’ll never be like a normal person. I’m normal.” That’s the worst example, but it felt like that after hearing that.
I proceeded to become obsessed with things, like reading through King James V’s Old Testament, researching information about the actors who played The Joker in all the Batman stuff, that kind of thing. They were all attempts to define my personality, to put my mind in a very shiny box on a shelf.
Eventually, it got to the point of developmental Deja Vu, which everyone gets. I hit my left temple on a desk when I was 14, “Oh, that’s just like when I hit my right temple on a sheetrock fireplace when I was 1 year old! Maybe, I’ll start balancing out now.” I had an inherent desire to live and breathe symmetrically, aka OCD.
I also suffered from rampant paranoia. I’m thinking back to how horrible it was that I suffered, that no good came of the energy. It could’ve been better, but it’s in the past. Time travel theories always made me debunk that, with, “What if someone saw the past, and that’s why they’re making fun of me? That’s not fair. If you know me, be nice.” They never know me.
Why is my English so good? Well, my mother is an English major, and I actually paid attention in class. It’s only the average kids who end up just giving up in school. I had so much determination. Right now? I’ve written a book, and it’s not that bad, but I say it sucks, so I can do much better. Feedback always helps, which is why I talk to people, but also because I like people. I don’t believe in mental illness the way they sold it to me.
I don’t believe I actually was “mentally ill” and “not ok.” I don’t believe Abilify and Geodon did better than what CBD could’ve done, but I don’t care. It’s in the past. I don’t need to be the guy who carried a young Jesus over a river, and I don’t need to have the mind of a serial killer. There are 8,000,000,000 people here, and they’re just humans. I’m a human, just like anyone who can be happy and healthy.
To anybody who desperately needs definition in their life, please don’t define yourself with things that are very obviously evil and/or stupid.
This account was written and sent into us through Twitter by Christopher. If you have any stories relating to struggles with mental health you’d like to share, please get in touch with us.
I’m a 70 year old male. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, a life long incurable condition. The hardest part of my journey were the 1st 30 years before I came to fully accept my mental illness. I had a life from adolescence to full adulthood filled with victories, strange and damaging behaviors and times of deep lethargy.
My last of more than a few psychotic episodes resulted in a 2 week stay in the mental ward of a hospital in a small room with the lock on the wrong side a door.
For many years after that, I was medicated heavily and carried on with my marriage to a wonderful woman who is more than I deserve and my career. I watched myself and studied ways of thinking about my condition and life, while the drugs took the edge off and poisoned my body.
This was my life until about the age of 50 when my kidneys began to fail. A lot of smart doctors tried a lot of cocktails of potions that would allow me to function without doping me out or killing me. No success.
I’ve actually managed to become my own best friend since then. For the last 20 years or so, I have been lightly medicated for anxiety only. It takes work and diligence on both my part and the folks I’ve come to love and trust.
In closing I’d like to add that the mania is always there, but I know it now. The feelings of hopelessness try to gnaw at the edges of my spirit, but I know them now. I want to live and enjoy life. I want to see what the world is up to today. If you believe in a God, I hope it blesses you. I’m done.
This account was written and sent into us through Twitter by a user who wishes to remain anonymous. If you have any stories relating to struggles with mental health you’d like to share, please get in touch with us.
So, recently, I’ve had to go to my doctor, due to some symptoms I’ve been experiencing, which had been festering for a while and it turned out to be depression.
I’m not, nor do I pretend to be, qualified to help you deal with mental health problems you may be having. However, I am someone who has suffered from anxiety for a long time, and am now on my way to recovering from depression. Here are eight things you can do yourself that really helped me, aside from taking my medication.
1) Go for a walk everyday : Filling your lungs with fresh air can really help you feel refreshed and energised. It’s not going to take effect by doing it once and giving up. I advise doing this every single day. In the long run, it may help, even if it’s only for five minutes. And I know, when you’re down, it’s the last thing you probably will want to do, but just do it. Make yourself. And where possible, take a scenic, serene, peaceful route.
2) Affirmations: Every morning, afternoon and evening, take a couple of minutes to close your eyes, do some deep breathing, and repeat one of the following mantras five times:
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
“I am worth loving.”
If you feel those negative thoughts that have been getting you down to creep in while affirming this to yourself, start breathing deeply again, and focus on the sound of your breaths as they come in and go out. Once you start to believe the mantra, that’s a good sign; a sign that says you’re starting to overpower those feelings of worthlessness and sadness.
3) Cut out social media: I know, I know, in this day and age, that may seem the impossible task, but trust me, if you’re feeling down and depressed, staring at a phone or computer screen is the last thing that’s going to uplift you. If you’re using it to message your friends and or family, meet up with them instead and do it on a frequent basis. That will prove much more beneficial to your mental health that snapping, tweeting or flicking through Instagram and losing yourself in it.
4) Listen to music and sing along: This one may sound stupid, but music is great for the soul, and singing along is even better. Trust me, try it on a regular basis.
5) Gratitude list: Again, this may sound incredibly stupid, but, every day, make a gratitude list. Write down three things that you are thankful for. And try come up with different answers every single day. The idea behind this, is that when you’re focusing on the positives in your life, you are momentarily distracted from the negative. Doing this activity every day can enforce a positive mindset.
6) Set daily goals: Even if it is as simple as hanging out a basket of laundry and cleaning the ashes from the fireplace, set yourself two manageable daily tasks to complete. When you have something to focus on, it can distract you from the grasp depression can have on you.
7) Set that alarm clock: When going to bed, set an alarm for yourself that will wake you after 7-8 hours. When you’re feeling down, oversleeping is a common tendency. Don’t give in to it, from experience, I know it only makes it worse. So, get up after an adequate amount of sleep, I get that it’s hard, but you just gotta force yourself. And when you feel the urge to just pull those covers back over yourself, and curl up again, fight it. Say no. Say fuck you to depression, and fight it. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s what you need to do to overcome it.
8) Talk to someone: Tell someone who’s good at listening about how you feel. Don’t hold back. Let all that negativity spill out. And do it routinely. Don’t let those feelings continue to build up until you can’t cope anymore and just explode; that’s really not going to get you anywhere. From experience too, I find that sometimes it’s a lot easier to discuss these thoughts with someone you don’t have an emotional tie with.
And there you have it. The steps that helped me back to a better, happier place. I’m still struggling with it somewhat, but it is getting better. So, please, try those steps out to see if they make a difference. And below are a couple of videos you can check out, which really helped me gain some perspective on the problems I was experiencing.
This post is by Jacinta Horgan, the co-founder of this page. She can be found on Twitter @HorganJacinta, Instagram @jmh_writer, and Facebook @JMHWrites. If you have any stories you’d like to share regarding struggles with mental health, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
This picture was taken exactly a year ago today. Olivia and I had only known each other for a little over a month. We became fast friends. She was there for me on this evening that I chose to go to Methodist Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. We brought a ukulele in the car and made up songs on the way there. Looking back, it was a lovely memory all in all. The tele-psyche at the hospital determined I was not a danger to myself or others and didn’t need to spend the night, but they did suggest a three week intensive outpatient program which I opted to do. More backstory: When I was a sophomore in high school, one of my best friends was shot and killed. The next year around the same time (October), I became depressed for the first time in my life—crying every night, thinking I would never have fun again, not able to perform basic life tasks. I started seeing a therapist weekly and that helped…a lot. Started seeing another in college and was diagnosed as bipolar. Got on some meds, a couple years after that, got sober. I thought I had the mental illness thing all under control. Then in Oct 2016 and again in Oct 2017, I experienced worse mania than ever before. In 2016, I added meds, balanced out soon and didn’t need to visit the hospital. 2017 brought extra challenges with multiple triggers that surfaced. I took three weeks off work from my teaching job and planned on returning; however, I realized I had to step down to take care of my mental health and pursue music full-time instead. A few months after that, I had the inututive felt sense to apply to Yale Divinity School—and here I am! I’ve been very fortunate that through psychiatry (CBT & EMDR), proper/effective meds, 12 Step work, a spiritual path and the support of family and friends, I am doing well today. And without bipolar, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If you’re going though something or are close to someone who is, know there is help out there. Just ask. -Will Parker of @JunkyardFort – Doesn’t want to be anonymous 🙂