Your words make a bigger impact than you think

April 25, 2017 / Alex Hanna  / 
makeitok, make it ok

Recently, I submitted a story of my own struggles with anxiety and depression to makeitok.org in hopes of having my story shared with another outlet. I’m proud to say that they accepted the story and it is now published here. But for your convenience, here is my story.

What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?

Mental illness is no joke. It sucks. Suffering with anxiety, depression, and ADHD has made “adult life” rather challenging. Not to say it was easy as a child either. For me, an always-busy childhood helped keep everything in check. I would spend the school year going 100 miles per hour between school, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Then the summer, I would work six days a week, work out seven days a week, and do all of the AP class preparations and college preparations needed to continue the high octane life I had built. Then when I had the opportunity, I would utterly crash. Zero miles per hour, clutch disengaged, rolling wherever gravity would take me.

After college, I joined a high octane consulting firm to keep up the heat. 15 hour days? On the road 250 days a year? You bet! I still didn’t realize what was going on. Work became my outlet for two years, affecting nobody but myself (or so I thought). Marriage changed that quite quickly. It became very apparent (very quickly) that my all-over-the-place-ness, which I regularly combated with bouts of extreme cleaning and organization or full-on, days long “me” time, was not just affecting me. It affected my wife. And I couldn’t stand to see her hurting like she was. It is easy to have your dress shirts hanging the “right” way, ordered by color, immediately removed from the dry-cleaning plastic when you are alone. It is easy to not have a single dirty dish in the sink when you live alone. No one else is affected by this.

It is so easy to be blinded by naivety when you are only looking at yourself. When others are affected, especially other who you love, that’s when the light of reality shines the brightest. The pain in their eyes is the most haunting sight anyone can envision. When I saw that pain, I knew it was time to act. She kindly and lovingly supported me throughout the process of finding a doctor (even booking me appointments when I was resistant).

She owed (and still owes) me nothing. Her help getting me help saved me. Her undying, and unyielding love saved me.

Years later, she remains my rock. We’ve hit bumps along the way, but she has never doubted what we have, she had never doubted my love for her, and she has never doubted the future we are committed to sharing together. Even through the most challenging of times, she reminds me who I am. She helps me understand who I am. She never lets me forget who I truly am.

Anxiety, depression, and ADHD: they are a part of who I am. I live day in and day out with these illnesses. But they do not define me. I am me. And while they occasionally have more say over my life than I prefer, I will not let them win. Even if I fail today, there is always tomorrow. There is always tomorrow.

How did you overcome this experience?

To overcome is to completely extinguish. I am, and will forever be overcoming mental illness, every single day. Share your story and do not be ashamed that you have a mental illness. There are more of us out there than we know, but who are afraid to talk about it. Your words make a bigger impact than you think. You never know who may be reading, and whose life you may save.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

No matter what happens in this crazy world, there is always a brighter day ahead. There is always tomorrow.

The sunlight shines –
Shines so bright.
After the darkest –
Darkest of nights.
Your tired or fighting –
Fighting this fight.
But tomorrow brings hope –
Hope of new light.

How to Talk To Someone Experiencing a Clinical Delusion – or Just a Radically Different Point of View

April 5, 2017 / Zach Good  / 
delusion, delusions

“I have a lot of money coming my way soon,” the thirty-something woman sitting across from me at the table told me with a sincere tone.

“Oh yeah?” I calmly responded. “How’s that?”

“Well, I helped Maroon 5 write most of their songs,” she said without blinking.

Before you get too excited, no, I wasn’t having a chance encounter with a music mogul at a swanky cafe; I was interviewing a schizoaffective patient in the crisis unit of the psychiatric hospital in which I worked. And I knew what I said next would either hinder her recovery or hasten it.

“How about that?” I replied, showing a lukewarm level of interest. “When did you get the chance to work with them?”

“I used to date Adam Levine,” she continued.

(more…)

My Battle with Bipolar

April 1, 2017 / Joanna Fanuko  / 
battle, bipolar

Mind, body, and spirit all require care. If one is being neglected, it affects the other two. Sometimes it can be a neglect or damage that is out of your control. This is the story of how my damaged mind, body, and spirit became whole again. 

The beginning

It begins well: a happy home, a supportive family, an excellent student. I never showed signs of having a mental illness. There was the emotional stage going through puberty, but these were the things that I believe are typical of a teenage girl or boy. I got into a great college and was excelling there.

Dreaming of Paris all my life, I decided to study abroad in France. That is when the unthinkable happened. I was sexually assaulted, and it was done by two young men whom I knew (or thought I knew) fairly well. It took a long time to recognize the gravity of what had happened to me. I came home about a month after my program was complete, but told almost no one what had happened.

(more…)

From there to here: A journey of recovery full circle

March 29, 2017 / Amy Krolak  / 
full circle, recovery

Today, I enjoy relaxing in my reclining leather loveseat next to my ten-month-old black lab puppy, Lulu. She rests her warm head on my leg.  I am excited about the impending birth of my first grandchild who is expected later this month. It is now spring and my moods have lifted. On a day like this, with the sun shining and a slight breeze coming in, you would never guess that I am in recovery. On a day like this, it seems impossible that a bit more than 2629 days ago, this day wasn’t going to happen. I thought January 8, 2010, was to be my last day.

My “last” day

(more…)

Unshackling Myself from my Eating Disorder

March 16, 2017 / Jamie Doe (anonymous)  / 
eating disorder, breaking free

I’m back, and today I chose to write about the road to recovery from my eating disorder (ED). Who’s with me?!

Negative coping skills related to ED’s are in one word, exhausting. The behaviors, rituals, and all the thinking about food and my body consumed a large part of every single day of my life for the better part of an entire DECADE. Over time, I realized that I wanted to live life again – in the present. I wanted meaningful relationships and experiences – I wanted to laugh and remember the days where I just listened to myself, not my ED voice – I wanted to live life for me. And most of all, above anything, I wanted to be free. Liberated.

(more…)

My Road to Routine: Healthy Habits – Round Up

March 14, 2017 / Alex Hanna  / 
healthy habits, road

My journey comes to a close, but the road of healthy habits does not end. 

Routine behaviors – healthy habits – are a great way to establish a set of regular practices that carry benefits to your mental and physical health. The goal is to make these a natural part of your schedule – as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning. At that point, these natural activities – your healthy habits – can provide a regular stream of feel-good hormones (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) that keep your mood up, and your mind engaged on positive emotions. Sounds pretty useful. (more…)

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