Mental illness makes you do a lot of things that people would deem “stupid”. They may sound melodramatic to an outsider, but to someone actually experiencing them, they are frustrating and terrifying. Many people do not understand that.
We have an education system that makes our students masters in Math and Science. This was posted by Claire last week. But I believe that this comes from a larger issue. Through some research, we might have the best system that makes our students masters in Math and Science, but the education system is backward in terms of helping our students grow and mature as students.
We don’t really talk about mental health. It’s an issue that we need to talk about more but the only times we tend to talk about them is when something bad happens. I was inspired to write an article about the state of conversation about mental health after a conversation with a rather important figure in my life growing up.
As someone who goes through periods and waves of depression, self-care can get terribly difficult for me. Brushing my teeth, taking showers or washing my face becomes something I do every few days. Recently, I found one way to make myself take showers. Still working on other self-care methods, but I think taking a shower can be one of the things that make a person feel more refreshed. A slightly cool shower running down the face and body can be very effective in upping one’s mood slightly, being clean and all.
So for the love of God, Buddha, Mohammed, or whatever god you believe in, if someone in your life suffers from mental illness, please visit them. Please care for them and extend a helping hand. Sinead, like myself, are fortunate enough to be seeking constant treatment and are able to share our experiences and opinions on what we go through. But there is a significant group of people who cannot.
I have never fessed up and actually recognised where my thoughts go sometimes. But the fact that I cannot care for myself, the fact that I cannot remember when was the last time I was happy and the fact that I do not see myself as a living being in the coming years scare me. It should scare others around me more than it does, and that is why I fight stigma.
Thus, I think I may appear high functioning, or I seem like I am doing okay when I am actually not. In reality, I feel that I am quite low functioning. I have huge employment and education gaps. That’s why I am writing this. I feel that I am lagging behind my peers, and I feel that I may not be able to find suitable employment in the future, so I don’t feel like I stand to lose by writing this.
Watching the girls’ routine during the Games, their reactions upon winning, and then this reflective piece describing the entire process, this somehow felt reminiscent of therapy to me. The metaphors and allusions and perfect descriptions of drowning are something I can relate easily too, even though I’m by no means a synchronised swimmer.
Being an optimist myself, I have always chosen to focus on the bright side of things, on the things that I could change and improve. Thus, I would like to share some ideas on how to focus on the good side of things and drive out those negative thoughts through three simple steps!
Basically, inside my mind. Being someone with anxiety disorder makes it hard for others to understand what really goes on in my mind because everyone has anxiety, but some have anxiety disorder. I found this list a long way back and had it saved as a note in my phone, waiting for someone that I got close enough to share with. Disappointingly, I couldn’t find anyone to share this with, so here it is. I did not write this, but I did find it humorous and maybe you can help someone in need.
Nobody wants to be sick. Nobody wants illnesses placed upon them. I recently got warded for being suicidal and my only night there was unpleasant – with the lack of electronics – it made my self-therapy difficult. I had to keep myself busy and there were no opportunities for me to do so.
Us versus them – that’s the short answer. Stigma only exists because we want to be on the side of the majority, the side of what is “right” – or what we perceive as right anyway – the side which is accepted by the same majority they want to be part of.
Some see it as a sensitive topic when they want to ask about my experience with mental illness, but honestly, I like it. Apart from just offering a different perspective, sharing with them my experience and answering questions forces me to reflect on my past.
I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare. ― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Remember that depression isn’t just a mental illness – It used to drive me mad that Rob wouldn’t get out of bed. It took a while to realise that he “couldn’t” rather than “wouldn’t”. I was so sure he would feel better if he came out for a walk or met his friends, but depression is a physical illness, too. As Dr Cain says: “Physically, depression impacts energy levels. People sometimes feel very tired and want to stay in bed all the time.”
What struck me in the above extract was Mattew’s sense of powerlessness and lack of control over his relapse, recovery and treatment journey in the health and family system. We want every individual in Singapore to have a safe space to reach out and tell his/her story. To have one’s emotions and experiences held tight. We want to create a community that validates not only the joy and triumphs of life, but also the pain and secret shames embedded in your personal journeys.
Many of us have gambled before, but some of us can control it, whereas there are some who cannot control it. Therefore, it becomes an addiction. Addiction to gambling is very, very, extremely difficult to cure. Many people, when they get hooked, cannot quit the addiction. Many of these gamblers carry on the gambling lifestyle even until their death! This means that in their life, most of the time is all about gambling. Even most of their hard earned money goes to gambling.
But what if other people don’t see it that way? What if they don’t take me seriously anymore? What if they doubt my competence? This doesn’t just apply to employers, but future clients as well. Would people trust a counsellor like me? Nonetheless, I will not stop writing about mental health. I will not stop fighting stigma. It is a life goal of mine I am not willing to give up.
Something something plastic bag floating through the wind… Wait, wrong artist. Imagine this, you’re sitting, on what can be described as a comfortable chair, hugging your back and hips. Perhaps you’re at a cafe, enjoying a cup of coffee, or at the beach, or just on the couch at home, watching the latest football game. Now imagine this, you are where you are, a soul among others. You are in a social situation, but yet you feel so, so, alone.
What really struck me was the conundrum even ordinary people faced daily with letting go and/or holding on to intimate relationships. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) this is a struggle close to my own heart. A core feature of BPD is the presence of serious interpersonal problems. People with BPD tend to have intense, unstable relationships, characterised by frequent wavering between strong clinginess/dependency and sudden withdrawal.
YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram – nowadays, we cannot avoid these mediums when talking about our youth’s mental health. Instagram is the worst social media site in terms of its impact on the mental health of young people, a report has suggested. The #StatusofMind survey found the photo-sharing app negatively impacted on people’s body image, sleep and fear of missing out. (Telegraph)
If you stay up at night, tossing and turning in bed, contemplating all the what-ifs, I feel you. If you hide in the toilet, shaking with fear and anxiety, I feel you. If you prefer to stay in the comfort of your house and not venture out, I feel you. Because every step feels like a thousand miles.
For the past decade, I have believed in the right to die – if you want to die, you have the right to do so and nobody else has the right to make you live. Committing suicide is your choice, and nobody has the right to make that decision for you. I quote Rebecca Wait, author of one of my favourite books, The View on The Way Down: Because he wanted to die. Because he was ill and didn’t believe he’d ever get better. Because it was his choice. Not mine. Not my parents’. We’d have chosen to keep him […]
When those with mental illnesses are relatively “normal” and able to function (more or less), displaying only the more “passive” symptoms, people are usually fine around them. They treat them like just another person, knowing full well (s)he has a condition.
Self-care is important. You have to take care of yourself. Your doctor and therapist can only do so much to help you. You have to take little steps to work towards recovery, and help yourself by avoiding your triggers. It is really not easy. Sometimes you may lapse into the whirlpool of negativity or you might still hallucinate.
According to Oxford dictionary online, ghosting is defined as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” The article talks about how some friendships turn awkward or sour, and neither party is willing to reconcile their differences, so they end up parting ways.
“Workers with psychiatric disabilities have to acquire new skills while in the process of learning how to negotiate an unfamiliar public environment, having at the same time to contain the effects of the illness and the feelings of insecurity and self-doubt that come from previous experiences.”
When I feel empty… I feel my face blur in and out of focus. You prop me up but I fall down. The passing of time doesn’t change me. I am a failure, the only one I notice.
Volunteering with Caregivers Alliance Limited (CAL) – either by taking on the role of a support leader or trainer for their classes – has been extremely rewarding. A new class just started last week and I’m a trainer. Like the three other classes I have been involved in, I gain new knowledge and insight every lesson. Here are three examples of things I have learned: (1) Misery loves company It sounds rather clichéd, but relationships with individuals going through a similar plight can be very therapeutic. It isn’t something to be wished upon others, but it’s a relief to find […]
You may wonder, what has mental health got to do with gaming? Today, I just found out that Runescape has a mental health event in-game, and I was so pleasantly surprised. In case you didn’t know, Runescape has been supporting mental health charities over the years, and it aims to raise $150,000 this year, for Prince’s Trust and CPL Mind, as well as YMCA’s Right Here.