We see sights like the one above on the train. It almost becomes parts of our daily routine. I was a commuter on the train recently, on my way to many different job interviews. These two issues etched a thought in my mind: (1) How many people I see out and about suffer from some form of mental illness?; and (2) Am I going to face the same stigma because I am ill?
My intolerance with how mental health is treated is the straw that will one day, break my back. Even while doing my research, the inaction and lack of a sense of urgency continue to grind my gears. For an issue that affects one in twelve Singaporeans, we sure aren’t doing anything about it.
To say that mental health and mental illnesses are plagued by stigma is a gross understatement. Yet, after one of the most successful decades into looking at neurology, we still see poor mental health and mental illness as a form of personal weakness and indulgence. This stigma that we put on people (or even ourselves) could shame them or others into not seeking treatment. Even if they do seek treatment, they can go through a nightmarish lonely recovery.
Major Depression in one sentence: “a biochemical disorder with a genetic component, when early experiences influences, where a person cannot appreciate sunsets”. This is a great lecture by Professor Robert Sapolsky, from Stanford University, on Depression with notes prepared by us.
Yes, indeed they are.
Social insufficiencies can cause serious mental health issues. We, as humans, are social creatures and need to interact with others. We yearn to have relationships with others, communications with others, support systems, being part of our community, feeling loved by others. But friends who have never experienced mental health issues find it hard to help and can turn out to have certain negative side effects.
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.
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.
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.”
Have you ever daydreamed? Or perhaps your mind wandered off during a conversation? You have? Congratulations, you have experienced a dissociative episode. Dissociation is common but for those with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), the experience is amplified ten-fold.
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.
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)
There are two things that having depression has for sure taught me about mental illness: that it is very real and very debilitating, and that it is really, really difficult to talk about mental illness without feeling like a complete failure. How do you admit to someone else that there are days when you can’t even bring yourself to get out of bed? How do you explain to the people in your life that sometimes, even the idea of taking a shower or leaving the house feels like an impossible task?
We can start doing some pretty silly things that in retrospect, can affect our mental health negatively, just when we don’t need it. Below is a post from the Huffington Post that could be helpful when it comes to coping, especially in a time where everything can seem blurry and dull behind a grey veil. Dealing with grief and mental illnesses can have their similiarities (don’t get me wrong, grief does not equal a mental illness). But here are some coping techniques (albeit in the negative tone) in the words of Tazz, a Marketing & Communication Specialist.
Alonism should not be confused with escapism or isolationism, which is the act of purposefully avoiding social contact. Escapism or isolationism can be a cause, side effect and result of alonism. It should also not be confused with the definition of one who is extremely weird in nature and behaviour.
13 Reasons Why (stylised as TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY) is an American television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix. The plot revolves around Hannah Baker, a high school student, who dies by suicide. Two weeks later, Clay Jensen, one of her closest friends, finds a package on his doorstep containing 13 audio cassettes made by Hannah explaining the 13 reasons why she killed herself, and Clay is one of them. In order to find out how he fits in, Clay must listen to the tapes.
Remember: mental illness is a flaw in chemistry, not character. It’s important to know that it’s normal to feel some of the different symptoms associated with mental illness from time to time. But if it’s affecting your everyday life, if you stop participating in activities you love or if it’s disrupting your success in school, you may want to seek help. Rule of thumb: if you’re suffering, get professional mental health help. You don’t have to feel this way.
Anyone with any form of mental illness has heard it. An entirely well-meaning bit of advice. A genuine attempt to help. ‘You should go for a run’.*
Welcome to Winding Through The Willows! We are Winding Through The Willows, and we want to provide mental health resources and information in Singapore.