Saturday, August 31, 2013

On hope and the topic of mental illness.


Mental illness is just one of those topics that remains a bit taboo though it's 2013 and it affects more people than we could possibly realize.

From depression to hypochondria, there is so much we, as society, don't understand. Of course not. It's not as simple as a diagnosing a broken arm, nor is it as commonly curable as strep throat. We aren't even sure if mental health is curable.

That's the thing: there's just so much we don't know.

But just because we don't know doesn't mean we can't try to understand, and even more so, sympathize. And for those of us who can, empathize.

So when I see insightful articles and essays being shared and passed around among the masses it makes me feel as though there is hope. Hope that the more it's talked about, the more awareness that is brought to the issues, the sooner we will be able to more openly discuss these hardships, the sooner more therapies and cures will be found.

Because I have been there; I will possibly be there my whole life.

So here are just a handful of aforementioned articles/essays I'd love to share with you. (These are the ones I had bookmarked here and there, so I know I am missing many that I had meant to save. Please share any that you have saved, or happen to come across, and I will happily include them in the list!)

On depression:
Adventures in Depression Part 1. and 2. by Hyperbole and a Half
At first, I'd try to explain that it's not really negativity or sadness anymore, it's more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can't feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you're horribly bored and lonely, but since you've lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you're stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is. 

On Insomnia:
In Which We're Up All Night by Elizabeth Gumpert
A cure that leaves you groggy or hungover is no cure at all. The point of sleep, after all, is that it is supposed to restore energy, and hope. It makes you alert enough to do things, and optimistic enough to believe they are worth doing. If you wake up feeling otherwise, what's the use?

On Depression after weaning:
The Two Hardest Months Of My Life by Joanna Goddard
One afternoon, while taking a walk along the Hudson River, I told my mom, who was visiting us, that I wished that Toby had a different mother. He deserved more, I thought. I felt like such a failure: I had always wanted to be a mother. I always had baby fever. I always looked forward to having children. But now that I had a sweet, curious, beautiful baby, I suddenly couldn't handle motherhood. I felt exhausted and inept. 

On Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
OCD: 'Clearly My Doctors Were Off Their Rockers' an essay by me about my OCD
This chapter had my name written all over it. At first I was relieved, and then I was mad. Mad that Barbara Walters had never even addressed the fact that this kind of OCD was real. And then I was even more pissed that I didn’t have the hand washing compulsions, because then, at least, people could see what was going on in my mind, instead of seeing me act normal, while my mind was full of intrusive, terrifying thoughts.

...

And, please, if you feel hopeless, remember these things:

How To Take Care Of Yourself When You Feel Suicidal
Just because your life feels unbearable now doesn’t mean that it will feel this way forever. Try to remind yourself of all the times in the past when you felt miserable and hopeless and lost and how each time, the pain eventually passed and life worked itself out — maybe not in the way you imagined, but things got better nonetheless. Now is no exception. This pain you feel can and will pass. If you give up now though, you’ll never discover that better place — so keep holding on.

Hope Is Real, Hope Is Near.

You are so loved.


"When tough times come, it is particularly important to offset them with much gentle softness. Be a pillow."- Vera Nazarian


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3 comments:

  1. I love this, Anna. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thank you for sharing.
    I love that last quote. Be a pillow. Be kind to yourself always x

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  3. Thank you for writing this! Mental illness is so much a part of my reality and my recovery but I often feel like I"m holding back in my writing. At first it was easy, but as I continued to struggle I thought, people don't want to hear about it AGAIN. We are expected to realize we're hurt, seek help, and heal. But it's not a straight line...naturally :)

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