#17: I’m still carrying a ton of shame about it.

Photo by Luiza Sayfullina on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous

What mental illness(es) are you currently living with?

Anxiety with symptoms of dissociative disorder. I’ve been unable to get out of bed for the last couple of weeks.

What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

I’ve only been going to therapy for about 8 months now and honestly, I haven’t told anyone about it. My parents don’t know and I’ve mentioned therapy to a few friends but no details have been shared.

I’m still carrying a ton of shame about it and I worry that if I tell people, they’ll think I’m weak. I’m working on it, but my response to any kind of feelings right now is either to spiral out or completely shut down.

I don’t feel in control of myself.

I’d like people to know that I’m still me but sometimes I just need a little kindness that I haven’t learned to give myself yet.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with?

I want to unlearn this philosophy of “suck it up and get to work” that I’ve been fed since I was a child. It makes it really tough to be nice on myself on bad days.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?

Just be open to listening to them. Even if it’s uncomfortable, just listen, don’t offer solutions, don’t tell them about some cousin of your’s who fought depression by going to the gym or having a baby or something. Just listen.

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downloadDOPE SWEATSHIRT, HUH? With 29K+ Twitter followers, Let’s Stop Here is a social justice movement aimed at helping with issues surrounding bullying, mental health, racism, sexism, LGBTQ+, and disability issues.

Get your sweatshirt + support their latest campaign today! 

 


ABOUT THE SERIES

There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage. 

#15: It’s only a fraction of who I am.

 Photo by Moses Vega on Unsplash

Words by Gailen | Age 55

What mental illness(es) are you currently living with?

Anxiety, Depression and mild OCD, with the occasional panic attack just for giggles

What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

It’s only a fraction of who I am. It also is a wonderful piece of me. I am kinder, more thoughtful, more empathetic.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with?

Believing the crap my inner critic tells me.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?

Be patient, never tell to just relax, hold space for them and ask them what they need at that moment! Be non judgmental.

Follow Gailen on Instagram.

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downloadDOPE SWEATSHIRT, HUH? With 29K+ Twitter followers, Let’s Stop Here is a social justice movement aimed at helping with issues surrounding bullying, mental health, racism, sexism, LGBTQ+, and disability issues.

Get your sweatshirt + support their latest campaign today! 

 


ABOUT THE SERIES

There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage. 

 

#14: It’s completely invisible to others unless I tell them.

 Photo by Angello Lopez on Unsplash

Words by Emily

What mental illness(es) are you currently living with?

I have PTSD from childhood which mostly manifests right now as hyper-vigilance, but which has also caused (and sometimes still causes) depression and anxiety at different times in my life.

What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

First of all, PTSD doesn’t always come from one traumatic event – it can also come from a sustained unsafe situation that can be harder to put your finger on.
But more importantly, my hyper-vigilance makes me really productive, acutely tuned to social situations, and constantly adjusting. In other words, it’s completely invisible to others unless I tell them.

People often think I really “have it together”.

It can be extremely isolating and painful to have a mental illness that’s invisible to others.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with? 

I want to unlearn that I am in constant danger. So, so badly.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?

This is so hard. On one hand I want to say: please, please be patient. Please.
On the other hand I want to say: it is ok to kindly, gently (and in appropriate moments) remind me that my illness is affecting you. My illness’s affect on my loved ones is one of the biggest motivators to take care of myself and manage it.

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downloadDOPE SWEATSHIRT, HUH? With 29K+ Twitter followers, Let’s Stop Here is a social justice movement aimed at helping with issues surrounding bullying, mental health, racism, sexism, LGBTQ+, and disability issues.

Get your sweatshirt + support their latest campaign today! 

 


ABOUT THE SERIES

There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage. 

#13: Sit with me and wait until it passes.

Photo by Marc Steenbeke on Unsplash

Words by Gina | Age 22 

What mental illness(es) are you currently living with?

Currently, I’m living with anxiety.

What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

If there was one thing that I want people to know about anxiety it would be that it’s different from stress. Stress is the negative energy before a test or if you just realized you have three assignments due tomorrow. Stress comes and goes and is mainly situational. Our society uses the term “anxiety” a lot of times when they really mean “stress.” There’s a big difference.

Anxiety (for me) is this constant state of energy. Think of a soda can being shaken constantly. That’s how my body feels all of the time. Like, I have all of this energy that just is bottled up inside. It’s similar to holding in emotions but more related to energy. Not energy to go on a run per say but like constant worrying, constant thoughts…similar to the consistent shaking of a soda can.

Sometimes I have to sit and just like refocus my energy because there is so much of it going in so many different places. Not like ADD or ADHD though because for me it’s more about weeding through so many emotions and feelings rather than other tasks.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with?

As I was writing this blog post, it reminded me to take my medication for my mental illness! Medication is an important part of mental illness for many people. For me, it helps me feel balanced with the rest of the world. I can tell within 10 minutes of starting my day if I forgot to take my medication because I immediately feel off.

To be honest, though, I’m unlearning the stigma that is behind taking “store-bought” hormones as some call them. There are times where I wonder if something is wrong with me because I have to take store-bought medication for something that’s “all in my head” so to speak.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?

To someone who loves a person with a mental illness, the piece of advice I would give is to be patient. There have been so many times when I can’t be patient with myself because my anxiety is getting the best of me. When I’m in those moments, I need someone who will more than likely just sit with me and wait until it passes, because it will. Also, some fresh baked cookies or ice cream don’t hurt either. 🙂

Visit Gina Mariano’s Twitter

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downloadDOPE SWEATSHIRT, HUH? With 29K+ Twitter followers, Let’s Stop Here is a social justice movement aimed at helping with issues surrounding bullying, mental health, racism, sexism, LGBTQ+, and disability issues.

Get your sweatshirt + support their latest campaign today! 

 


ABOUT THE SERIES

There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage. 

#11: I am capable.

Photo by Egbe Egbe on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous | Age 20

 What mental illness(es) are you currently living with?

Depression, anxiety and PTSD. 

What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

I’m not lazy. My failure to achieve everything I should be able to is not out of laziness. I am not forgetful because I haven’t completed the simple tasks I know I must. Rather, the anxiety that accompanies these tasks manifests in debilitating ways. I am not lazy because of the sheer amount of time spent in my bed, but I am incapable of facing the day. At one point in my life I woke up eager to challenge myself, and was full of curiosity surrounding the excitements that the day may entail. Now, I awake after limited sleep with an ache and with feelings of angst for having to face reality.  My approach to the day is a matter of simply getting by. There is no desire to push the boundaries. Behind my ‘lazy’ front is a thought process far more complex than you can imagine.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with?

That I am incapable. When I believe this it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and I shy away from every opportunity. This scenario of me filling in these boxes is a major step for me. My conception that I am incapable renders me avoiding all things that are not absolutely necessary. I assume I cannot do things due to my mental illness. I wish to unlearn this, as I have often accidentally and sometimes purposefully demonstrated that I am capable.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?

Be gentle and patient. Some days are worse than others. Do not shame them in any way for seeking professional help or even considering medication. You may not be able to comprehend this experience and thus, the way you react to your own ‘down’ moods is not necessarily appropriate in this case. If they want to cry, let them and hold them and give them a safe space to release this emotion. Don’t try and force them to avoid their emotions and rally them up to “pull [themselves] together.” This is not always easy. I can promise you that we are trying, and the fact that you are trying is the most reassuring thing.

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downloadDOPE SWEATSHIRT, HUH? With 29K+ Twitter followers, Let’s Stop Here is a social justice movement aimed at helping with issues surrounding bullying, mental health, racism, sexism, LGBTQ+, and disability issues.

Get your sweatshirt + support their latest campaign today! 

 


ABOUT THE SERIES

There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage. 

#9: It’s one of the hardest things to live with.

Photo by Éva Balogh on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous

What mental illness(es) are you currently living with?

Anxiety & depression. 

 What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

It’s one of the hardest things to live with, but with the right support and love around you, you can get through it. You are not alone.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with?

The stigma surrounding them. I feel there is a certain stigma around people with mental health where we can be portrayed as ‘abnormal’. I feel that if more people understood that mental health is not abnormal, and that there are many people who will experience  anxiety, depression, OCD, etc., at least once in their lives, then people may feel more comfortable talking about it.

I personally have been very lucky with a supportive social network of friends and family around me. Some of those people have actually experienced what I am going through first hand and can empathize with my feelings. I do not expect nor hope for everyone to be able to empathize with what I am going through.

I just wish for them to be supportive to help me through this difficult time.

I hope that in the future everyone who experiences mental health will receive some type of support – whether that be from friends, family, or organizations who work hard to let people know that they are not alone and mental health is not abnormal. It is okay to talk about it and it is okay to not feel okay.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?

Make them feel like they can talk about how they are feeling. Take time you listen, help them to enjoy the little things in life and keep loving them.

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downloadDOPE SWEATSHIRT, HUH? With 29K+ Twitter followers, Let’s Stop Here is a social justice movement aimed at helping with issues surrounding bullying, mental health, racism, sexism, LGBTQ+, and disability issues.

Get your sweatshirt + support their latest campaign today! 

 


ABOUT THE SERIES

There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage. 

This podcast episode goes right for the heart!

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Episode 12: You are not your mental illness. 

Guest: Ariel Davis 

 

Listen on iTunes                    Listen on Podbean

 

Today’s guest is the illustrious Ariel Davis.

Ariel’s bio: “I am a woman, mother, wife, educator, survivor and jane of all trades.” 

Here are some notabe topics and quotes from today’s episode: 

  • So much negativity in the world would end if everyone believed in their own self.
  • Why people need to define self-care for themselves
  • Why the entire to-do list doesn’t need to be done today.
  • Mental health in the Black community
  • The layers of intersectionality and grief
  • Ariel’s experience with anxiety and the “scenarios” that’d play in her head
  • Perfection and OCD
  • “When any two people try to merge their lives, there’s going to be challenges.”
  • “I have the mental illness, the mental illness doesn’t have me.”
  • Ariel’s Instagram
  • Cards for the Culture