#18: I’m still putting the pieces of myself back together.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous

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

Depression. A lot of it is rooted in a very contentious custody battle that my parents fought for six years. I was put in the middle. Although my father was wonderful in a lot of ways, he often bad-mouthed my mother in front of me, and devoted a substantial portion of his time to telling me what a bad parent and person she was. He died when I was 16 and I went to live with my mother.

By this point, I viewed my mother as an untrustworthy, negative influence — at best — and I hated myself. I was – and still am – a lot like her. After all, she’s one half of who I am.

As a result, I held hostility towards my mom for a long time, which affected our relationship. Nearly 15 years later, I’m still putting the pieces of myself back together.

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

I want people to know I’m in a lot of pain. I keep imagining someone saying to me, “well, you can just get over this” or thinking this is like, a personality construct to feed something depraved within myself or get attention. But only a person who hasn’t been clinically depressed would say that. I’ve often found the people who are so righteous and quick to judge are those who have no experience with this illness whatsoever.

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

I’m trying to figure out how to not let this incapacitate me. It’s easier said than done.

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?:

If they have activities they like to do, support that (i.e. guitar, painting, gardening, etc.). Activities and hobbies can help keep a person in the moment, solely on the task at hand, and provide a respite from the pervasiveness of depression and anxiety.

I strongly believe that most people living with a mental illness want more than anything to feel normal. Judgments will serve as a reminder that they don’t feel normal. This doesn’t end well.

The person providing support needs to be an active participant in their own treatment. Mental illness has already compromised their agency. So, their job is to help the person nurture it, and there is no setting more powerful in which to do it than when discussing treatment.

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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. 

#12: I can get through the day.

Photo by lisboa ind. on Unsplash

Words by Marlissa | Age 19

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

Social anxiety and depression. 

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

Most days you feel as if nothing good has ever happened to you in your life. Sometimes you can’t even look in the mirror without being disgusted and ashamed of yourself. It’s hard to function properly and be the person you want to be.

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

I can’t use them as an excuse to give up easily. I have to recognize that I can get through the day. Even if it feels like today was ruined, tomorrow’s a new one.

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?

Try to always be there for them, whether it’s listening to them talk, giving them space, sitting in silence, writing encouraging notes, or texting them frequently. Try to be as understanding as you can. Research the mental illness they have and let them know you’re trying to understand them more.

Tell them they’re not alone and that you love 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. 

#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. 

#8: You might be their inspiration.

Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous | Age 25

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

Anxiety and Depression.

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

It isn’t always visible to you when looking in from the outside, but on the inside, it is a constant low-simmering struggle that touches everything I think, feel, and do.

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

That it defines you.

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 and empathetic but don’t be a doormat, and don’t let the person you love constantly make excuses. As a loved one, you might be their inspiration to seek help and better themselves. Set boundaries to help them learn how to regulate their illness.

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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.