#16: I’m learning to accept myself for who I am.

Photo by Katherine Chase on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous

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

Chronic Depression, General Anxiety Disorder and PTSD.

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

It takes strength to live my life with ongoing mental challenges including: listening to my doctor and therapist, doing proper self care, and working hard so that my illness remains in my corner and does not bleed into anyone else. My goal is to be the best I can be each day.

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

A mental illness left without treatment will control one’s life. I am learning to stop this control. I am different from other people and that is okay. I’m learning to accept myself for who I am with my illness.

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?

Seek outside support. One cannot do it on their own. I spent a year in bed with my deepest depression. My family cared for me, but I had to be honest and start caring for myself. I was scared to get help. My doctor literally saved my life and brought me out of the woods. If your loved one will not get help, then the caregiver must get help for themselves. The support person cannot allow the illness of a loved one to rule their life. Resentment or being held a victim is not loving

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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. 

#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. 

#10: I never let them define me.

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

Words by Kim | Age 24 

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

Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Binge Eating Disorder.

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

 Though at one time these all made me feel like they were controlling me, I am able to control them now. I am impacted by the effects of these disorders every single day, but I (try to) never let them consume or define me.

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

 I wish I could unlearn the stigma around them all individually. Just because I have mental illnesses doesn’t mean that I am lesser of a person and unable to do “normal” things like everyone else.

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 be willing to listen. If we had all the answers, we wouldn’t be where we are. It’ll take us time to make sense of mental illnesses and how they affect us, so be patient with us while we learn how to cope with it. When we need a listening ear, do just that. We don’t need advice or a fix (sometimes), that’s what our therapist is for; we need a friend who wants to be supportive.

Visit Kim Cataldo’s 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. 

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

#5: Falling in love with a person won’t cure you.

Photo by xing cheng on Unsplash

Words by Anonymous

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

PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, and Attention Disorder

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

Falling in love with a person or a pursuit won’t cure you. But, you don’t have to wait to be “cured”(or treated, or better, or healed) to fall in love either.

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

The expectation that time will help old trauma fade.

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?

Don’t forget to take care of your own mental and emotional health. You don’t have to be perfect or unfailing in your life and support.

 

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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. 

#4: Listen to their story if they need to tell you.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Words by Kristin | Age 19

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

Depression and PTSD.

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

Triggers are serious things that cause me to go into a dissociative episode. Stop making it a funny comment that you use to make fun of people you offend. It’s not light or funny. My episodes are terrifying. I’ve been working for the past four years to ease the reaction I get to these things. I would give anything for someone to understand what it feels like to sit in a movie theater with tears welling over that you can’t stop or control all because a father died in the film.

Once it starts, I feel like I’m not myself and the people with me have to bring me back. It’s like being at his funeral all over again, except I’m sitting in a theater.

It’s the worst feeling, please stop using my pain to make fun of others.

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

 I’m working on getting rid of the idea that I need to be happy to be normal. Happy isn’t the default. I am at a good place in my growth. It’s okay to be upset, sad, crazed, moody, and even happy. All my emotions are okay. I’m working to be content with myself, not to be “normal”.

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?

My advice for anyone loving someone with PTSD is to just be patient with us. There are days where I am productive and happy, and there are days when I’m not. Knowing that my roommate loves me even when I don’t have the will to clean my room is encouragement enough. She knows that eventually I will get to it and surprise her with how clean our room is. Hold your hand out to that person, listen to their story if they need to tell you, and support them in this journey because it can be long and scary. We will thank you later.

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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.