A very simple way to say this is that I get sad sometimes. I want to stay in bed from when the sun rises to when it sets, and I’m too sad to shower or eat. Other days, however, I can hop out of bed and run through a very productive day of schoolwork, journaling, and exercise. The thought of staying in bed all day would make me wince when I’m my productive self. I’m trying to tell you that I am mentally ill. I’m not alone, by the way, about one of six U.S. adults have a mental illness.
Mental health is slowly beginning to creep into mainstream. People are realizing when they read articles on suicide and of the mental illnesses the young victims suffered from that something is up. That these people who we have raised or grown up beside have mental health problems, and maybe those articles on self-care and self-love actually mean something.
Mental health is something that, unfortunately, seems to be a family issue for me. Almost all my loved ones have issues with it. As a mentally ill young person, having to accept that your mentally ill is one thing. If you’re lucky enough to have insurance or the Internet, you could go to a therapist, work your way up to a psychiatrist and being on medication. Worse comes to worse, you have social media which is surprisingly helpful. Doctors and medical students share helpful analysis on mental illness, on taking care of yourself, and on how to interact with others.
For those with mental illnesses, I recognize that coming to terms with your illness may be difficult. It means needing extra help where others do not such as completing menial chores, having to be kind to your brain and your body, and having the extra responsibility of reacting to whatever your mental illness is telling you in a responsible and healthy way. That’s why it is so incredibly important to have a support system, to have resources to help navigate mental health.
For those supporting loved ones with mental illness, it is important to have that variegated support system. To have people to lean back on when times are tough, to have people to help sort out certain issues that come to light. Especially when both people are mentally ill and are working towards positive thinking and embracing life.
There is no great secret to coping with mental illness. There is no master plan on how to better take care of yourself as a mentally ill person or to to better support another mentally ill person. But the secret to coming to terms with it is to never be alone.
Picture Source: Artem