Awkward things I’ll definitely do at my support group

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As a young millennial who’s tried several different ways to find help for their anxiety/depression/suicidal tendencies, and has yet to find an effective and affordable solution, finding a support group has both induced relief and anxiety, because there’s not much else beyond this. This has to be it.

But what’s the worst that could happen? Instead of thinking of ways I could get in my own way in this respect, I’m mostly just worried about making a fool of myself.

I’m going to smile uncomfortably while speaking.giphy

I’m going to cry during someone else’s share and try to hide it.giphy (1)

I’m going to want to hug a stranger, but will ask first.giphy (2)

Can I bring doughnuts? Not just for myself, but for everyone.

giphy (6)

I’m going to fight feeling terrible about my pathetic story after hearing someone’s really powerful one.

giphy (3)

I’m going to be self-conscious talking about suicide with my husband in the room.giphy (4)

I’m going to want to flake out and not attend one, or multiple nights, but I’ll go anyway.giphy (5)

It’s going to be aggravating, embarrassing and painful, but no matter how much awkward or how much derp I am, it has to work.

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6 amusing things about depression

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In honor of stopping my pills and feeling semi-normal for the first time in a while, here are the things I’ve just embraced about depression, and even find somewhat amusing.

When you know you’re only getting compliments because people don’t know how else to talk to you.

awkward

When your mom says “your self esteem” in reference to your mental illness.

nope

When someone tries to talk to you while you’re working through an anxiety attack.

cry

“How are you doing?”

dunno

When someone can relate to your brain.

friends

When you finally relax and your body handles it by twitching.

cool

Things you learn after you learn you have depression

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Like a lot of people, I have anxiety and depression, which is basically just a huge contradiction.

But being diagnosed and seeking help has allowed me to learn more about this condition and what it means for me.

It’s OK to tell yourself to smile, for non-sexist reasons. It really does help to lift your mood.giphy1

The meds are working, that’s why you feel like you don’t need them.giphy2

Working through an anxiety attack on your own is basically like winning a UFC championship. Going from zero to 60, and then slowly working your way back is exhausting, and gratifying to the point of earning that milkshake if it happens in a diner (hypothetically, of course).giphy3

Just because your spouse is frustrated, doesn’t mean they don’t care. It’s like when you try to make them feel better during a cold and nothing’s helping.giphy4

Mental illness makes your friends and family uncomfortable, and that’s not your problem.giphy5

It’s going to take a while to figure this out, and that’s fine.giphy6

I’d planned to die before turning 25

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Note: This post has graphic language about death and suicide and will be uncomfortable for certain readers.

life

I think the simplest way to phrase it would be that I’d grown accustomed to treating my life as a carton of milk; doing what I wanted with it while it while I had it, knowing I would get rid of it at some point, because it wasn’t meant to last. I wasn’t wholly aware of the expiration date, but knew it would be sooner rather than later. I’d planned for it to be sooner rather than later.

I didn’t have a specific date picked out per se, but I didn’t plan to last much longer than 25 years. I’d toyed with the “magical” idea of joining the 27 club, but realized that was a crock, as I was a civilian who didn’t get out much, and the only person to acknowledge my induction into that sort of morbid club would be me. And that’s just awkward.

Sure, plenty of people hit a certain age that induces panic and a realization that some day they’ll die. But I’m talking about getting to a certain age after beginning medication and realizing I’m not going to (allow myself to) die anytime soon.

Now I’m dealing with a can of beans. My life is a can of beans, and I’m learning to think of it as such. That stuff doesn’t have any real expiration date. That’s the stuff you donate at food drives, because it’s been in your cupboard since ‘Nam.

what

Somehow or another, my coworkers and I recently talked about our views and approach to dealing with death. Well, they did most of the talking. I just listened, because, as they were talking about any sort of fear of their own deaths or the death of loved ones, I could only relate to fearing someone else dying. I could only think of being an 11-year-old in the passenger seat of my mom’s car, and hoping we’d get in an accident that would kill me, not her.

On my medicine, this is a total bummer to talk about, and I realize now how much that line of thinking isn’t healthy or fair. And I’m so incredibly lucky to have a privileged life stacked with people who love and care for me, and who’ve stayed with me all this time.

So now, I’m trying to figure out how I feel about death, and trying to appreciate that, on the threshold of turning 25, the fact that I haven’t offed myself is something to celebrate, and not be surprised about.

I just don’t know how to thank the people who saw past my crazy and realized that, while that mentality is a huge part of my life, it’s not me. Those people helped me help myself, and told me it would be OK. And that means more than they’ll ever know.

If someone you know mentions wanting to harm themselves, don’t ignore it. Don’t judge them or shrug it off. Talk to them about it, and help them. They’re not just telling you for attention, they’re asking for help.

 

We need to talk about mental disorders

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Remember when you were younger, and your friend broke his/her (insert limb here)? Remember all the attention they got, and how many people wanted to sign their cast or carry their backpack? Also, remember that really demented part of you who kind of wanted to break a bone just to get a cast for people to sign, and for someone to offer to carry your backpack?

Maybe that was just me, but I’m pretty sure there was a “Wonder Years” episode or something that affirmed my feelings about this enough that I thought everyone thought like this at a young age.

Anyway, I feel like there’s a feeling similar to this going around with my peers regarding mental disorders. I’m talking about disorders like anxiety, OCD, depression, etc.

These disorders are talked about a lot (see posts like this and this), which is fantastic, because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be educated and talking about them, and hopefully this leads to us talking about more taboo illnesses and what we as a community can do to help those suffering with them.

However, I don’t think posts like those I linked to above have been doing a very good job of expressing just how serious these disorders, which have become so mainstream in our vocabulary (“I have really bad anxiety today,” or “He’s so OCD about this.”) really are. They’ve become a topic we as a society are getting comfortable with talking about, which both comforts me and scares me at the same time.

It comforts and scares me because I was recently diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety wasn’t a surprise to me. Ask my fiance. I’d been sending him links for months, saying, “No, really, I think I have this.” I was half-serious, thinking I was just a tense and easily stressed person. Everyone has their quirks and pet peeves.

But when your boss suggests you talk to someone, and your counselor diagnoses you, and you realize there’s a reason you don’t sleep, and you realize there’s a reason you want to hurt yourself… things get real. Fast.

So it’s comforting to see posts I can relate to, and it’s comforting not to feel alone. But it’s terrifying to think there are people out there who don’t have the illnesses they’re claiming, when I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. And it’s terrifying to think there are people who have these illnesses, but aren’t doing anything about it.

Now, I don’t know you. I don’t know your life. No one’s saying you have something that you don’t, but if you think you do, do something about it. Because here’s the thing – actually having a disorder and going through the steps to help it is f**king lonely, and it’s scary. It’s not a trendy topic to ogle. Don’t let yourself feel that way, because there are a ton of people in the same position as you.

It’s not easy or fun to talk about, but if we start recognizing these illnesses and disorders as something serious, we can start doing something about them. Honesty’s the best policy, as usual, and ignoring these conditions, as with anything, is the most damaging thing you can do to yourself and others.

*Mic drop*2og0PwG