Mental Health Day: Things To Stick Around For

If you have been reading Resonating for a while, you know I did a “coming out” post of sorts regarding my mental illness in the spring of last year. In that, I went into detail on my mental health history. It was the first time in a long time that I acknowledged I had a problem. To summarize: I suffered through child abuse that has stuck with me my entire life. It still messes with me to this day, but it has become manageable with therapy and time. Now, for where I am currently.


It has been a rough year. I began going to therapy about a year and a half ago, got my mental illness diagnosis from a psychiatrist, started college last fall, went through a very tumultuous breakup, was nearly driven to suicide several times between November to February, started antidepressants in August of last year, went off of them in June, got a new job in December, started a new relationship in January, lost a lot of close friends, a family member went through a life-threatening surgery this month, and life continues to throw new shit at me every day.


However,  I don’t want this  to be an unhappy post. The point of telling  you all of those things is to say that I’m still here, alive, and fighting.


Anyone reading this needs to know one thing: you are not your illness. You are not your experiences.


You are yourself, and your life belongs to you.


For people with anxiety like myself, that idea can be scary. “I get to choose how my life goes? What if I choose wrong?”


Now, I’m not going to be that guy and tell you meditation and “choosing happiness” is going to change your life, and I’m not blaming you for how you deal with anything as a mentally ill person. Our brains are not the same as everyone else’s - and there’s nothing wrong with that! We just have a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to knowing how life and emotions work.


The reason you shouldn’t be scared to be in control: life has a funny way of rerouting itself when it needs to. No one’s life has ever completely ceased to go on directly from a career change, choosing the wrong major in college, losing a close friend, getting a bad grade, or anything other big life change or decision that can send you into a depression. I know it can seem like it - I’ve briefly wished it would in the past - but that just doesn’t happen.


Take risks with your life. If you can do things you want to do, like travel, go to school, start a new job, learn how to drive, start a relationship, move somewhere new, create an oddly specific anime cosplay, learn how to do a new makeup look,  start a collection of vinyl records exclusively in orange variants, start playing an instrument your friends can’t pronounce the name of… Do it. Do it even on days you don’t feel like you can. Move through life knowing that, no matter who you are, at the very least, I’m in your corner, and I have the utmost faith in you.


I’m not going to tell you to stick around for your cat, your best friend, or your little brother. When you’re not feeling mentally well, none of those things matter. They just serve as reminders that make you feel guilty for being sad.


I’m telling you to stick around for yourself.


Stick around for your favorite flower that grows out of a crack on the sidewalk by your house. Stick around for spontaneously seeing a dog while walking down the street. Stick around for the breeze when it’s 60 degrees outside. Stick around for when your coffee is made perfectly. Stick around for driving alone, listening to your favorite song, and singing it at the top of your lungs, with no fear of judgment, no fear of not sounding perfect. Life isn’t always nonstop incredible, but there are little things that make it worthwhile.


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Additionally, walk with the knowledge that you’re not alone in your mental condition.  As you can see in the graphic above (courtesy of the NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in America have some kind of mental illness (which is 43.8 million adults per year), and the majority of mental illnesses begin from ages 14 to 24. If my demographic info serves me right, that’s you - the reader. And that’s okay.


If you feel like you need help with your mental illness, there are resources. If you are interested in in-person talk therapy, this tool from Psychology Today is great. It lets you search by religious background, whether or not they cater to queer people/PoC, whether they cater to your MI, and more. If you can’t afford that, websites like BetterHelp or 7 Cups will provide you with someone to speak to for free.


If you need someone to speak to in an immediate crisis, I’ve had great experiences with the National Suicide Prevention Line (1-800-273-8255). It’s 100% free and anonymous, and, if you provide your info, they can get  you in touch with local mental health centers near you.


If you feel like someone you know is going through issues with a mental illness, even if you don’t know them very well: please try to be kind and patient with them. They are trying their best. You don’t have to be anyone’s sole emotional support if you don’t have the emotional strength to deal with more people’s stress, but they could still make use of your kind words.


Thank you to everyone who checks on me when I need it, and has ever made me smile. While it can be easy to get down on yourself, your purpose, and your impact on the world, you are more valuable to me than you could ever possibly know.


Your current problems, while serious and valid, are going to go away. At the very least, they will fade with time. Nothing you feel right now is going to be a lifelong source of pain, and you’re going to be just fine. I believe in you.


“Trouble don’t last always, bitch.”


-Angie

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