Living With Mental Health Issues

Living With Mental Health Issues

People in your house should ask you how you're doing


Living with mental health issues is not something you can just "turn off" or flip on and off like a light switch. It is something much more serious than that. It can put a person into a funk for a minute, an hour or a week. It changes their personality. It makes them someone they don't recognize. It makes them angry. It makes them have outbursts. It makes them upset. It turns them into a person very difficult to deal with. And at times it makes them extremely quiet and not willing to say two words to anyone around them.

This is why people in your house should ask you how you're doing. Because by asking a simple question of "how's your day?" it may change their attitude. It may change their mood. It may change their day. And more than anything, it shows the person who is struggling that someone cares.

Living in a household where nobody asks how you're doing is difficult. It makes the person take to social media to vent their frustrations. It forces someone who is suffering to rely on friends outside the home when they should be able to talk to the people that are living right in their own home. It forces people struggling with mental health issues to lose trust and faith in the people that they should have the most truth and faith. And it just shows them that, when nobody in their own home even bothers to ask how they're doing, they simply don't care.

Living with mental health issues is not something that everyone deals with. They may have seen family members, neighbors, friends, coworkers or even relatives deal with it. But if they have not dealt with it personally, lived with it, and go through it on a daily basis, it's not quite the same. Living with these struggles is one of the most difficult battles a person can fight. It's a never-ending battle. It's a boxing match that doesn't stop. It's a clock that never stops ticking. And no matter how good of a day a person is having, with mental health issues, that means nothing. There is no discrimination. Mental health issues take no prisoners. They just wipe you out. They destroy your day. They ruin your mood. And they make you into someone even you don't like.

This is why people in your house should ask you how you're doing. If you're quiet and not talking, by simply saying, "hey, are you doing okay?" could change their entire mood. It could brighten their day. Hell, it could even save a life. Someone may be having one of those days. They may be having one of those lives. And just knowing someone cares could make it all better. It could make a world of a difference. It could help someone stick around to see another tomorrow.

If you live with someone in your household that struggles with mental health issues, whether it be depression, bipolar syndrome, anxiety, panic attacks or anything else for that matter, take a moment and ask them how their day is. Listen to them. Hear them out. Find out what's going on in their minds. Ask them if there is anything they can do to help. Don't pretend everything is ok. Don't insult them. Don't criticize them. Don't call them names. Don't tell them to, "get over it."

It doesn't work that way.

Living with mental health issues is not an easy battle. It is not a fight that can ever be won. Being surrounded by people that don't ask how your day makes you feel like nobody cares. Being in a house where people pretend that everything is ok does not make things any better. It makes you feel like nobody cares. It makes you feel like what you are struggling with doesn't matter. It makes you feel like what you are suffering from isn't important. And when someone walks by you, pretends that everything is okay, goes on with their daily life and has no clue what you are going through? It makes you feel like how you feel, what you deal with, and what you struggle with or suffer through doesn't matter.

I don't talk the talk. I walk the walk. I live in a household where everyone knows that mental illness is a part of my day. Depression, bipolar syndrome, anxiety issues, and even an occasional panic attack. Asking someone how their day is could change a mood. Change a day. Change a life. But I wouldn't know about that.

Because nobody asks.

Don't be that person. Ask someone. Make a difference. Change their life.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Fight And Flight, How I Conquer My Emotional Battles

In times of high threat and peril, science says our innate response usually follows one of two paths: fight or flight.


Like almost any other concept related to humans, the idea of "fight or flight" boils down to either/or, one over the other, choice A or choice B. This seems logical, as science also says we can't actually multitask as humans. We may think we can manage multiple tasks simultaneously, but we're inevitably occupied by one thing at a time. Now, depending on each person, the response to any given situation might vary. Someone might feel courageous enough to stay and "fight," while someone else may deem it wiser to make like a bird and take "flight."

Regardless, this concept revolves around a definitive choice, a choice of just one response, not both.

While I agree with this concept as it is, I've come to think that, in some areas of life, we can manage both. We can fight, but we can also take flight. Although fight or flight generally refers to physical threats/obstacles, I think the fight and flight apply on an emotional/mental front.

This past weekend was quite a whirlwind, blowing my emotions in all kinds of directions, which is really what prompted me to think about my emotional response to the weekend as a whole. As a bit of important background, I'm not a crier by nature. I just don't cry in public/ in front of others. Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with crying in public. It's a perfectly human response. No book, movie, song, or the like has ever moved me to tears. (Well actually, the movie "The Last Song" with Miley Cyrus did cause a stream of tears, but that's literally one out of a decade.)

Enough about that for now, though, I'll make mention of it again later.

I think this past weekend's deluge was an unassuming foreboding of the flood of emotions that came pouring in on Sunday. The day began like any other Mother's Day, we opened gifts with my mother before heading to my aunt's for a family lunch. Only once we arrived, I was informed that my other aunt, who's like a second mom to me, lost her beloved Shih Tzu of 14 years, Coco. We all knew that Coco's time was likely limited, but it still seemed sudden. I was a bit rocked by the news, but ultimately knew she had given life a run for its money. After all, I like to joke that if I come back, it'd ideally be as a house dog.

Needless to say, the suddenness of it all wouldn't really hit me till later that afternoon.

Fast-forwarding to the evening, we decided visiting my other grandmother would be a nice gesture on Mother's Day. Although she was still out and about, my house-ridden grandfather was there, and so we decided it'd be nice to stay and visit with him. A bit more background, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago, so we've unfortunately watched him slowly decline since the diagnosis. As such, this is where things went on a steep downhill slide. We arrived mid-nap, which subsequently meant waking him from his nap to visit. In hindsight, it seemed like a very poor choice, as when he awoke he seemed completely disoriented and largely still asleep.

It was as if his eyes were awake, but most everything else about his body remained asleep.

We stayed only but 12 or 15 minutes, as it didn't prove useful to stick around any longer. Enter the flight of my emotions. I've known my grandfather wouldn't be the same every single time I visited. I've dreaded but prepared for the time when he wouldn't remember us, or wouldn't be able to communicate with us the same. As much as I thought I'd be unphased when it happened, I wasn't. At the time, I tried to shuffle through other thoughts. I tried to jump to the upcoming things for the week and what I needed to take care of next. I wanted my mind to float off till my emotions wouldn't be so strong.

That's where I believe the flight response happens for me. When I'm face to face with an emotion-laden experience, whether it's sadness, frustration, or whatever, I try to shift my thoughts away from what's stirring them up. My mind takes flight. Maybe, that's why I don't cry in public. I don't allow my mind to focus long enough to conjure up a physical response.

My mind never stays in flight for long, though. I wouldn't say I'm scared of the emotions, rather I just need them to calm down or settle before I can pick them apart. I tend to process my feelings internally, but they never go unchecked or un-analyzed. That's why, even though I typically don't show my emotions in public, my throat still tightens up and my eyes still become glassy behind closed doors.

Nevertheless, this is where the fight response shows up. Except, I wouldn't say this is so much a fight, even if the situation can be a sort of emotional battle. It's more of a coming-to-terms. I know that I can't outrun my feelings, and I don't ever intend to. At some point, I let them catch up to me, and then the sorting process can begin. It's usually not that tumultuous like a real fight would be, but it doesn't mean that the emotions don't present a challenge at times.


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