Never Call Someone With Anxiety 'Crazy'

Never Call Someone With Anxiety 'Crazy'

It’s like making someone with a disability feel incapable.
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Well, 3:30 a.m., we meet again.

And no, I’m not drunkenly at McDonald's with friends celebrating the weekend, I haven’t done that since college...or, uh, ever. I’m also not the spouse in a horror movie obsessively placing wood on the fire in our newly purchased haunted home.

Nope, tonight I’m in bed, and though I brushed my teeth, shut off the light and put my phone down hours ago, I’m still very much awake.

Here’s a little bit about me:

I don’t drink coffee past 4 p.m., I try to take melatonin at around 10 p.m. every night, and I practice yoga breathing because on the nights when it’s an option, I want some control over the sleep I get, but sometimes my brain has other plans.

My brain thinks 3:30 a.m. is an excellent time to go over things that I can’t at that moment, or in general, control. Like how I should be taking better care of myself, whether I’m progressing in the way that I want to in my career and how I should be reaching out to long-distance friends and family more often.

Well, those are the more reasonable concerns that cycle through my brain anyway.

But sometimes, despite my best efforts, my thoughts circle back to times in my life that aren’t entirely productive to relive. Like remembering that one time that that person that means a lot to me inferred that I’m crazy.

Listen, mental illness is no friggin’ picnic. I’ve been around it in one form or another my whole life, and it’s often trying on those who aren’t directly suffering. But you know what’s worse? What the ones who are directly suffering are going through.

It can be consuming, debilitating, isolating and make you feel like you’re inches below the surface, frantically swimming in place with a cinder block tied to your feet.

I can’t speak for everyone, only myself, but I can say with some certainty that even indirectly referring to people with mental illness as crazy is hurtful beyond measure. It’s offensive.

It’s like making someone with a disability feel incapable.

Mental illness is a hot topic right now because of all the mass shootings that have happened, but let’s get something straight.

Google defines crazy as, “mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way”.

Though not the sole definition of the word, it is a definition commonly understood in society.

There are varying degrees of mental illness and a majority of people living with it can not and should not be considered mentally deranged or aggressive.

Here are some statistics according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

In the United States, One in five, or 18.5 percent, of adults suffer from mental illness.

One in 25, or four percent, of adults, experience extreme mental illness that, “substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities."

And 18.1 percent of adults suffer from an anxiety disorder.

That’s 40 million people that suffer or have suffered from anxiety.

The point is, mental illness is fairly common. Anxiety disorders are fairly common, just ask John Mayer or Howie Mandel, and though there’s much debate as to whether the occurrence of mental illness is actually increasing, it’s most likely not going to go away either.

Granted, you shouldn’t call anyone or make anyone feel as though they are crazy, and especially not someone who suffers from a mental illness. Perhaps this snapshot will help float some further needed perspective into cyberspace.

Cover Image Credit: a-lish147 / Flickr

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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The First Summer Back

What it feels like to come home is a feeling unlike any other

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It's strange. There are no two ways about it. You're caught in this odd limbo between "Oh my gosh, it's so good to be home," and "Wow, I can't wait to go back". School is filled with stress, occasional drama, and weirdos. But it also has new and magical people, classes you can actually enjoy, and activities you're passionate about. Home has chores, family and friend balancing, and summer jobs. But it also has familiarity, longtime friends, and family bonding.

I have a hard time remembering to communicate where I'm going to be and remembering to do simple things, like rinsing dishes off. I think my mom is about as ready for me to go back to school as I am.

Things changed. After being gone for a year, things around my house changed, building and roads have been built or torn down, and people's lives have gone on. You don't realize how egocentric you are until you realize how surprised you are when life goes on without you.

You tell yourself you're going to live it up this summer in a way you haven't before. Go exploring and see and experience new things. I went to two new states and Europe, watched my favorite musical live for the first time, saw a historical spot, and so much more, but there were also times when I wanted nothing more than to just lay around in the comfort and familiarity of my own bed.

Honestly, this article won't do much good to anyone now because the summer is coming to an end, but maybe someone will stumble upon it next year and realize that it isn't odd to feel out of place. I don't quite feel in place at home, but I'm also not giddily awaiting returning to school. It's an awkward in-between, but, having talked to my friends, I've realized that it's totally normal. Don't feel like you're the odd one out or that there's something wrong with you.

It's simply you figuring out how to be you.

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