A Response To 'Stop Whoring Out Your Undiagnosed Mental Illness'

A Response To 'Stop Whoring Out Your Undiagnosed Mental Illness'

How about YOU stop being the reason people are afraid to talk about their struggles?

Miss Hannah,

I just recently read your article, 'Stop Whoring Out Your Undiagnosed Mental Illness' and I found myself feeling, frustrated.

First off,

How do you know the people saying these things haven't seen a doctor and gotten a "proper diagnosis"?

If people choose to use their Facebook as their outlet to talk about a particularly anxiety filled day they've had, then let them. You claim they've made lives harder, but really, you're the one making lives harder. You are the reason there is such a stigma attached to mental illness. No one is wearing it as a badge of honor. Maybe they're just finally at a point where they can openly talk about the battle they're fighting within... every.. single.. day..

If it bothers you so much, don't read it!

You're making lives harder by claiming people are "whoring out their mental illness".

Your condescending article hit viral status. The more times your article is shared, those truly suffering mentally will continue to struggle to share their story. For fear of people like you.

For fear that people will judge them for how they're feeling. Facebook is really an online diary. You can write whatever your heart desires on your page. And guess what, when you're reading someone else's public diary, you're choosing to do so. You don't have to read these posts you claim people are turning mental illness into a, "basic b*tch hashtag".

Who are you to judge the people using their social media or writing as their coping strategy? Or those who write articles on their own experiences and battles they're fighting mentally. I personally wrote my first ever blog post about battling post part-um depression and anxiety. Yes, it was diagnosed. Since that seems to be your only requirement for validating a mental illness.

I wrote the article because it was something I am currently struggling with, and I had finally gotten to the point where I was comfortable talking about it. It's not easy to talk about depression, anxiety or any mental illness for that matter. But I finally reached a point where I was comfortable talking about it. I wanted to do my part and put the some of my story out there for other mom's who may be struggling with the same thing.

Sometimes people just like to know that they're not alone.

Maybe they need a,

"Hey, I've been through what you're going through and I'm here if you ever need an ear to listen!"

Not a,

"Stop whoring out your un-diagnosed mental illness"

Look, it's not easy to talk about feelings in general on social media, because of people like you. People who seek to shut down others to make themselves feel better. So what if someone talks about suffering from anxiety? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to diagnose anxiety.

And good for you if you have the worlds greatest doctors.

For some people? It isn't that easy. It takes multiple different doctors before you find one willing to listen and truly understand you.

Same thing goes with counselors.

The more doctors and counselors you have to go through before you find the right one, the more isolated you begin to feel. You begin to wonder if you're ever going to reach that light at the end of the tunnel.

You begin to wonder if you will be happy again.

Next time you start writing something, stop and think, "am I being the basic b*tch I'm accusing others of being right now?" You were in this article.

You're being that judgemental, basic b*tch mean girl, Regina George wanna-be and telling people they have no right to feel what they feel.

That they're making lives worse for feeling comfortable writing about their struggles. That they're making lives worse for being in-tune enough and comfortable enough with their emotions to talk about it.

It's not them that's the problem, Hannah.

It's you.

So please, stop bullying people. Stop judging. Stop acting like you decide who is, "mentally ill" and who's not.

Lift others up.

Don't be the reason they're too afraid to be honest about their feelings and their struggles.

Cover Image Credit: The Daily Mind

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I Was The Queen Of Rejection Until I Realized This

And since we're all prone to rejection sometimes, maybe you can learn a thing or two.

At some point, we all face rejection in various parts of our lives-- romance, friends, career, schools, etc. Sometimes it feels like we live under a never-ending looming threat of everything going wrong. Oftentimes, it feels like we just can’t catch a break.

By the end of my senior year of high school, I was rundown with what felt like the weight of the world in pure rejection. While I was used to much of this disappointment, it had truly begun to feel like there was no remedy. I had lost countless school and extra-curricular elections throughout my middle and high school years.

In one club alone I had lost elections eighteen separate times in a four year period. I lost the election to the highest possible position as well. I found myself so bent out of shape that it often became hard to keep pushing on.

Not to mention, my entire world felt as if it had collapsed when I received my rejection from New York University, my dream school. I try not to talk about it much because it had truly brought my life crashing down around me. Everything I had built for myself seemed so pointless and incomplete.

It seemed to me that I had some sort of tragic curse on me to fail at absolutely everything I did-- and I did a lot! I was the model “involved student”. I spent half of high school playing a sport. I had a job. I was in fourteen extracurriculars and was often times an officer in the club. In fact, I was a Girl Scout National Delegate. I even was heavily involved in my school’s choir, despite not being a great singer. Plus, I wrote (and still write) for a music website. Somehow, I even managed to have a social life and graduate with distinguished honors. However, nothing I did ever seemed quite good enough. I was good… I was great even!

But there was still that keyword-- “enough."

By graduation day, I didn’t particularly feel like I was “glowing”. Many of the pictures that you can find of me from that day are forced smiles and heavily concealed bags under my eyes. All the years of not being able to do anything right really weighed down on me. The problem seemed to extend into my transition of college, where I immediately sought to be involved in just as many activities. I applied to conferences, volunteer opportunities, officer positions, jobs, and so on, but rejection after rejection poured in. It didn’t help that I moved to the most competitive city in the world. One that was known for chewing people up and spitting them up, covered in disappointment.

It wasn’t until I saw my resume that I noticed what would change my entire outlook on life.

Of course, I had seen my resume before, but it could never have been clearer than the beginning of this past semester. I had just gotten over moping in my own self-pity. My friend had tried to comfort me and said something very important. She explained to me that she was jealous of everything I had done. Suddenly, there seemed to be a never-ending list of my accomplishments pouring out of her-- many things of which I hadn’t even considered to be achievements at the time.

Later, I looked at my resume… and this time I truly looked. Suddenly, I saw, as you can imagine from my heavy involvement, a fully packed depiction of who I was.

My greatest insecurity thus became my biggest strength.

What they don’t tell you is that with rejection comes one thing, if you choose to use it, and that is perseverance. When I had been thrown from a horse when I was in middle school, I climbed right back up on it.

I would lose an election and still be on the ballot for the next. I was rejected from my dream school, but snag a ridiculous scholarship offer from the place that I am currently head over heels happy at. I may not have gotten the internship at the news agency I wanted, but a few months ago I was on the guest list for one of my favorite bands and even interviewed them. The list drones on. I keep pushing on even when I feel like everything’s against me.

Before now, I had never realized just how true this was. Of course I was getting rejected left and right, it was just statistics working against me. I give my all to everything I am in, so while it may seem like I’m taking more L’s than everyone else, I’m really just living more than everyone else. I put myself out there for better or worse.

As soon as I realized this, I started seeing rejection dissipate in my life. I can’t say for sure if I’m getting rejected less, but I can say that it doesn’t matter as much. Each punch isn’t as hard as the last. Most importantly, though, I’m recognizing the wins in my life more than the failures. Last week, I was elected as the Alpha Lambda Delta First Year Honors Society President. I was selected to attend a housing conference. Things around me are working out.

I may fail, but that does not mean I am a failure. I may face rejection more often than I accepted, but either way I will persevere.

And that, my friends, is why even though I may not be victorious in everything I do, I will succeed in everything I do because at least I have been driven to try when many others can not.

Cover Image Credit: via Alex West

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I Have the Ability to Change the Things I Can and Accept the Things I Can't

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as told by a college student.

“The deepest pain I ever felt was denying my own feelings to make everyone else comfortable,” (Nicole Lyons).

Recently, in my Abnormal Psychology course at Winona State University, we started talking about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy focuses on the idea that: “I can change what I can, and I can accept what I can’t change.” I think that as a population, this is a really important perspective to consider. In college, just as in many other life circumstances, we're expected to be happy, healthy people, with small inconveniences or no problems to be had. When asking how someone is, the expected response is "I'm good", as opposed to the truth; seriously, try it, it really throws people for a loop when they offhandedly ask you how you are, and you respond, "well my car broke down, I just got broken up with, and my cat died." Most of the time, people don't know how to respond to any comment other than good or alright. We're comfortable with the good or the alright, we grow uncomfortable with any deviance from those. In reality, it's not a sustainable way of living to continue to not acknowledge that there are things that are bad or potentially make us unhappy.

I’m not saying that we should dwell in bad thoughts or feelings, or that we should constantly fixate on these hardships, but I think it’s important for us to acknowledge them and attempt to work through them. I’m going to exemplify this by sharing some of my recent experiences. While I have a lot of positive things going on in my life: I was lucky enough to be selected to attend a leadership women’s event, I’m working on completing my majors in fields I love, I’ve got an amazing community of friends and family who are constantly helping me and pushing me to complete my dreams; I think it’s critical (in a mental and emotional sense) that I acknowledge that there are also negative things that have happened: I lost a loved one, someone incredibly important to me dropped out of my life without even a hint of goodbye, and I had a potential friend treat me very badly. As a college student experiencing these situations, due to social “expectations”, I normally avoid talking about these negative experiences due to reasons like: not wanting to bring down my friends, making people uncomfortable, coming off as a sad person, etc. This is not healthy behavior.

Now, I’m not saying that I should completely focus on these circumstances, but I think that the general response to talking about things similar to these is to simply move on, life is good, it could be worse. As the quote at the beginning of my article states, the common reaction to personal issues is to simply ignore these feelings in order to maintain the status quo of constant happiness or general positivity. This is not a healthy behavior.

One example of this is a type of therapy that I referenced previously in this article. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: changing the things we can, accepting the things we cannot. Let me apply this to one of my personal situations. I am going to choose the experience I recently had when someone I really cared about opted to remove me from their life, without giving me a warning or explanation as to why. First, I’ll start with a thought pattern that we would want to change, according to this line of therapy. Now, let’s say that this person “ghosted” me not only once, but twice (true story). Potentially, this could result in me believing that everyone important to me will leave me and I am incapable of holding a relationship (not a true story). If I started having thoughts like that, those would be thoughts that I can and should change; there are a variety of reasons that this situation could have happened that have nothing to do with me, I have plenty of people in my life who have consistently been in my life, and I am capable of holding a relationship. On the other hand, this situation could result in a thought pattern that we would want to accept. Naturally, following this situation, I felt sad and slightly rejected. Those are completely normal and natural feelings after an experience like that, and because these are normal feelings, we don’t necessarily want to get rid of them. Instead, it’s important for me to acknowledge these feelings and work through them. There are many healthy behaviors that we can participate in to help to work through difficult or negative situations.

From here, I think it’s important to talk about various healthy habits or self-care practices in order to work through negative thoughts and feelings. Here are some things that work for me.

  • Yoga. I freaking love yoga. By incorporating yoga into my daily routine, it gives me time to reflect on where I’m at mentally while simultaneously working on where I’m at physically.
  • Reading. I find reading to be a wonderful escape from negative situations. Reading gives me time to focus on something other than my life and what might be currently occurring, which helps me to put situations back into perspective.
  • Maintaining normal routine. I think that when people are sad, it’s fairly easy to take a break from normal routines, which can be going to work, attending classes, etc. Sometimes, a break is perfectly and healthy after an upsetting experience. Some things warrant taking some time off to recover. On the other hand, however, this can also be problematic. Eventually, it’s important to get back to a more “normal” routine, in order to feel like yourself again. Attending classes and work can help to put meaning back into our lives when things get hard.
  • Reaching out to friends and family. Sometimes, it’s really, really hard to reach out to those most important to you to tell them you’re having a hard time. I’m not sure if it’s because we want to protect others or ourselves or some other reason, but it can be hard regardless. It’s really important to reach out to friends and family, as these are the people who know us the best and can help us the most. Often, friends and family will do everything in their power to help you regain your sense of self.
  • Try therapy. There are some situations where, try as we might, we just can’t “fix” it on our own, and that’s perfectly okay. After experiencing any type of negative or upsetting event or situation, it can be massively beneficial to begin some type of therapy. Therapists are people who are literally trained in helping people feel better.
  • Take time to relax and unplug. In our generation, it’s very easy to feel like you have to constantly be on your phone in order to keep up with our everyday lives. When trying to feel better, however, it can be really important to turn phones, computers, and other electronics off. Often, these devices hold anxiety-inducing or sadness-provoking information when we’re feeling down. There are constant notifications from work, constant reminders that other people are feeling better or happier than we might be. By taking a break from these devices, we can let go of some of those imposed feelings.
  • Organize or re-organize your schedule, spaces, life. Sometimes, when I’m sad, I let my room become messier. Not only does this bother me visually, but it’s a visual reminder that I’m not as happy as I normally am. If I take the time to clean or organize my room and my schedule, then I normally start feeling a little better as well, it helps me to regain control.

These are seven practices that work for me. They may not work for everyone, but there are so many more available to people. It’s important to find your habits and practices that work for you specifically, so that when you start feeling sad or bad, you’re able to deal with that, rather than hide it and ignore it.

“Acceptance does not mean you agree with, condone, appreciate, or even like what has happened. Acceptance means that you know, regardless of what happened, that there is something bigger than you at work. It also means you know that you are okay and that you will continue to be okay,” (Iyanla Vanzant).

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