talk to somebody with mental illness

We Need To Talk About Mental Illness, So Today, I'm Speaking Up

Take it from someone who knows.

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To start, mental illness is a real thing. It gets so easily overlooked and unless a person has it themselves or is close to someone who does, they probably don't care. And there's a ridiculous stigma that it can't be spoken of because they assume no one needs or wants to hear it.

The problem with not talking about it is that the people struggling with mental illness are made to suppress their feelings and bottle everything up inside. In turn, no one else is forced to try to understand how much it varies and all the different ways to handle it.

The thing is that no two cases of mental illnesses are the same and should be treated as so. Everyone has different needs. Some need people around to feel better while others like to be alone, there are different coping mechanisms, and the list goes on. It's important to not be ashamed of where you've been in your mental health in order to get past it.

Every person dealing with a mental illness is different, but we're all in it together.

One commonality is that we all have our own version of rock bottom. I have mine, so I'll begin with that.

It's a story few people know. Only the people there to witness it know it ever happened at all. It's something I think about all the time but never mention. I said I was ready to talk about mental illness and I am. I'm not ashamed to speak of it because I know talking about it and remembering it is what keeps it my lowest point and prevents me from going backward. It's my chance to move forward.

I was 15 and high school was the roughest it had ever been. Death in the family, various pressures and the constant feeling of being more alone than ever were all too much to handle. Nothing made sense because I was happy and I took everything with a grain of salt before. Thankfully, it was all the worst it would ever get, and I learned that I could handle it, I just didn't know it would get better. I didn't think it would because I was depressed. A few weeks before I hit my lowest point, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and it all lined up.

I was sent to a therapist to talk about my problems, but for the first time ever, I couldn't speak. The happy, talkative, outgoing, personally-aware girl I was didn't want to sit down and explain what was wrong. I didn't think at that moment that anything was wrong, but I should have. I was just tired and stressed all the time. I thought it was normal to not be okay. Then I had a constant reminder that it wasn't normal, and I needed to be fixed.

That voice in my head got to be too loud and my lowest point was fast approaching. I grabbed a bottle of pills and didn't think twice about what would happen next. There wasn't a phone number I would have been willing to call to change my mind; I decided at that moment to just be done. It took for my mom to rip the bottle out of my hands for me to pause and I calmed down. Whether it was one thing or everything at once that triggered it is something I don't know. It all happened so fast and it's a blur. Nothing about the decision I was making made sense at that moment. It still doesn't almost four years later.

The biggest blessing is that I'm still here, if for no other reason than to share my story and to empathize with others on a different level than many can. I also get to constantly learn from it; about myself and the value of life. Having a mental illness, and specifically dealing with one, requires one to know a lot more about the self than anything else. What I knew immediately was that I refused to accept that my mental illness would define who I was, who I would become and what I would do.

I knew I didn't want to be medicated because I considered that "artificial happiness." It works for a lot of people and that's great, but it scared me. I knew there were things that still could make me happy. It didn't matter how hard I would have to work to get it, I just would.

The next step was just to figure out what it would take to pick myself up and to keep my rock bottom at the bottom. I had to learn how to cope safely through music, meditation, exercise and a balance of all my guilty pleasures. I had to figure out how to put in the extra effort to be as happy as I could. I had to learn that emotions are beautiful but they fluctuate and that's okay as long as I am able to channel them in a healthy way. I have to be able to see the signs that I'm getting down. I know I like to be around people so the moments I prefer being alone, I know something's off and I talk to someone. I'm still figuring it all out one step at a time because that's all I can do.

I also learn about others because of what I went through. I know to check on my loved ones, regardless of how fine they seem because I remember being the one who hid her feelings. I know not to judge how someone copes because we're all just trying to deal. I try to be good company because I know how valuable it was to have it. I know what it takes to keep up good mental health, so I don't knock anyone for being worn out.

It's quite a process of growing and evolving over time. It's a matter of not judging what we don't understand and helping and showing support when we do. It's not a phase and it's not a trend. Mental illnesses are real things and rock bottom is a real place. I could give a tour of it with my eyes closed. I will argue its existence for my entire life because no one should feel bad or inauthentic about their reality.

It's easy to pass judgments on what we don't understand. However, when there are misunderstandings, there's room for questions to be asked. Compassion and support go a long way, much further than confusion and generalizations.

Regardless of doubt and assumptions, mental health is important.

It is said that there are more cases of mental illness than there ever were before, but instead of denying its presence, the concern should be about fixing it. The pressures for perfection and success have been far more apparent nowadays, so balance should be more encouraged.

No one should have to feel alone. Talking should feel a lot easier than hiding behind the pain.

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These Are 4 Proven Ways That Vaccines Cause Autism

Stock up on those essential oils.

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Let's just start with the first (and main) point.

1. They don't.

Susan in your anti-vax group is not a scholarly source (despite her hours and hours of Google research).

2. But in case you still believe Susan...

Maybe you'll believe Autism Speaks who says, "Scientists have conducted extensive research over the last two decades to determine whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research is clear: Vaccines do not cause autism."

3. And if Autism Speaks still didn't convince you...

Feel free to take a look at this comprehensive list of studies that all say that there is no relationship between vaccines such as the MMR vaccination and the development of autism.

4. But here's what you should know...

There have been a few studies lately that have shown that autism develops in utero aka before a baby is even born AND before a baby can even receive vaccinations.

Vaccinations have prevented COUNTLESS deaths and illnesses. Vaccination rates are continuing to fall and do you know what that means? Measles will make its way back. Whooping cough will come back. Rubella, mumps, and polio will come back and there will be no way to stop it.

So, now that you know that vaccines do not cause autism, you're welcome to go tell Susan from your anti-vax group that as well as tell her that the Earth isn't flat. But, don't forget to mention it to her that her essential oils and organic foods are not keeping her children safe from the measles or tuberculosis.

Vaccinate your children. And, besides, even IF vaccinations caused autism, wouldn't you rather have a child with a developmental disorder rather than a child who died from the measles?

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13 Songs That Help Me Through My Panic Attacks

It's easy to become paralyzed by panic attacks, but I've found music to be the best tool to help me cope.

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Anyone who struggles with panic attacks knows just how draining and overwhelming they are. It's easy to become paralyzed by them, and once I noticed this, I made a playlist of songs that calm me down. I find that music keeps me grounded, no matter how bad the panic attack may be. Maybe the songs I have listed aren't for you. but I hope that in sharing my main songs that help me, it can spark your brain into finding songs that fit your needs during panic attacks.

In case you don't know some of the songs I have listed, I put a link to each song from YouTube. I hope you enjoy my interesting variety of music!

1. "Weightless" by Marconi Union

Go here to listen.

This song is my go-to song for panic attacks, especially if it's a bad one. For me personally, my heart rate spikes during panic attacks (I'll go from a resting heart rate of around 70bpm to anywhere between 180-200bpm). Evidence suggests this song can slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety and let me tell you... it works 100% for me and I highly recommend it.

2. "Somebody to Love" by Queen

Go here to listen.

I've just always loved this song. There's something about Freddie Mercury's voice that just calms me down and makes me feel like I'm not alone at that moment.

3. "Let it Be" by The Beatles

Go here to listen.

I grew up listening to The Beatles since my mom is from Liverpool, and "Let it Be" is a song that I always associate peace and good memories with. Also, I love the lyric, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary calls to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be." It reminds me that there are things about me and this world that I simply cannot change, but I can find peace by letting it be.

4. "Lost in a Sea of Pillows and Blankets" by .anxious.

Go here to listen.

Go here for the full album.

I find this song, and really the whole album, to be extremely soothing. It literally feels like the comfort of pillows and blankets but in the form of music.

5. "1-800-273-8255" by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Go here to listen.

I love this song for many reasons during a panic attack. One, it reminds me that there are other people that have felt or are feeling what I am currently. Two, it reminds me that I have a purpose on this earth, and I am not a waste of space. Three, I just love the awareness it brings to mental illnesses.

6. "Up and Up" cover by Lennon & Maisy (originally by Coldplay)

Go here to listen to the cover.

Go here to listen to the original.

"We're gonna get it, get it together somehow." This main lyric reminds me that I can conquer this moment, and the only direction from this moment is up. Also, Lennon and Maisy's voices are mesmerizing. The Coldplay original is amazing too, I put both for you to check out!

7. "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes

Go here to listen.

I remember the first time I listened to this; I was actually on the brink of a panic attack. I heard the first lyric, "Help me, it feels like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't. It isn't in my blood." Every lyric in here, which was beautifully written by the way, describes how it feels having a panic attack and having anxiety in general. It reminds me that no matter what, I can make my way out of it. I can win the fight.

8. "Free Spirit" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Khalid's new album "Free Spirit" came out on April 5, 2019, and I am actually obsessed with it. I find myself immediately playing this album when I open my Spotify. When it comes to the song "Free Spirit," the music is enchanting to me; something about it just immediately calms me down. Not to mention that Khalid's voice is absolutely beautiful. Also, I just love the concept of being a free spirit. Not being tied down by mental illnesses or fear, and having this sort of euphoric peace.

9. "Intro" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Once again, absolutely mesmerizing. I honestly feel like I'm taken to another world with this song. Something about the music just makes my brain feel so happy, peaceful, and calm. As for the lyrics, they remind me that I need to find my worth and put me first. Sometimes, I put so much of my emotional energy into other people that I have none left for me. I need to keep some of it for me though, because I know that I have worth, but I can never see it, so I need this emotional energy to be able to put myself first and love myself.

10. "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part, Angele Dubeau, La Pieta

Go here to listen.

Not gonna lie, I'm a sucker for classical music. There's something about this song in particular that I feel like really captures the feelings of depression and detachment that I experience during a panic attack. It's just another reminder that I'm not alone in this.

11. "Raindrop Prelude: Op. 28 No. 15" by Frederic Chopin

Go here to listen.

Sorry, another classical piece... I just really love it. I feel like it shows the feelings before, during, and after a panic attack. Once again, it's a reminder that I'm not alone.

12. "Cello Suite No.1 in G-Major, Prelude" cover by Yo-Yo Ma (originally by Bach)

Go here to listen.

Last one, I swear! There's just something about this piece that makes me feel so calm and at peace... I don't know how to describe it. It's beautiful, and it makes me feel like there's hope of conquering my panic attack.

13. "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle

Go here to listen.

First, Lauren Daigle is simply amazing. This song in particular, though, reminds me that Jesus is always by my side, and he will never give up on me. He sees me in my trials, and he's fighting this fight with me. It gives me a lot of hope that someday I might not have to deal with these struggles.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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