Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 runs from the 16th of May, all the way to the 22nd. As someone who is concerned, I decided to take a stand and give my voice. I hope to help not only those who suffer, but also those who have loved-ones that suffer from mental disorders.
Having the disorder itself and even just seeing someone experiencing it, is heavy to the heart.
In a suffering patient’s part, having a disorder is terribly disturbing and it keeps one from functioning normally. Your mind would constantly just bug you and push you to a negative light.
If you personally don’t suffer, you still have the role of the ‘nurse’, someone who is capable of giving aid and is watching near by. These are the ones who don’t have the illness, but face people who do, and these also play a role in the recovery process. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re related, because your actions can still take an effect on the patient.
Most of us are either of the two, sometimes even both in one go.
I happen to be juggling between being the patient and nurse. I suffer and I help. I have been suffering from depression since 2013. I still am, but I believe I’ve improved. I’ve been sent out of class to be brought to counselors and doctors, I’ve been told to take pills, and at some point, I found myself going to therapy in hopes of helping myself. It doesn’t work quick, but each try is worth it. I was very much of a patient until I tried to change my mindset. Every help that I got, I took note of it so I could use it to help not only myself, but others as well. Right now, I have 4 close friends who suffer from mental disorders. No, not all 4 have depression. Yes, mental disorder is more than just depression. Now some may say, “That’s crazy, how are you not insane yet when you have to deal with them?”, trust me I’ve gotten a comment like this twice. The thing is, I don’t find them bothersome. Nobody should be seen as bothersome in the first place. If anything, I live to help my friends cope and live on. It might sound ironic that someone who is suffering is helping people who are also mentally ill, but it happens. It isn’t easy, but every try is worth it.
Down below, I listed some points to remember for both people who suffer and for those who know and face people who suffer. For those who suffer themselves, I hope this can help you see and deal with things easier. As for those who don’t suffer but live with people who do, I hope you take time to fully understand the tips below because your words can affect a patient’s mind big time.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE MENTAL ILLNESSES
1. It’s okay to cry.
It’s okay to cry even over small things. You are allowed to cry. Crying does not make you weak. Crying can take a heavy load off your shoulders, thus making standing back up quite easier. Crying proves that you’re strong too since you’re courageous enough to show that you are a real human with real feelings. If things get too heavy that you want to cry, cry it out. It helps.
2. As hard as it may be, do not turn to harming yourself.
The ‘satisfaction’ that it gives is temporary. It lasts so short that you’ll only end up running to it several times to the point that you’re totally ruining yourself. Ruining one’s self might be some people’s main goal, but please don’t push through any further. It ruins not only you, but also those who care about you.
It helps to find something that can distract you or something that gives a more long-term satisfaction. It’s not that quick and easy to do, but you’ll discover it. My distraction happened to be cats and blogging. Eversince I binge-watched on cat videos and later got myself a cat, I ended up trying to keep him happy rather than spending all my time cutting myself. As for blogging, it took my time from blades as well. Also, nobody would want to see makeup swatches on a bloody, scabbed arm, right?
3. A dark cloud may be covering your sunshine of a being now, but hang on a little longer, you’ll shine once again.
You are stronger than you think. You are better than how you feel now. Give yourself some time. When you can, find what could give you some healing as much as you can. You’ll be back to your shining self eventually. Again, it might not be easy, but you’ll get there 🙂
4. It’s okay to ask for help.
Not only would this take a load off your shoulders, not only would it show who’s really willing to be there for you, but it could also strengthen your relationship with someone who is actually going to help. Good relationships will make living easier and happier 🙂 It might be hard to attain, but I assure you it is possible as somebody cares for you and someone is willing to help 🙂
5. You will make it.
When the dark days are over, your supporters and I will still be here, happy and proud of you. And so will you.
FOR THOSE WHO DON’T SUFFER BUT KNOW PEOPLE WHO DO
Here are some of the stuff that you should not be saying to someone who isn’t mentally stable. It might sound fine to you, but it could shatter someone else in a snap.
1. “Other people have it worse.”
People with mental disorders are aware that others have problems, but remember that the feelings of people with mental disorders are valid too. They’re allowed to feel as they do. It is not only the most miserable who are allowed experience and express sadness. What is simple to you, may be problematic, big and stressful to them. Pain is pain, no matter how “big” or “small”.
2. “Get your lazy ass up.”
First, having a mental disorder is like having a huge rock right at your gut. It is heavy and it keeps you from getting up but at the same time, you feel like you can put it aside somehow. People with mental disorders try to get up, but it’s just difficult sometimes because they lose the drive to. There are times where they have all the means to strive up, but sometimes the mind just screws things all over out of the blue. Rather than telling someone to just get up, be with them. You don’t even have to talk, sometimes just someone’s presence is enough.
3. “Stop with the whining.”
If you’re allowed to complain about everyday things, if you’re allowed to complain about someone whining, then allow a person with mental disorder to let out his/her feelings. Do not keep someone from expressing what he/she really feels. Making them feel bad about expressing themselves will only make them think that their feelings are not acceptable, and that in turn will only make things worse.
4. “You have so many things to be grateful for, why be depressed?”
Ah this all time classic question. Look. One may have a family. One may be blessed to have a home, have food and have more stuff than someone necessarily would. But how about the thoughts in the brain? Those exist in life too. And they’re bothering their victim most of the time. The thoughts of screwing up, the thoughts of trauma, the thoughts of certain happenings all around. Those might not be visible, but they are alive and kicking in the brain.
5. “Lighten up!”
Tried. Really did. Easier said than done. Imagine me telling you that as you try to glue your mum’s favourite display item back up after you broke it. It’s not a nice feeling inside, and it’s not easy to lighten up. As much as you want someone to cheer up, it just isn’t that easy.
If you don’t know how to sound encouraging, just be there. Lend your shoulder. Give a hug. Ask what you can do to help. Offer a snack. Small gestures like such already mean so much. If you can’t or don’t understand how a person with a mental disorder feels, just offer your compassion. Overall, just be nice to everyone around you because you don’t know what their mind is making them go through. I’m hoping the best for everyone, for all those who are suffering, and for all those who are watching someone experience one of life’s toughest enemies.
Should you need/want help, my Email is very much open. I know we aren’t the closest of friends, but this is mental health that we are talking about. If you are comfortable enough with coming forward, I am open and available to gladly give you all the company that you need.