In the middle of some of the hectic days I've had with my child and his attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), I've often wondered: what causes mental illness in children, and what does that mean for me as a mother?
One frequent trap I fall into when I become too complacent in eating disorder recovery is an urge to romanticize the past. I reflect on all those years I was consumed by anorexia with a kind of nostalgia that whispers, "Remember how in control you felt back then? Remember the rush of satisfaction that came each time you skipped a meal? Remember how proud you were to have a small, narrow body? Don't you want to feel like this again?"
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
Living with mental illness or mental health challenges can be frustrating. It can complicate the stuff of life, such as making and keeping friendships. In the post Friendships and Mental Illness: Start by Befriending You, we explored some obstacles mental illness throws in the way of friendships as well as a vital first step in friendships: becoming a friend to yourself. Now we'll turn to some practical tips for making friends when you are dealing with mental health difficulties.
Have you ever pretended to be someone else at work? I don't mean faking confidence or competence, I mean faking your personality. For example, you like to spend your breaks listening to music by yourself but everybody else in your workplace likes to hang out and chat. Even though you don't like it at all, you join them day after day merely to fit in. It may seem harmless but behavior like this can cause as well as worsen depression. Let me explain with a real-life story.
I know it might sound crazy, but sometimes I miss being sick. I've gotten so much better over the past few months, and there is a small part of me that misses being sick, and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who's ever felt this way. So let's talk about it.
If you build confidence, you can reduce your anxiety. This is because anxiety is often characterized by feelings of fear and worry. When you experience chronic anxiety, these feelings of fear and worry may persist, and it can be challenging to overcome. Chronic anxiety can continuously affect the person experiencing it, and the individual may find that they periodically experience panic attacks and other physical symptoms of anxiety.
Trust is important in any relationship, but it is especially critical in your relationship with your therapist, and it can be hard to recover from a bad therapy experience when that trust is broken. Therapy requires allowing someone we barely know to access our deepest fears and insecurities and trusting that they will treat this information with respect and sensitivity. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and receive empathy and understanding from our therapists, therapy can be healing and fulfilling. When we feel unseen, invalidated, or misunderstood after sharing deep parts of ourselves, it can open emotional wounds and make us feel even worse. A bad therapy experience might even turn us off to the whole idea of therapy, but if we never try again, we might miss out on a transformative relationship that allows us to achieve our goals and live happier lives.
Supporting someone in denial about their mental health can be a very delicate situation. A friend of mine is living this reality at present -- her partner is exhibiting clear symptoms of mental illness but is not able to have a conversation about it just yet. Supporting my friend has reminded me of when my brother was also in denial about his mental health before he received a diagnosis. Here are some of the things I learned through that experience.
Today is the seventh anniversary of the day that I was raped. In the early years after the assault, I used to feel retraumatized and upset on this day. However, time, healing, and therapy have helped me change the meaning of my rape anniversary and view it differently.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc. (LGBTQIA+) community faces mental health challenges specific to their gender and sexuality. Transgender and non-binary individuals (TGNB) experience mental health challenges such as increased acts of rejection or violence and microaggressions by mental health providers and the general public.