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Living With Mental Illness

Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
Dealing with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be difficult at any age, and it brings unique and especially irritating challenges when you're a young adult. Whether you're newly diagnosed or have been dealing with it since childhood if you're suddenly feeling frustrated by ADHD symptoms and the way they're interfering in how you want to live your life, know that it's natural to feel this way and that you don't have to be forever ruled by ADHD. Here's a look at how ADHD specifically affects young adults and some tips that are different than what you might have seen before.
Annabelle Clawson
A couple of weeks ago, my therapist suggested a change in my medication. I'm currently on my fifth antidepressant in two years. No matter how much a medication seems to work to treat my depression and anxiety symptoms, it seems that there always comes a time when I need to try something else. And at this point, I almost want to give up on antidepressants.
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 last post, 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.
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
If you have difficulties with friendships and mental illness, you're not alone. Friendships are trickier than TV or movies make them seem. Also, living with mental health challenges--whether it's a diagnosed mental illness, personality disorder, or anxious thoughts and low mood that aren't diagnosable but still bothersome--adds a layer of difficulty to things that other people take for granted. You don't have to be forever frustrated by friendships or the lack of them. By starting with yourself and gradually moving outward with purpose, you can have quality, meaningful friendships no matter what mental health challenges you may face.
Annabelle Clawson
It's tricky to determine when to get help for depression. You, like me, might think: "Am I even depressed, or am I just lazy?" or "Why am I making such a big deal out of this?" I tried to convince myself that I didn't need professional help, that I could figure it out on my own. But getting help for depression was one of the bravest and best choices I've ever made.
Annabelle Clawson
I'm not great at mental illness recovery. How do I know I'm getting better? A lot of the time, I can't even see progress. I think I'm improving, and then my mental health takes a dive. It feels like this will never end. And maybe it won't. I will probably deal with mental illness for the rest of my life, so I've found some useful tools for measuring my progress in mental illness recovery.
Annabelle Clawson
It's one of those days--the days where I can't get out of bed for fear of the day ahead, where I neglect to take my medication, where I cancel all plans and call in sick. I need something to make me feel better. Instinctively, I feel drawn to binge-watch my favorite TV show. That's the easiest way to forget my feelings, right? However, I know that I must replace my unhealthy coping skills with healthier ones.
Annabelle Clawson
It's difficult to know what to do during a panic attack, especially because completing even the simplest tasks feels like my head might explode. When I have a panic attack, I feel helpless and terrified and can't focus on anything else. Learning to cope has been a messy process, but over time, I have gotten better at it. Here's what I do during a panic attack.
Annabelle Clawson
You might feel hesitant to talk about your mental health with others. Mental health problems are often accompanied by crippling shame that prevents you from wanting to reach out for help. Shame also lies to you, saying that you are a burden to others and that no one is as messed up as you are. But if you feel that way, it is time to start talking about your mental health.
Annabelle Clawson
Perfectionism, in my opinion, creates unhappiness and is frequently misunderstood. Many people think that a perfectionist is just someone who has color-coded planners or follows all the rules. They can't observe the self-criticism and constant disappointment lurking in a perfectionist's deepest thoughts. Perfectionists make the best task-doers, but often, they are the most unhappy.