When I had nothing but my mental health struggles, I had writing. I had no answers. I had no knowledge of how to fix or stop my pain. I only had emotions simultaneously carving out and bursting from my aching chest, so I tried to put them into words. In doing so, without knowing it, I was writing my way to recovery.
Healthy coping tools like self-harm comfort audio can play a critical role in the process of getting and staying clean from nonsuicidal self-injury.
Although therapy has immensely benefited me, I've learned it is okay to take a break from therapy. There were times I did not want a break. Sometimes I counted down the days until my next appointment, feeling like it would never arrive. During my darkest days, I talked to a therapist every week, sometimes multiple times a week. However, I also experienced times when I didn't want to talk about my feelings or work through any issues at all. At times, I was not motivated to do the internal work I knew I had to do.
Ignorance is bliss. Or is it? It can be challenging to decipher the true root of ignorance. Is it the literal definition of the word, lack of knowledge or awareness? Does malicious intent fuel ignorance? Does a lack of empathy fuel ignorance? Although daunting, the truth is, understanding the root of the ignorance in question is the first step toward improvement. Regarding mental health stigma, ignorance is one of the biggest obstacles to progress. Let's unpack a few common motives behind ignorance to help gauge a path forward concerning mental health stigma.
One of my favorite memes on social media says something like, “It’s almost time for me to put away my normal anxiety and put on my fancy Christmas anxiety.” Christmas is a very anxious--even manic--time of year for many people. But I have a special reason why my anxiety skyrockets around the holidays.
Staying organized helps my anxiety because one of the things that can be challenging, is dealing with a lack of control. Even though I know that I can't control everything, it becomes difficult when I feel like I am in a chaotic environment. It also becomes overwhelming when situations occur that I don't have control over and so, along with it, comes uncertainty.
Anxiety can negate your appetite. Anxiety and eating disorders often co-occur—that's hardly a shock to those who live with the harsh realities and ramifications of both illnesses. As the National Institute of Mental Health reveals, 65.1 percent of those with binge eating disorder, 47.9 percent with anorexia, and 80.6 percent with bulimia meet the diagnostic criteria for anxiety.
Growing up, I left the room when my parents turned on the nightly news. I had no interest. Besides, it was all bad news, or so it seemed: wars, fires, shootings, murders, robberies, injustices, bickering politicians, and so on. No, thank you, I had anxiety around the news.
I sometimes wonder if I would face the same stigma for dating men a couple of decades younger than me if the genders were reversed. It isn't that unusual to hear about men in their 40s dating women in their 20s. However, when a woman in her 40s dates a man in his 20s, the main assumption I've encountered is that she must be a "sugar mommy." It's almost as if it's unimaginable that a young man would be sexually or romantically interested in an older woman for any other reason.
For citizens living in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter. Shorter winter days can affect your mood, especially if you deal with mental health issues like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).