Monday, May 14, 2018

Guest Post #10 - Mental Health Awareness Month - Marie from Mxiety


 1)   How old were you when you began to experience symptoms of mental illness?

 I suspect it was as young as seven because I frequently would cry and ask my sister, whether she really loved me. I believe I was sixteen by the time I was sure I was not well and not just “sensitive.”

2)   Did you have support and seek treatment immediately? If not, why?

 In high school, I went to one of the teachers I trusted and explained that I was scared about how often I was throwing up my food. She walked me over to the school counselor. The problem was that there was only one counselor for the entire school, which had about two thousand students. So frequently, she could not make the appointments she set up. After a few months I gave up. I ended up not getting good professional help until college, where I was sure that I would not have to pay (because I couldn’t) and that my anonymity would be properly kept. My parents either pretended nothing was going on or would swing in the opposite direction, saying that I was crazy. So, the anonymous part was crucial.

3)   What would you tell your younger self knowing what you know now about mental illness?

 Well, I have indeed written a letter to myself about it [link if ok]. The first thing I would do if offer her a hug. Then, I would let her know that she can’t give up because her future is bright and full of wonderful people who love and want to support her. I would let her know that help is coming and if she just keeps working as hard as she does, being resilient and determined, she have more access to help and resources the older she gets.

4)   What do you think are the biggest misconceptions those with mental illness have to face?

Having people with mental illness marked as violent, uncontrollable, threats is the most detrimental thing I continue to see. It’s natural for humans to draw quick conclusions before knowing all the facts, it’s helped us evolve safely. However, we live in a world now with an abundance of information readily available, so we should know better than to accept such negative assumptions about our fellow humans. Whether their illness is visible or not. 

5)   How do you feel about the stigma surrounding mental illness? Do you feel we’ve taken positive steps? In your opinion, what needs to be done in the future?

 I am arguably overly optimistic. Many people get to speak up now and continue to hold jobs and are not treated differently. Some companies offer mental health days. That being said, The WHO has labeled Mental Illness an epidemic and in most countries mentioning you are Depressed would be the end of your social standing. People are killed and women suffering mental illness symptoms are still labeled as having “hysterics” which is straight out of the 20th century. And that’s for more common mental illnesses. Something less common, such a personality disorder, would be shunned even worse. So yes, lots and lots of work to do.

6)   What do you do to get through the bad days?

 Just recently I started teaching myself to be less harsh on myself during my bad days. My usual habit used to be beating myself up for being weak and lazy. I would get upset, that I was wasting my time not working. I have learned that giving myself even just an hour to mope or rest, while doesn’t seem productive, goes a long way in having a productive day overall.

7)   Do you have any projects that you’re working on that could benefit the mental health community?

 Everything and anything on Mxiety.com is meant to help both those in the community and those outside of it.

8)   Please give us some of your social media screen names in case someone wants to get a hold of you.

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/mxiety Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/mxiety/

Twitch:  https://www.twitch.tv/mxiety

Guest Post #14 - Mental Health Awareness Month - Dr. Jason Holland of Lifespark

About the Author: Jason M. Holland, Ph.D., currently serves as the CEO and Editor of Lifespark , an online well-being magazine focuse...