This is a guest post by Sarah Fournier. Want to write for Proposition No? Learn more here!
We live in a great time when mental health issues are discussed and understood more. People are more open about their struggles and we soon learn that we can connect with others who may be experiencing the same thing – making it a much less lonely experience.
Historically, people with mental illnesses were ostracized from society or put in asylums. Today however, mental health has become a community issue, providing various resources to help those of us who are unfortunate enough to deal with mental illness at some point in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still a gap that needs to close in terms of how we communicate with people who may be dealing with mental issues on a daily basis. For many people who have not experienced depression, panic attacks or other mood disorders, it can be hard to understand what the other person is experiencing. Often times this misunderstanding may lead someone to say the wrong thing out of ignorance. This has been something I have experienced personally on many occasions.
Living with mental illness can be tough. As a young woman trying to enter the workforce and grow, mental illness has made this 10x harder. My mental health issues appeared as panic attacks in my third year of university, which quickly grew into depression. With the help of an amazing university doctor I was able to get out of that state in less than a year, however, I relapsed again a year and a half ago.
I have discovered many self-help methods, read plenty of literature, and have sought help on multiple occasions. I want to share with you what has worked for me in the hopes that you can find some relief if you are dealing with mental health issues too.
We are all in this together.
Seriously Consider Medication
In my experience there is a huge stigma about taking medication to treat mental health issues. The words “poison” have been used in conversations I have personally had.
This can often lead someone to avoid seeking help from a doctor, which can have very serious consequences.
If you are suffering, please speak to your doctor about your options. Medication helped me so much that I want to end this stigma of shame for seeking help from pharmaceuticals.
There are many ways to care for yourself when dealing with mental illnesses, however, sometimes even doing these self-care acts is to hard. For example, if your panic attacks are so severe that you can’t leave the house or you can’t get out of bed due to depression, medication may be the difference between living to the best of your ability or continuing to struggle.
Medication may alleviate your symptoms enough so that you can get out and work on other ways that are healthy for your wellbeing. Ultimately, moving you closer to feeling better.
Don’t Be Afraid of Therapy (Even if it is Uncomfortable)
Therapy is another great treatment option to consider.
There are many forms of therapy that I have found useful, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. There are many books written on these subjects what can supplement seeing a therapist and which I recommend.
Depression, anxiety and panic attacks can often manifest as physical symptoms because of suppressed emotions. Therapy, while not always comfortable, helps to work your way through these emotions in a safe and supportive environment.
The first, and only time, I saw a psychologist I cried through the entire session! I came to realize that I didn’t have anyone to talk to, living in a city alone and being introverted. I had no way of unloading my emotions, resulting in the issues I faced in university. That year I cried, a lot, but it was therapeutic.
If you are feeling alone and have nobody to talk to, your therapist can be that person and sometimes that is all a person needs.
Self-care is probably my favourite mental health treatment method, because it is fun and you get to pamper yourself without feeling guilty!
There is an abundance of self-care articles, blog posts and books on the market right now. Everybody is talking about it! You just have to scroll through Pinterest, Instagram or any self-care blog and they are listing what has worked for them.
The reason for all the attention is we have learned that failing to take time for yourself can manifest itself in additional stress, depression, anxiety and other physical and mental symptoms. That is why it is important to do something for your self every day.
I recommend reading 21 Ways to a Happier Depression: A Creative Guide to Getting Unstuck from Anxiety, Setbacks, and Stress by Seth Swirsky. A quick read, Swirsky offers small actions you can do each day that can alleviate depression symptoms.
My favourite self-care methods that have worked for me include making my bed in the morning, painting, journaling, getting out in nature, blogging and photography. I need a creative outlet to be happy and I believe this is a common occurrence among introverted women who might be lacking in social interaction.
Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are something nobody wants to deal with but many of us will in our life. The more mental illness is treated like physical illness, the better we can communicate among each other and help each other seek help.
There are many ways to cope with mental illness and what works for one person may not work for you. Keep moving forward and seeking ways that make you happy, don’t be ashamed of your experience and seek support when needed.
The important thing to remember is that you are doing okay and you are not alone! Your recovery may happen at its own pace but there are little things you can do to help make it easier.
We are all in this together.
What are some ways you have found that help improve your mental health?
About the Author
Sarah Fournier is a blogger and artist over at www.caffeineandconquer.com. She has discovered that her true source of happiness is through creativity and is eager to share her ideas with others. Living in Ottawa, Ontario, when she is not writing or painting you can find her lost in a book, binge watching Netflix shows, hanging out with her two cats or enjoying a latte in her favourite café. You can also find her on Instagram and LinkedIn.