Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. —Fred Rogers
Today is World Mental Health Day. I wanted to open up a bit more on a topic I’m fearful of talking about at times.
A few years ago, I shared my struggle with anxiety.
Since talking about it, I’ve questioned whether I truly “have it or not” and whether it’s stress versus anxiety. Why?
Because for the sake of those who are dealing with it at a deeper level, I don’t want to say I have a mental illness when I may not struggle with it myself.
To me, it would be so disrespectful to my friends who are in fact wrestling with it (and some, have been for years).
I’ve asked myself time and again, “Do you really have anxiety or are you thinking you have ‘something’ over one experience?” and “Oh, look. It’s been awhile since you’ve felt like you had anxiety. Maybe it was stress.”
And then I read this from a Health.com article, “Another tip-off that anxiety might be involved? You wake up feeling wired, your mind is racing, and you’re unable to calm yourself down.”
Yep. Been there.
This happened to me a few years ago and it was to a point where I couldn’t calm myself down to even get dressed and go to work.
That day, I stayed home and “slept it away” in hopes that when I did wake up, to not feel what I had physically felt.
Part of me doesn’t want to admit that I have anxiety.
And I say this because I didn’t feel this way before until several years ago. It’s not that I’m not admitting I may be struggling with anxiety. I just don’t want to admit it because I know some people who struggle with the “deep stuff” and it’d feel/look like I’m, well, acting.
Then I realized that there are various mental illnesses out there and various levels of mental illnesses.
It doesn’t matter if depression, anxiety, and the like is mild or serious, it’s still depression, anxiety, etc.
Sometimes, I feel like my anxiety has improved. However, lately, I’ve been asking my friends to pray for me because I feel it coming on the horizon again.
Honestly, it comes and goes. And lately, it’s showing up more often than I care to admit. To keep myself from physically feeling it, I’ve studied Bible plans regarding anxiety. I also meditate, do yoga, and take extra vitamin D (I personally think of it as my happy pill).
I truly hope that the steps I’m continuing to take will make it go away forever and never come back. And I admit this to you because in the past, I went through a period of depression without even realizing it.
My goal is to not go through the motions and to always be self-aware as well as aware of how those around me are feeling.
That said, I leave you with what one of my friends, who has battled and still battling depression, said earlier this week about mental health:
“Being upset for a moment or day doesn’t mean you’re depressed. Worrying about a big presentation at work or a test at school doesn’t mean you have anxiety. One bad day of sleep doesn’t mean you have insomnia. Going from happy to sad cause something happened to you doesn’t mean you are bipolar. There are so many more (ADD, schizophrenia, OCD…etc).
For some reason, people act like they want to have mental illness. They wear it like a badge of honor. These illnesses are absolutely horrible. I have suffered through multiple of them and know people who have suffered through all of them. You don’t want it. Please stop belittling the fight that some people are in on a daily basis who are just trying to be a functioning member of society. The more people joke about them, the less people who are actually suffering will step forward. Help end the stigma. Help ease the fight of those who are in it.”
I do not take this topic lightly and am very sensitive about it as I have friends who are/have been battling with mental health issues.
Please know that I NEVER want to romanticize mental illness.
Whether you need help navigating depression in a friendship or want to know if it’s okay to not be okay, just do one thing: seek to understand. That’s the best thing we can do for ourselves and those suffering from any kind of mental illness.
Please know that whether it’s World Mental Health day or not, this topic is and should be open for discussion.
I wanted to talk about mental health today to help remove the stigma so feel free to talk about it here, support, and/or educate me/others on this subject in the comments below.