Most of you may know that I am currently working on my doctorate in Clinical Psychology, so it is only right that I touch on the subject of mental illness because although we are living in 2017, it is still a subject of taboo for some, especially when it comes to different cultural groups. Dealing with mental illness is hard, not matter the degree. It's a very difficult issue to deal with because unlike other problems that are physically visible to the people around you - struggling with mental illness is very easy to hide, which makes it even more dangerous.
It was once overlooked because people just put it down to attention seeking, and because of this people tend to be really frightened about opening up, but it's the year 2017, there's no need to feel like that anymore. There are so many different ways to get help, manage and improve how you feel on a daily basis.
While there are many severity types that span the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for those who are able to cope with their symptoms a bit better than others, here are a few tips that will help you to keep a healthier perspective on things.
Focus on your strong points, but be aware of your limits.
You may not get as much done as maybe other people would, because you will be facing a lot of different things that cause you stress. But this shouldn't be seen as a negative thing. Because of all this, you are most likely very good at being patient, and patience is a great skill to have.
When having a mental illness, for some reason people tend to be quite creative. It doesn't always work out that way, but in some cases of Autism especially, people usually have great attention to detail and use their brain to store it full of knowledge and information. You would be surprised as to how many actors, musicians, and artists are actually Bipolar (manic-depressive.)
Don't look at yourself as being strange. You are unique in your own way, and that isn't because of your mental illness - it's because you're a human being. So put your attention and energy onto all the wonderful traits that you - and only you - can offer this world.
Get yourself the treatment you need.
There are far too many suicides that go on because people feel as though it's the only resort. The pain that it causes to feel that alone, dealing with such an issue that makes you so low that you don't want to be in this world with the people that love you. - That's a very dangerous spot to be in. That's why it's so important to seek medical help and discuss what the best treatment will be for you. - You don't have to suffer in silence or go through it alone. There are plenty of support that will give you all the information that you need to find what's best for you. You may find that going on medication that balances your mood is necessary, or talking to someone about exactly how you feel everyday is a more suitable option. Some people even find that herbal vaping or aromatherapy for health issues can help sooth and relax things like depression, anxiety, and even mood swings. So it really is just about discussing options and finding something that you agree to.
Get support but don't let it consume you.
It's very easy to feel like the odd one out when you're with a group of people, whether you know them or they’re just complete strangers - you know how you're feeling, and that’s pretty much all you’re able to focus on. Your mind is most likely racing with one thousand and one different things going on in your head all at the same time. If you're anxious, this will be ten times worse. Even if no one is looking at you, you will feel that this is specifically for a reason, and you will be analyzing everything like crazy!
Going to support groups for your illness can be amazing, because you're essentially in a room with all other people dealing with the same issue. Although it may feel as though you're on your own at first, the more times you go, and the more you open up - you will learn so much, not only about others, but yourself too. Groups are there to remind you that you're not weird, and you can find comfort in the idea that you will always have a place to go.
But having said that, don't use your illness as a crutch or an excuse to hold you back, or take the easy option out without having to push yourself. Sure, it may be a lot harder for you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
Don't allow anyone to treat you badly.
For some strange reason, a lot of people that deal with a mental illness are deemed weak by other people. For example, if people are aware that you're a little different, unfortunately, most people will treat you different - even though you never asked them to do that. People may also try and take advantage of you because you are seen as an 'easy target'... Don't let them do this to you, however much they try. You're not someone that can be messed with, or someone that should just put up with silly things because 'you're different'. Don't ever feel like you need to settle in a relationship, or be silent in a conversation because the other person is trying to enforce some sort of power over you.
Finding work isn't impossible
If you're generally quite up and down, then searching for a more flexible job will be best. This may be freelance work, working from home, or if you're lucky, working for someone that is able to give you clear instructions, somewhere quiet to work in, and time off when you need it.
It's very easy to think that not mentioning your illness is a better route because it won't restrict you from the kind of work that you get offered - but don't do this. Your employer needs to know if you're not well. - Not so that they can judge or pity you - but just so they have a better understanding of things. Especially if you do have to take multiple days off, or shorten your hours.
Take responsibility for your actions.
Just because you may be a little different, doesn't always mean you get special treatment. For example, if you're in the company of others, whether that be family, friends or even strangers, - if you have a really bad day, and you lose your temper and get quite angry and aggressive - once that is all over and done with, you have to think about the possibility that you may have affected anyone while they were in your presence. Yes, it is horrible having to deal with emotions like that, but it's also horrible to see someone unraveling and losing control right in front of you, and you are not able to do a thing. So ask them if they're alright, and apologize for breaking down like that.
The same thing goes for if you made plans with people, and then end up changing your mind. Don't just bail on them, let them know in advance so they're not left looking forward to something all week for nothing. You would like someone to take your feelings into account, so do the same for others.
Find the people that will accept you for you.
Friendships can be very hard to keep when you are dealing with a mental illness. We can all have the odd ‘good day’, which is great, and your friends may love to hang out with you. But then the day will come where you feel as though that dark gray cloud has positioned itself right above your head, and all you can feel is the weight of the rain hitting down on you. On days like this, your friends may not want to be around you, because they can't deal with how you are. - Let them feel this way. If they don't feel comfortable with you on your 'off' days, then you shouldn't want to feel comfortable around them either. That's why we have so many different people that come into our life - they all have different purposes. You just have to either be patient, or find someone that can be with you on a good or bad day regardless.
Relationships can be a lot trickier, not so much to find - but to maintain the relationship. Whether it be a few days, few weeks or few months of trying to act as 'normal' as you possibly can, you are sooner or later going to have to breathe and be yourself. - It's very scary, but how do you know you've met the right person if they haven't yet met you properly? You don't want to find out later down the line that you wasted eight months of your life, hiding a big part of yourself, trying to be the 'perfect' partner, only to find out they were a super idiot!
What about the people who are selfish and only like the sound of their own voice, or people that always think they're right and are never willing to compromise? - If they can all manage to find a relationship and keep a healthy one going - then you have absolutely nothing to worry about!
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