That’s a line from a song called “She’s American” by the 1975 and it that sums up the worst of my mental health. When I was in the depths of anxiety and depression, my body and mind suffered so much that for several months straight, I didn’t get one night of restful sleep. I remember I was so desperate to escape it that I was taking any drug just to knock out.
Guess what? It’s still May, which means it’s Mental Health Awareness month. As long as this blog exists, I will always commemorate it because my mental health experiences have shaped who I am as an adult. Getting out of that shit hole has made me a much better person, and I want anyone who is hurting to understand that it’s possible to feel good, with a little help from yourself and others.
Unfortunately, there’s still stigma associated with anything mental health related, and I believe that breaking it down starts with recognizable people being more open and relatable about their experiences. Like Lady Gaga and Prince William:
Or me, if you know me.
I’ve written two posts about this – one in 2015 when I was really in the shits, and one in 2016 when I finally felt like the shit was becoming fertilizer. In 2017, I like to think the fertilizer has helped me grow into happy, healthy and robust little plant. I wilt here and there, but I’m generally able to spring back up. And I have lots more growing to do!
Me and all my plants.
I recognize that my mental and emotional wellbeing will always require tending to, and I think everyone should do that whether or not they’ve ever woken up at 4 am with panic attacks (it’s terrifying).
If you have woken up at 4 am with panic attacks, or if you can’t find a reason to wake up at all, or if you’re not sure how to carry any more burden, or if you can’t seem to function on a day-to-day without relying on a substance, or if you’re causing harm to yourself – whatever your flavor of madness, I want you to understand that telling someone close to you and asking for help is an act of courage, strength and love.
Please do not isolate yourself. There are 450 million other people on this planet who experience mental health challenges. You are not alone.
I’ve left some online resources to read through down below if anything I’ve said feels relevant. No one should ever be a prisoner to their own mind, feel ashamed if they’re not okay or think things never get better.
To my friends who are very lucky to not be diagnosed with a mental illness: congratulations, you don’t need one to take care of your mental and emotional health! It doesn’t hurt to express how you feel, check in with yourself and learn how to manage the difficulties in life. Don’t wait until you’re imploding from stress before you tend to yourself. Watch this:
Also, be a light for people who do suffer. Don’t deny people’s experiences, or tell people to get over it. Be a helpful human who supports by being a good listener, helping friends find resources, and making sure people never feel alone in the process. Easy does it, my friends.
National Institute of Mental Health – Lots of resources on this page
Talk Space – Accessible and more affordable therapy via messaging
Calm Clinic – Lots of articles for anxiety-prone people like me
Mindfulness Meditation 101 – A crash course