I think it’s easy for those who don’t suffer from mental health issues or any sort of medical issues to say, “Stay positive! Things only get better with a positive attitude.” I bet many of you who do struggle with any sort of medical or mental issue that ya’ll have heard something like this before.
I think statements like this are discouraging to the person facing an issue because when you are depressed, all you want to feel is some sense of joy but it is no where to be found. It’s like you’re so deep and dark inside the tunnel that you don’t recall that last time you were “happy” or could be “positive”. You are suffering and you have every right to feel what you’re feeling. Is it fair? No. But you shouldn’t have some asshole breathing down your neck saying “good vibes only” or “pray about it.”
In my experience; now let me say the same may not go for you, you, and you. But I have personally witnessed hundreds of clients, acute, mentally ill clients come and go and if it weren’t for therapy, medication, and coping skills, they would not be here today. As of this moment, there is no cure for mental health issues, but it does indeed get better. Not by praying it away, not by good vibes only. But by medication, therapy, and individualized coping skills it does get better or at least symptoms become more manageable.
Medication at least attempts to stabilize the mental illness and the mood swings that come with them. It’s like the teeter totter and pendulum analogy that I so often love to describe. Or a scale. The medication evens out the riffs in the swing of the scale so your intense change of emotion is lessened or maybe even reduced entirely. As for therapy, your counselor can introduce coping mechanisms to you and your family or friends as a way to help you cope with outbursts you may have that medication does not stop. Medication is not a cure all and neither is therapy, but they do help some.
As for coping skills, it is a very broad subject. It could mean for you to do your favorite thing or to use fidget tools such as a fidget spinner, bubble wrap, a fidget cube, you name it. It can also mean painting, drawing, watching a show, music, writing, whatever it may be. But it serves as a distraction from suicidal ideation, negative thoughts, and what have you.
Like the say about child rearing; it takes a village. Same goes for your mental health. You need the things that I have listed above, not to mention a good support system. This could be friends, family, a counselor, a pet, you name it. But to suffer in silence is rough. Even with these sort of systems put in place it is still difficult to feel like you truly have people that really do care about you. But that takes time, loyalty, and the act of relying on others and building trust when it is needed most.
If all it took to be happy was to be gainfully employed, have successful relationships, romantic and otherwise, do well in school, and stick to a schedule and work out sometimes, it would be easily obtainable. Mental health encompasses many deficiencies that your brain has and makes you ill like if you suffered from cancer, diabetes, or some other ailment. We take medication for mental health because our brains and bodies don’t create the chemicals we need to truly thrive. You wouldn’t deny a diabetic insulin nor a cancer patient chemotherapy, otherwise they would be gravely ill and would not thrive or God forbid, pass on.
From living with mental illness, we as humans, have developed our own ways to cope with fear, anguish, agitation, irritability, anger, resentment, and sadness. Some of these coping skills are healthy while others are not. We need counseling or group therapies in order to get out of negative or toxic patterns of thinking and doing. It is not a shameful thing to ask for help. Rather, it is an act of courage that I wish more people had.
There are so many people in this world who care for you and love you, more than you will ever know. This post isn’t to be against positivity in any way. It is very important to be as positive as you can, but if you don’t ever or often feel positive, that’s okay. I think there needs to be a change in thinking and mindset for those who don’t struggle with mental health issues. Because like I said, if it was all about positivity and working out, everything could theoretically be hunky dory. But. We live in a society that is plagued with insecurities and false thought processes of what you should do, be, dress like, what you should eat, etc., controlling everything we do. Social media only makes the issue worse. I suppose if you can’t beat them in some regard, join them.
It is why I have been on my blog, posting away for a year and a half in attempt to not bring awareness to those who struggle with mental health, but to those who don’t or don’t understand how mental illness operates. If I can relate to those with mental health issues and make them feel loved, cherished, and adored for the wonderful people that they are, then I have done my duty. If I change one person’s perspective on the Hell that I and many others go through dealing with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, schizo affective, borderline personality disorder, etc. If that person were to change their perception that mental health is a real issue in this nation and globally, and see the benefits behind medication, therapy, support systems, and coping mechanisms then I have gone above and beyond my duty.
It’s okay to feel sad or not like yourself. You’ll find yourself again and be better for it. It may not feel like the burdens put on our paths are here to behoove us, but you don’t know if they are here to help or hinder us unless we go through the adversity to get to the other side. Then we will realize how strong, courageous, ambitious we are as people, as a community. It’s okay to ask for help, like I said previously, it takes a village. The village is here to help you, not hinder you. We want you to succeed and to thrive. Don’t let the assholes get ya down.