Mental illness struggles and how to rise above it

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Alright so this blog post is going to be completely out of context with my last one. The reason being is simple; mental illness and suicide. I do prefer to keep my posts positive, but mental health and suicide are important to talk about and will directly or indirectly affect everyone at some time. It does not have to be a negative topic of conversation, and that is what I’m aiming to achieve.  If I could help even just one person, that would be rewarding. It is shocking just how many people continue to suffer and do nothing about it. This subject is very near to my heart and in this post you can expect for me to open up with personal experiences, how to seek help, as well as talking about some of the stigma related to mental health issues and suicide.

Mental illness can take many forms and can vary from person to person. In short, it refers to a wide range of mental health conditions. Some of which include anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, thoughts of suicide and even violence.

To learn more about the individual illnesses please follow this link to the Canadian Mental Health Association webpage: http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/

I bet you’re all wondering why I have decided to write about this topic as my last post was upbeat and festive. Mental illness is something that has always surrounded me. For most of her life, my mom had suffered from depression and anxiety disorder – being the first one to respond to her episodes, naturally I knew more about depression and anxiety than any 10 year old should. Still, as a family we rose above it and she got the help she needed.

I myself also suffer from an anxiety disorder. Only certain things trigger the emotion, however it is powerful and sometimes overwhelming. Luckily for me, I have a nursing background and have learned how to live with it in a healthy way (except for presentations, those I still need to work on). Regardless, I have a great support network, and the courage and knowledge of where to look to get any help that I need.

Unfortunately, not everyone is this lucky.

One of my very good friends was dating a great guy who made her feel extremely happy. Looking at pictures and hearing about their relationship through her, it seemed like they were both happy people – both inside and outside of their relationship. Evidently things aren’t always as they appear. One seemingly normal Saturday like any other he tucked her in to bed, kissed her goodnight, and said he had to go outside to get ready for hunting the next day. He never came back – he committed suicide that night.

Naturally, this left my friend feeling hopeless and confused.

Sadly, these tragedies are not uncommon. There are people who suffer in silence and never share their internal emotions with anyone. These people feel hopeless and like a burden to others, when in reality they could be the center of someone else’s entire world, leaving with them some of the biggest heartbreak known to man.

It is so important to seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing signs of mental illness or thoughts of suicide. You are never alone, no matter how much it feels like you are. Even when it feels like the walls are closing in, and you feel like it is your only option, you’re mistaken.

Often it helps to talk to a friend, a family member, or someone who you don’t know like a psychiatrist. It is also important to get an opinion from a doctor, whether it be your family physician or one at a clinic so that they can point you in the right direction for treatment.

The good news is that all mental illness is treatable. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking up a new hobby, eating better, and getting regular physical activity. Others require medication, but allow you to lead a completely normal life.

Although mental illness is perfectly acceptable, those who are too embarrassed to speak to anyone face to face there are several other resources:

Kids Help Phone: http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx or toll free @ 1 800 668 6868

http://www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca/

http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/getting-help/#.Vi6_q_mrTIU

Here is also by clicking on the following link you will be able to find a comprehensive list of mental health facilities available in your town or city:

http://www.ementalhealth.ca/index.php?m=selectRegion

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I want to leave you with a thought: treat others how you would want to be treated. It is the classic line that every kindergarten teacher and your parents used to tell you but it holds very true. Everyone comes from a different walk of life.

Be kind.

Often an individual’s story is unknown as are the struggles someone may be going through. Your kindness could result in positively changing someone’s life.

Together, let’s eliminate the stigma. For those who feel comfortable enough, in the comments below I would like to hear about how you’ve been directly or indirectly effected by mental illness.

Have a healthy and happy day!

12002273_1656598137918567_6738717868713549003_nJessica Welsh is a 20something registered practical nurse turned public relations student @ Humber college, fascinated in all things fashion, travel, health and wellness.
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