Having undiagnosed mental health issues is really hard; I'm not going to lie. For so many years, I have craved having a distinct, definitive mental health diagnosis, but it just never seems to happen. I've had several diagnoses over the years, but none of them have ever really felt right. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the problem, if nothing will ever feel right for me.
Trauma is a difficult subject to discuss for some, especially when there is no "safe space" in which to have the conversation. I struggled with opening up about my traumatic past due to a lack of safe space to share these memories. In our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc. (LGBTQIA+) community, it can be difficult to find someone who can hold a safe space for us without judgment. This leads to many individuals settling for a therapist or counselor who truly isn't meeting their needs.
Self-harm and isolation caused by the pandemic are a dangerous pair. Everyone is struggling to cope during these difficult times. Even the strongest and most resilient people I know have been affected by pandemic fatigue, which often comes with depression and anxiety symptoms. Unsurprisingly, our self-harm urges can also become worse as the future is so uncertain. It’s times like these that we need to look after one another and stay united.
Laura A. Barton
Recovery may not look as expected, and I believe reshaping mental health recovery can be a tool to combat mental health stigma. By challenging the perception we have of recovery, it may help people understand that mental health struggles don't necessarily go away. Reshaping mental health recovery can contribute to stopping the idea that we should associate mental health struggles with willpower, contagion, and other harmful notions brought on by stigma. There are two keys ways I see to do this.
I often feel helpless because of bipolar disorder. I know we're all supposed to be empowered and in-control of our own destinies, but those things are an illusion at best, and bipolar is excellent at reminding me of that. All chronic illnesses, and for me, bipolar specifically, go with feeling helpless.
Nori Rose Hubert
I've always been a hypersensitive person, so it's important that I create a comfortable work environment to thrive with bipolar disorder. For example, I don't process sudden, loud noises very well, and too much background chatter can completely overwhelm me. Fluorescent lighting hurts my eyes, and I can't concentrate if I'm too cold or if my immediate environment isn't colorful and inviting.
Heidi Green, Psy.D.
Intimate relationships often hold a mirror to us so that we may see the unhealthiest parts of ourselves. I have recently made an important connection between my codependent behaviors and my self-worth, thus unearthing a new phase in my personal wellness journey.
According to the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the suicide death rate in the first week after patients leave inpatient psychiatric care is 300 times higher than the general population. This doesn't mean that hospitalization isn't effective; it means that hospitalization is not meant to be the sole treatment for mental illness. I wish mental hospitals were like car washes, and we all magically emerge sparkling sane upon reentry to the world, but my hardest days have always been the first few days after discharge.
On October 10, World Mental Health Day, my husband, Tom, my mother, and I embarked on a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk. We had raised almost $1,000 for NAMI. We’d certainly raised more than we ever had in the past. So that was great. But this walk was different than any other NAMI Walk. It was a virtual walk. Allow me to explain what that means.
Finding out that someone you love has a secret is always shocking, but few secrets are as devastating as self-harm. Helping a self-harming friend open up about his or her struggle may be beneficial for you both, but how do you tackle such a sensitive subject without damaging your relationship?