5 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Mental Illness

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Courtesy of Kimberly McIsaac

1. Depression Is Not Just Crying On The Couch

It is completely mentally draining and exhausting. It is an invisible disability. Yes, I said it – a disability. You cannot function, think, or feel correctly when you are in a depression. It is hell on earth. If you disagree or do not understand this statement, then be grateful.

2. Anxiety Is Not The Same As Having An Anxiety Disorder

It affects your life in every way. Physically it causes many symptoms, including physical pain such as heart palpitations, sweats, numbing and tingling sensations. It messes with rational thought, causes panic that doesn’t match the situation, affects concentration, and can cause looping and obsessive thought and worry. It can make you lose your appetite, cause sleep issues, and stomach issues. It can make you feel like you are crazy. If someone tells you they have an anxiety disorder, please do not say, ‘I have anxiety too, it’s normal’ because you cannot possibly know what it’s like.

3. Mental Health Disorders Do Not Have A ‘Look’

You can be sitting right next to me and you would not have a clue. It does not discriminate and it can develop at any time. It is no one’s fault!

4. Medication Helps, But It Is Very Difficult To Find The Right One(s)

The side effects can be harsh, and at times make the symptoms intensified. It is a difficult journey and some people opt not to go down that route. Do not judge. Unless someone is a danger to themselves or others, then intervene. Also, be there to listen and validate their feelings.

5. The Mental Health System In This Country Is Not Adequate

NOT EVEN CLOSE! It is so difficult to get help. There are waiting lists, insurance issues, and nowhere near enough people working in the field. Facilities are almost impossible to get into. When you finally get help, it is difficult to keep a therapist. The turnover rate is so high. Access to mental health care is so difficult. To get help is not a simple solution.

It is so difficult to battle with mental health. There are varying degrees to all of it. There is a stigma and help is way more scarce than people realize. It is one of the most frustrating processes, and if you are already having difficulty coping with everyday life, to have to make call after call and being placed on hold and rejected is a lot to handle.

If you are in the trenches, reach out to a friend, ask for help. It is so hard to do when you are so vulnerable, but everyone needs a helping hand at one time or another.

If you are the one someone is reaching out to, I know it can be heavy, but a hug or a listening ear can go a long way for someone. Just being validated or knowing someone cares can make a huge difference. Make sure it is done in a kind and nonjudgmental way.

You cannot always understand what you haven’t walked or been exposed to, but you do not have to understand it to help. If you can’t help because sometimes you can’t, that’s okay. Be sure to be respectful and be compassionate – someone’s life could depend on it.

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kimberly McIsaac. You can follow their journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘My anxiety and depression can make me a sh*tty friend, but I’m not sorry.’: Woman thankful for friends who stick around despite mental health struggles

‘Today I sat in my therapist chair and listened to a middle school student sob over FaceTime because she can’t return to school.’: Therapist shares mental health tips to survive quarantine

‘My 4-year-old had a rough week. He’s been acting ‘off.’ Anxiety and depression don’t care if you’re 5, 25, or 65.’: Mom gives son mental health day, ‘kids are never too young to talk about their struggles’

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