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Living with a mental illness especially in this part of the world can be very exhausting as people rarely take it seriously.
Your parents' response to you saying you're depressed is somewhere in between;
"when you won't stop pressing phone",
"what are you thinking about?"
"So why are you depressed?" "stop using your mouth to speak evil, you're fine in Jesus name"
As someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, agoraphobia (a type of anxiety disorder in which a person fears places or situations that might cause them to panic) and haphephobia (the fear of being touched), imagine how hard it is being in a place where your emotions and paranoia are at an all-time high and people won't stop touching you randomly.
When you go "oh sorry I don't like being touched", people chuckle or look at you weirdly and you have to explain that touches triggers your anxiety and makes you aggressive.
There are different types of mental illnesses and different ways it affects people who suffer from them.
I spoke to 3 people who like myself, are living with mental health challenges and asked them to share their coping mechanisms
Last year I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. I was also diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome; the cause of this is unknown. But most of the research on PCOS and mental health has focused on depression and anxiety, but it may also be associated with an increased risk of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and eating disorders.
From time to time, I get irregular periods. I’ve been to the hospital for treatments and had to take pills for months. There is no cure for this but it can be managed, I was told this at the hospital.
I started going for therapy this year. Before therapy, I’ve always felt something was wrong but could not place a name on it. I’ve always had mixed feelings about myself.
Somedays, I’m confident and I feel so good about myself and other days, I battle with low self esteem. Sometimes I feel like I'm two different people, and this has made relationships hard for me.
"I'm certain I struggle with anxiety and depression. But I really want to talk to a professional. One of the biggest issues with not being diagnosed is the constant self-doubt. I know that there's something wrong with me. But because I don't have that proof/reassurance, my anxiety finds ways to discredit me and make me feel terrible for feeling how I feel sometimes. Sometimes, I feel bad being around my close friends and partner. I feel like a burden to them because I'm this sad introvert that's gloomy and irritated all the time. And it's even worse at home because I can't express these emotions before I "invite the Devil into my life". Because being depressed is a one-stop shop to being Daddy Satan's little puppet."
"My OCD (or something close to it) is needing to always be cleaned up. Neat-ish. Just not to come off as dirty. Because I feel dirty. Like all the time. This goes hand in hand with my haphephobia. Because I feel like I'll get dirt or germs from people. Or I'll get them dirty. So I'm always taking every chance to try and wipe off something or wash my hands and generally be away from any contact. Which makes me extremely scared of intimacy. Like very very very scared. Hence single Pringle. Lol. But yeah, I randomly clean my face, or lips, or the creases by my nose. And then wash my hands. And fists bumps for almost everyone. Mentally reminding myself it's okay to allow people to hug you if not I might actually freeze up and be confused or 'flustered' for a while before I can focus."
Living with mental health challenges sometimes feels like you need extra love, extra understanding, extra patience, extra support.
But, to get that support and love etc, you need to speak on what ails you. Not too many people can or are willing to share their mental health stories and how it has affected their lives due to the "stigma" around this topic, but the dream is for more people, more communities and safe spaces to pop up and make it all easier.
Hopefully people open up more and seek professional help to deal with their issues. It can be hard (trust me I know) but seeking help is worth it.