Mental health is just as important as physical health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Last year I gave my recommendations for YA books that have to do with mental health, so this year I thought I would do the same, but for TV!
“It’s okay not to be okay.”
“How much pain for how long is OK before it’s acceptable to just give up?”
Ever since finding the website the Mighty, I’ve had so many more instances of acceptance when it comes to my chronic pain. When you’re diagnosed so young—20-years old is pretty young for a life-long condition in my book—it’s easy to feel so alone. Unknowingly, you start to isolate yourself from friends and family and start to feel like no one else could ever understand how you feel.
The other day I came across an article on the Mighty titled: “18 Taboo Topics About Chronic Illness You’re Not the Only One Having.” It felt as if the dark and gloomy sky had opened up and the sun starting shining down on me. I was finally being heard. Here are some of my favorite topics that come directly from the Mighty community:
“I actually look forward to procedures that require anesthesia because I get to go right to sleep. That’s so sad to me.”
“[I worry] nobody will love me because I’m sick.”
“I think about how much I dread going to the doctor. I hope I have enough symptoms to have them believe me and take me seriously. But I don’t want enough symptoms and hurt going on to warrant a crash. It’s complicated.”
“I think pretty regularly that I’m a burden to everyone around me, and that if only I wasn’t sick. I have been known to think I would be better not being here, not that I want to die, just that my life isn’t exactly worth it because I don’t really do anything. I’m ‘failing.’”
“My taboo thoughts have always been that I hope my tests come back showing something. More clues as to what is going on or why it is happening. Most of my test results come back normal or just ever so slightly off. Nothing is ever off the charts or crazy enough to get the attention I feel I need.
“Any drug that makes me sleepy or slightly ‘stoned’ I love.”
“I feel frustrated every single day. Because the person I am now can’t even do 10 percent of the things I could do before I was sick. I’m constantly irritated and grouchy due to frustration.”
I no longer felt so alone. I’ve had some version of these thoughts ever since I’ve been sick. These aren’t things I can talk about with other people, especially people who have no idea what you’re going through. And to the outside world, I have a wonderful middle-class life filled with a supportive family, successful friends, and financial stability. But if you take the time to look closer, you would see that those successful friends don’t have time for you and that financial stability comes from your parents because you’re unable to work and provide for yourself. We try to put up a front, but on the inside our thoughts are dark and lonely. Knowing there are people out there that share your thoughts—share your pain—the world doesn’t feel so alone anymore.
Here are my YA recommendations when it comes to mental health. You can find tons of lists just like this all over the Internet, but these are just a few that I’ve read that really resonated with me. I hope you’ll enjoy, but please be advised ***TRIGGER WARNING*** for depression, suicide, anxiety, and self harm.
“Why is it that mental illness leaves its sufferers feeling guilty for something that is genuinely beyond their control?”
The more I read about mental illness, the more I understand about my own mental health. Whether its through memoirs or fiction, I’m learning that I’m not alone. I always thought that I didn’t become depressed until I started to have chronic pain. I contributed the two to one another; I have depression because of my pain, there is a direct correlation between the two. I can’t be the person I want to be because I’m limited by my illness. This causes me to be depressed. However, I’m coming to realize that I was showing some signs during childhood that weren’t exactly healthy or normal.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Over this month, I plan to do different posts about mental health and how it affects my life. To start, I present my story: