Illustration of pigeons and a woman's face with the text "It's OK to ask for help."

11 Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following During Mental Health Month

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As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram is rolling out a new campaign, #HereForYou, to highlight how supportive the mental health community can be.

“Every day, people use Instagram to share their mental health journeys and connect with communities of support,” Instagram wrote in a blog post. “From dedicated accounts tackling real issues, to hashtags of support and kind comments, Instagram has become an important community of support. We are inspired by these voices.”

To highlight more voices in the mental health community, we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite mental health related Instagram accounts.

1. The Sad Ghost Club

You got this, ghosties.

A post shared by The Sad Ghost Club (@theofficialsadghostclub) on

Started by Lize Meddings and Laura Cox, The Sad Ghost Club raises mental health awareness through comics and its sad ghost community. The club bills itself as a place for anyone who has ever felt sad, lost or like they don’t fit in.

Follow The Sad Ghost Club.

2. Mental Health America

Mental Health America is a community-based nonprofit organization which works to address the needs of those living with mental illness. Its Instagram features wellness reminders, uplifting quotes and mental illness inspired illustrations and infographics.

Follow Mental Health America.

3. Introvert Doodles

Introvert Doodles features a number of relatable comics about various mental health conditions including anxiety and self-harm. Marzi, the comic’s creator, also shares illustrations about just being shy and introverted in general.

Follow Introvert Doodles.

4. Make Daisy Chains

Please take your medication as prescribed. If you take meds for your mental health and want to reduce or come off please make a plan. Talk to people who support you, whether that’s friends, family, healthcare professionals etc. Let them know and have a plan to monitor how you feel and if you feel worse, what you should do. Never ever just stop medication (unless you have an allergic reaction obviously. ) ???????? ???? #boringselfcare . . . . . . . #edfam #edfamiliy #therapy #mentalhealth #mentalillness #drawing #art #illustration #psychosis #ocd #depression #anxiety #gad #bpd #selfharrm #borderlinepersonalitydisorder #eatingdisorder #anorexia #promarker #art #illustration #chroncillness #spoonie #spoonies #spooniesunite

A post shared by Hannah Daisy ????️‍???? (@makedaisychains) on

Hannah Daisy, a mental health occupational therapist, is changing the conversation around self-care through her series of #BoringSelfCare illustrations. Daisy’s illustrations cover less than luxurious, but incredibly important, self-care tasks like doing the dishes, getting dressed, household chores and other personal items.

Follow Make Daisy Chains.

5. Lil Moon Child

This is my interpretation of generalized anxiety disorder. I often times feel as if a black hand is rising up through my chest and clutching my throat and chest, trying to pull me into an abyss of chaos. I feel like my brain can’t function anymore as it goes into overdrive. I can’t think clearly and feel like I don’t understand what’s happening around me. Dealing with anxiety on a daily basis is also quite exhausting which is why I added the shadow under my eyes. GAD is hard to live with and unfortunately many without mental health issues don’t understand it. I want people to see what anxiety looks like on the outside as a way to deconstruct all the misconceptions around it. Having GAD does NOT mean that I want to be left alone and isolated. It’s hard for me to to go social events but that does NOT mean I don’t want friends. It’s just harder for me but I’m trying my best everyday! May is mental health awareness month. Please join me in raising awareness by participating in the #insideoutchallenge. I challenge you to show the world what your battle with mental illness looks like so others who fight the same battles know they’re not alone, so others will see that mental illness should be treated the same way as physical illness, without any judgment or stigma. ???????????? ________________________________________________ PRODUCTS USED: @kryolanofficial Aqua colours, @nyxcosmetics @nyxcosmetics_canada black liquid liner, vivid halo liquid liner, vivid sapphire liner, @katvondbeauty “Underage Red” everlasting liquid lipstick ________________________________________________ #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmonth #mentalhealthwarrior #mentalhealthmatters #getloud #b4stage4 #mentalillness #anxiety #generalizedanxietydisorder #nyxcanada #nyxcosmetics #bluehair #inspiration #makeup #makeupbyme #makeuplover #makeupartist #makeupaddict #mua #buzzfeed #themighty #mic #bluehair #depression #dontgiveup #wakeupandmakeup

A post shared by YASAMAN GHEIDI (@lilmoonchildd) on

Beauty blogger Yasaman Gheidi shares more than just makeup tutorials on her Instagram page. Gheidi speaks openly about her experience with mental illness and is the creator of the “Inside Out Challenge,” which asks people to use makeup to illustrate their mental illness.

Follow Lil Moon Child. 

6. Marcela Ilustra

SWIPE FOR MORE INFO ???? So I was watching 13 Reasons Why and I was thrilled with a few things. Leaving aside whether you liked the series or not, it tackles a theme that we need to talk about for sure. I’m very emotional and nervous talking about that – it is heavy, sad and horrible, but it happens all the time. People feel so much pain that they get to the point of taking their own lives. Mental illnesses and especially depression make us distort reality so severely that we feel like nobody cares about us and nothing matters anymore. I know because I had already felt that way. At one point in my life, I felt I had no purpose and that everyone would be better off without me. I felt such a void, an apathy where this idea of ​​vanishing did not frighten me. I was numb, lost and it seems like the only solution sometimes. Luckily, before anything else I managed to see a light in the darkness and I asked for help. I just put it out to my family and assumed that I could no longer handle it alone, I desperately needed guidance and support. And that’s what I got from many people that I’m now so grateful. So please, if you’re feeling like life does not make sense anymore, or are having any kind of suicidal thoughts, please get help right now. Do not isolate yourself, do not think that you should have to solve your problems yourself. You don’t, just breathe. Talk about it, say everything you are feeling, even the darkest thoughts on your mind. We are here to help each other and there is no shame in asking for help. I have been helped in the past to have the ability to help other people today as well. You are so important, so special and there is so much to do. I will leave lifelines numbers here from Brazil and the US, but if you know of any other support organizations, please tell it in the comments. And for those who know a depressive person, just be there. Pay attention, listen, watch them and never give up helping. One word could make all the difference. Be strong, be kind ❤ #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #youareloved #youarenotalone #life #art #inspiration #illustration

A post shared by Marcela Sabiá ???? (@marcelailustra) on

Marcela Sabiá creates body-positive and self-love illustrations with a special focus on mental illness. In addition to her stunning illustrations, Sabiá often writes about her own experience living with mental illness.

Follow Marcela Ilustra. 

7. Sad Girls Club

The Self-Care checklist is up! Click the link in our bio to print it for yourself or share it with a friend????????????

A post shared by Sad Girls Club (@sadgirlsclubpbg) on

The Sad Girls Club is an online and in-person mental health community for young women of color. The group is also being highlighted this month as part of Instagram’s #HereForYou campaign.

Follow Sad Girls Club. 

8. Chuck Draws Things

meds #pigeons

A post shared by chuck (@chuckdrawsthings) on

How you feel about pigeons may change thanks to Chuck Mullin’s anxious pigeon illustrations. Mullin uses her own experience living with anxiety and depression and turns them into adorable looking pigeons with problems that are easy to relate to.

Follow Chuck Draws Things. 

9. Project HEAL

And can make more of an impact than you know. rg @cleowade #????????????

A post shared by Project HEAL (@projectheal) on

Project HEAL is a nonprofit organization that works towards preventing, treating and supporting those living with an eating disorder. Its Instagram features motivational quotes and inspirational images as well as information about the organization and eating disorders.

Follow Project HEAL.

10. The Latest Kate

#axolotl #mentalhealth #anxiety #encouragement #positive

A post shared by @thelatestkate on

Love cute animals and motivational messages? Look no further than Kate Allan’s Instagram. Taking from her experience living with anxiety and depression, Allan illustrates messages designed to challenge negative thoughts and help others cope.

Follow The Latest Kate. 

11. To Write Love On Her Arms

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit organization for young people living with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicidal thoughts. Its Instagram account shares relatable quotes, information about the organization and stories from members.

Follow To Write Love On Her Arms.

What did we miss? Tell us in the comments below:

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When You Have a Mental Illness, Self-Care Isn't Always a Luxury

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Self-care isn’t always face masks and bubble baths, and it often isn’t glamorous. Sometimes it’s boring, lonely or temporarily unpleasant. The popular notion of self-care as a trip to the spa is, for many people, impractical and unrealistic. When you live with a mental health disorder, practicing basic self-care can be hard work.

For many people, self-care is not a luxury. Because I live with borderline personality disorder (BPD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder, I face additional, ongoing obstacles that directly impact my psychological, emotional and physical well-being. In order for me to improve or maintain my health and keep up with everyday responsibilities, relationships and activities, self-care is essential. Most of the time, it’s not all that fun.

Living with mental illness can be a full-time job – except it doesn’t pay, I never get time off and my efforts frequently go unrecognized. Sometimes self-care in the face of depression is making a point to eat something every day or remembering to take prescribed medication. Sometimes it means taking advantage of brief spurts of energy to go grocery shopping or reach out to a friend. Sometimes it’s celebrating small victories, and sometimes it requires me to do things I really don’t feel like doing.

Because life with BPD can be so unpredictable, seemingly simple acts of self-care often take considerable effort. When I feel overwhelmed by certain symptoms – feelings of emptiness or self-loathing, paranoia or the fear of social rejection — to name a few — caring for my mental health might mean eating a balanced meal instead of ice cream for dinner, avoiding my known triggers or accumulating positive experiences. Other times, effective self-care means utilizing the skills I’ve learned in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to have difficult conversations, confront painful emotions or cope during moments of overpowering distress.

Sometimes caring for myself means staying home when I want to go out, and sometimes it’s going out when I want to stay home. Self-care involves learning when to face my demons and when to box them up for another time. If I gave in to each and every impulse or desire
in the name of “self-care,” I would probably spend all my money, subsist on coffee and beer, and lose sight of my long-term goals. Finding a way to cope instead of giving into these intense urges and emotions is imperative for my self-care — and it takes work.

The notion that being aware of one’s triggers and making conscious, smart, healthy decisions is selfish shows a serious lack of empathy. Recovery is challenging enough, and many people with mental disorders already live with strong feelings of insecurity and shame. Berating the way someone cares for their own mental, emotional or physical health is damaging and contributes to the subjugation of people with mental illness.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but is often an important and necessary step in self-care. Therapy and medication have become crucial aspects of my own mental health care, and I credit much of my recovery to DBT. However, too many people lack access to the treatment they need to heal. The inability to practice consistent self-care when living with mental illness leads to additional obstacles and can ultimately be life-threatening.

Failing to adequately care for one’s own mental health can have serious, long-term consequences. In most cases, it’s irresponsible to assume what’s best for another person, and everyone should have the ability to care for themselves in what ever methods make sense for their situation. What some people find liberating or relaxing, others may find anxiety-inducing or triggering. More than just access to essential health care and respect, people living with mental disorders and other disabilities deserve to live freely and joyfully without stigmatization.

Sometimes self-care is uncomfortable, frustrating or exhausting. Because we live in a neoliberal society that seems to value profit and productivity over health and happiness, living with a mental health disorder often involves labor and sacrifices that go unnoticed. Rather than recognizing anxiety and depression, for instance, as valid, intrusive mental health problems, they are constantly dismissed as excuses that make us “weak,” “lazy” or “selfish.” It’s destructive and ableist to assume everyone can function in the same way, at the same pace. Self-care looks different for everybody, and it’s important we’re all able to consistently and effectively care for ourselves.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via isaxar.

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Piers Morgan Tweets 'Man Up, Britain' in Response to Mental Health Statistics

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According to a new study from the U.K.’s Mental Health Foundation, two out of three Britons say they’ve experienced a mental health issue. Responding to the study published on Monday was Piers Morgan, who doubted the notion that 34 million people in the U.K. could have experienced a mental illness.

“34 million UK adults are mentally ill? What utter nonsense,” Morgan tweeted. “Man up, Britain & focus on those who REALLY need help.”

Morgan also shared his opinions about mental illness on “Good Morning Britain.” Speaking with Stan Collymore, a U.K. footballer who has been open about his experience living with depression, Morgan said:

I just read a report, yesterday, by, I think The Independent… medical expert, saying maybe 35 million people in Britain suffer some form of mental illness. To which I say, nonsense. There are lots of people that do, and they must be taken seriously, they must get treatment and they must speak to friends and family and when necessary medical experts. Let’s just put that on the table.

But, it seems to me a lot of people in this modern era now, are being led into the thought process that every part of life’s travails – the normal rough and tumble of life – has to now be categorized as mental illness. And I don’t think that’s helpful either.

“The whole point about mental health week, the whole point about speaking up and talking out about mental health issues,” Collymore told Morgan, “is that you shouldn’t have to man up, sit there, have a stiff upper lip. You should, at the appropriate time, if you are struggling, go to your doctor, speak to a friend.”

While Morgan agreed with several of Collymore’s points, the media personality continued by stating there shouldn’t be a stigma against those who approach their mental illness by “manning up.”

“What happens is when you are kept told by whether it’s Piers Morgan or whether it’s somebody on Twitter, ‘Man up, it doesn’t exist,’ is that rather than encouraging somebody to speak up on day one when they’re struggling is that on day 20,” Collymore explained sharing the story of a fellow footballer who died by suicide. “We don’t want people to get to that state.”

This isn’t the first time Morgan has shared his opinion regarding mental illness.

Dozens of people have replied to Morgan’s tweets, many of whom sharing how Morgan’s position keeps people living with mental illnesses from getting the help they need.

Update: Responding to Morgan’s tweet, Mark Rowland, director of communications for the Mental Health Foundation, told The Mighty: 

If most Britons reported that in their lifetime, they had experienced a physical health problem, would we be so quick to question their integrity? Would our response be to tell them to ‘man up’?

Piers Morgan will be on the wrong side of history on this issue. We have tried the ‘man up’ mantra for generations, and we have ended up with suicide being the leading cause of death for men under the age of 45 in this country.

Our research is entirely consistent with previous mental health statistics for government, such as 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem in any given year (or 1 in 6 in any given week). Our data shows that two out of three adults have experienced a mental health problem in their lifetime. Like physical health, mental health problems range in severity, and of course support should be concentrated where most needed, but common mental health problems like anxiety and panic attacks are real conditions that cause significant, life debilitating effects.

We believe that people can be trusted to know their own emotional and mental health. Too many people have suffered in silence for too long.

We stand by the fact that two out of every three adults in Britain, have faced a mental health problem in their lifetime. This could be the generation that finally acknowledges the need for change.

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How to Find the Right Therapist for You

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“I can’t handle this anymore. I’m losing my mind. My stomach burns and churns and I feel like I could jump right out of my skin. I’m so sick of thinking like this. I think I need help but don’t know where to go.”

Do you have thoughts like these? Have you tried everything to feel better? Are you thinking about reaching out for professional help?

Hiring a therapist can be one of the most important and scary steps you take. Be wise and research the best choice for a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Unfortunately, most people don’t take time choosing their therapist. Think about how important it is to have this person be the right choice. After all, you will most likely share things with this person that you haven’t shared with others. You’re seeking their expertise for your problems.

With this in mind, it’s critical to take the time to interview potential therapists, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Whether you are struggling with a mental illness, an addiction or family problems, having the appropriate person on your team is essential to your mental health.

It’s important to talk with the prospective counselor before your first appointment. If you can’t get past the administrative assistant to talk with the therapist, keep asking. Be persistent.

When you do speak with the therapist, keep in mind this is not the time to talk about your issues, but to interview the therapist. Keep the conversation focused on the questions.

7 questions to ask when hiring a therapist:

1. What kind of specialized training have you received related to my particular problem?

For example, anxiety, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), paranoia, fear, addictions, etc. For example: If I’m struggling in my marriage, what kind of training have you had? What is your approach to this problem? If I don’t know what my problem is and/or don’t know how to sort through what’s happening with me, what approach would you use?

2. What is your opinion of, and approach to, mental illness and addiction?

Does this line up with your thoughts? Ask them questions about what is important to you.

When I hire my own therapist (yes, therapists need therapists too), I want to know if they have experience in counseling other therapists. I have my own ways of protecting myself, therefore I need someone who can call me out on my stuff.

Other things you might consider asking include:

Do I want to know if they believe in the 12-step approach? (If this is important to me.)

Do they think addiction a disease?

How do they help a couple who are yelling at each other in the office?

3. Where, when and whom do you refer clients out to?

Here, what you want to know is if they have team members or referrals for therapists with expertise in certain situations.

Occasionally, the therapist doesn’t feel confident in treating a specific issue so they would make a referral to another professional.

Does the therapist have physicians, psychiatrists or psychologists that they work with as a team? You would want a therapist to have such a team approach to your care.

4. How will you know when we’re finished with counseling?

An answer something like this is helpful. You (the person seeking counseling) determine the goals for therapy, and we work together to reach these objectives. I think it becomes a mutual decision about when we are complete. I have clients who achieved their goals, only to return to counseling for other reasons. People may need different levels of care, at difference times, based on their needs.

Sometimes programs for addictions or other mental health issues have predetermined lengths of treatment. For example, outpatient chemical dependency treatments are maybe six to eight weeks in length, or a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) group may be six months in length. Ask more questions about what happens in these types of groups.

5. What are your policies about scheduling appointments, missed appointments, fees and client responsibilities? Do you take insurance?

They should have a clearly defined explanation in written form for you to discuss and sign.

6. If spirituality is important to you, ask them, “ How do you support the concept of a spiritual component to the therapeutic process?”

Does the answer support or detract from your beliefs and needs?

7. Why did you choose this career path?

Sometimes therapists will share that they have a family member with mental illness or addiction, or they have issues themselves and have sought out therapy. If they do not share this openly, it’s OK to ask them, “May I ask a personal question?” If they respond with a yes, ask “Have you been in therapy yourself?” If they answer yes, ask, “Tell me what was helpful in therapy for you.”

As you ask these questions, take into consideration some of these thoughts too.

1. Does the therapist have a sense of humor?

2. Does it seem like I can be myself and talk openly with this person?

3. Do I feel safe and comfortable with this person?

4. Does the therapist seem open to sharing a little of themselves with me?

5. If the therapist doesn’t take the time to talk with you, that may be all the answer you need.

As you review the answers to these questions, consider your gut reaction. Don’t let someone talk you into hiring someone you aren’t confident about. On the other hand, it’s easy to discount and find fault in people when you are nervous, afraid and uncertain.

I’ve used these questions to find a therapist for myself. In the beginning I was a little nervous, but in the end I felt empowered to hire the right person to help me.

Brad Pitt Just Made a Really Good Point About Therapy, a Huffington Post article by Allison Fox points out that you need to shop around to find the right therapist. Just like Brad Pitt, we need to take the time and energy to locate a suitable person.

Remember, you are searching for someone who can help you on your journey to good health. Take the same time and consideration you would make for any important decision. You will be so glad you did because you’re worth it!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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Why I Believe We Should Look Beyond Mental Illness 'Labels'

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Labels. What defines them as acceptable? What makes them tolerable in our society? A label is a defining term used to describe someone or something. It’s a word people can identify with because it’s a generalization of a certain group of people, a look or behavior or belief. A label can be useful, but for mental illness, it can sometimes be degrading, demeaning and hurtful.

In the last six months, I have accumulated some different labels: borderline personality disorder (BPD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and depression. I never even expected to be hit with one label, let alone three. Three mental illnesses trapped inside my body, making me feel this inexplicable feeling inside.

The Labeling Theory is how people identify with their own self-identity. This self-identity could be influenced by the terms used to classify them. This theory was popular back in the 1960s, and 70s. Modified versions of the theory have been invented as well that are still popular today.

I find associating with my labels helps me to identify my problems, but it doesn’t teach me how to fix them. I mean, the whole point of recovery is to get better, right? Solve the problems, get back on track, that sort of thing. For me, having a label that doesn’t do anything to fix the problem is kind of pointless. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for wearing my labels proudly and showing the struggles I have overcome. Wearing my labels comforts me sometimes, but I somehow still end up unable to function some days. How do I deal with that?

I find my labels sometimes make me feel worse. I wear them proudly on the outside, but on the inside they sometimes make me cringe. Sometimes, I hate having labels. I hate being those labels. I hate when people use my labels to define who I am. That is something I will not tolerate. I am not a label or a bunch of labels. I am a person. A person of value. A person who needs some help. A person who desires to be happy and loved.

Labels tend to be words that can seem general to others, but to those of us who actually identify with those labels, it’s not so nice all the time. I can often overthink and stress about the label I have been given. I don’t want to, but I can’t help it. It’s my natural reaction to being worried about what people will think of me when I have to have the “mental health conversation” — especially with someone I’m interested in having a relationship with. Warriors, you know what I mean. Happens every time.

Having a label can lead to other things such as stigma and discrimination. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “The lives of people with mental health conditions are often plagued by stigma as well as discrimination. Stigma is a negative stereotype. Stigma is a reality for many people with a mental illness, and they report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life.” This shows having a label can affect how others treat people with a mental illness.

Here is another longer and more detailed description that explains the effects of stigma on a mental illness. It correlates to having a label because I believe the label is what gives people stigma in the first place. The Canadian Mental Health Association states, “There are significant consequences to the public misperceptions and fears. Stereotypes about mental health conditions have been used to justify bullying. Some individuals have been denied adequate housing, health insurance and jobs due to their history of mental illness. Due to the stigma associated with the illness, many people have found that they lose their self-esteem and have difficulty making friends. Sometimes, the stigma attached to mental health conditions is so pervasive that people who suspect that they might have a mental health condition are unwilling to seek help for fear of what others may think. Experiences of stigma and discrimination is one of their greatest barriers to a satisfying life.”

So what is the point? I believe we need to get rid of labels and start loving people for who they are, not what a label says they are.

Now, I hope you’ve all learned something here because I have. I learn new things about mental illness every day. I learn about how many people have had it for so long, how many people developed a mental illness so young and many other things. It’s mind-blowing for me to try and understand all of it. I wish there was a way to consume a lot of information about one topic at a time but the only way to do that is to read. One page at a time. So I guess I just have to keep reading and talking to other people who want to share their stories with me.

One significant thing I have learned I can leave you with is to look beyond the labels. Look at the substance, the human substance. The human substance is worth more than anything. I believe people are worth so much more than their mental illness and their label. A label is just a word. Do not be afraid of those of us who have a mental illness.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via miflippo.

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What I Tell Myself When My Mental Illness Makes Me Feel 'Less Than' Others

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Some days I feel like I am weaker than other people due to my mental illnesses. I feel like other people are resilient and able to deal with everyday stress. I feel like others can be transparent and open about themselves. I feel like other people are happier and more likable. I feel like they are stronger.

In contrast, I feel like I am weak. So many things trigger me. A crowded place can cause a panic attack. A topic of conversation can trigger a flashback. When someone asks me how I am doing, I always hesitate. Do I share the whole truth or just the safe parts? I am continually worried about how people will judge me since my life experiences and thoughts are different from “the norm.”

I look at my classmates and it seems like they all have it together. They seem more self-confident. They seem happier. They are able to talk about their lives without hesitation. I wish I could be stronger, like them.

But then I remind myself of a few other things that are true:

Everyone has struggles I know nothing about. We all work to seem like we have it all together. But everyone has stuff. I just have different stuff on my plate. Yes, my mental illnesses make me more vulnerable to stress, but I have grown so much as a person through my journey with mental illness. In many ways my illnesses have made me stronger. Someone who hasn’t had struggles like I have might have difficulty responding to a crisis. I have coping skills. And there isn’t much that can shock me at this point.

People often talk about survivors. We talk about someone surviving a fire or a hurricane. We talk about someone surviving heart surgery or a lung transplant. We talk about someone surviving other serious illnesses. We talk about people surviving the loss of a friend, relative or pet.

In all of these examples we focus on the strength of the survivor, not the vulnerability caused by the storm. So why is that when we talk about suicide, a mental health crisis, chronic mental illnesses or a mental breakdown, we often blame the person?

I want to tell people instead, “You are so strong. You survived mental health issues including a hospitalization and a suicide attempt. You are a survivor.”

I want to tell people, “You are so strong. You survived weeks of a depressive episode. You fought through it.”

I want to say, “You survived a manic episode. You survived a flashback. You survived a dissociative episode. You survived a battle with self-harm.”

I want to say, “You are battling addictions or thought patterns that are incredibly difficult. You are a fighter.”

My counselor tells me I am like someone with a heart condition. I have difficulty handling stress so I have to be careful not to push myself too hard. Like how someone with a heart condition can’t exert himself too much and put stress on his heart. But at the same time, he says I am a warrior who has fought through so much and not given up. I think someone can be vulnerable and strong at the same time.

I want to encourage you that you are not “less than” others due to having mental illnesses. Everyone has their own battles. Our struggles with mental illness can make us vulnerable at times, but also make us survivors.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via brickrena.

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