Other Mental Health

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    Community Voices

    The FaceTime Call That Changed My Life

    I’d heard about suicide here and there when I was growing up, but I’d never been or known someone affected by it. That all changed in February of 2017. I had switched from a private school for kids with disabilities to homeschooling after being severely verbally bullied. Among many other health issues, including being a twin preemie, I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at birth.

    Thursday February 2, 2017–I had just finished up my last subject with my grandmother (who was my teacher), when I got a text that made my heart skip a beat. It was from one of my oldest friends (who also attended said school) telling me that she was going to FaceTime me and that my grandmother should be on the phone. I didn’t think anything of it at the time (I figured she was home sick from school or something), but when I answered the call, she was sobbing. I mean, full-on, ugly sobbing.

    In all the years we’d known each other, I think I’d seen her cry maybe once or twice. When she finally calmed down enough to speak, the four words that she managed to get out made my heart stop completely. ‘Steve Thompson committed suicide.’ I don’t remember much about that day, but I remember just sitting back in my chair and just staring blankly ahead, her words not registering at first. When they finally did, it was like running into a brick wall.

    My grandmother asked me what was wrong, but I was crying too much to speak. When I finally calmed down, all it took was those four words for us to break down all over again. Despite him being two years younger than me (three years younger than my friend) I had known him since Grade 2. In the classes we shared, he was always smiling and laughing and happy.

    To this day, I still don’t know if he was struggling with anxiety or depression or some other mental illness, but whenever I see his picture or hear his name, I have to bite back tears. A few years after his death, I created a website focused on suicide prevention. Maybe one day, it’ll turn into a non-profit. I’ve also participated in several suicide prevention runs.

    The website is still running strong, with a blog centered on suicide prevention and other mental health issues related to suicide. More than anything, though, I wish that he’d felt comfortable to talk to someone about what he was facing. Maybe it could have helped. I’ll never know now.

    If you know someone who is struggling with depression or anxiety or any other mental health issues, reach out to them. Your phone call/text might be the only thing keeping them off the ledge. Take it from me, someone who has struggled with anxiety for most of her life and did, at one point, consider ending it all.

    You matter. You are loved. Whatever you’re going through, you don’t have to go through it alone. Your family, friends, significant others—all of them love you and would be absolutely devastated if anything happened to you. Don’t keep it bottled up. Talk to someone you trust.

    Community Voices

    What people don’t see

    People only see part of it. They see the out bursts and the negative side effects but, they do not see the rest. They do not see it when I cry. The internal struggle that happens constantly within me. How much energy it takes to just breathe.

    You’re happy that I am nice instead of mean, or that I kept my mouth shut….but you do not know what that cost me. It costs me my sanity most days. You get mad because I get quiet and just say one or two words, you don’t get that inside I am raging and I do not want to say the wrong thing. That I want to react, and it is taking all of me not to do the bad thing.

    I am in constant turmoil. I am damned if I do and damned if I do not. What am I supposed to do? You want to know how I am feeling then it is like I am getting I to trouble for feeling that way. You get tired of going through the same shit over and over again…you only get that part of the time. I deal with it ALL the time. I get tired of feeling.

    I put on a smile, make people laugh, because I hope that they never feel even half as much as I do. I am miserable with all the conflicting thoughts inside of me. I don’t do anything with my life because I no longer know what to do, what I should do, what I am supposed to do. If I do something I’ll end up disappointing at least one person. It is better to not try and disappoint everyone.

    People don’t get it, the constant “on” inside. This isn’t just a monologue, there are literal fights that happen. Rational vs irrational. Good vs bad. Act vs don’t act. And on and on. And that isn’t even adding in my other mental health issues. Everything is always constant and reinforcing everything else…people think they understand, and they try to, but they don’t fully understand how it is.

    #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #miserable #alone #MentalHealth #Ugh

    10 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    I'm new here!

    I'm Sarah Phillips, a young girl who is trying my hardest to live my life to the fullest despite having to live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, for short) for a majority of my youth.

    I was diagnosed with PTSD in September 2013 at the age of 11, and have been fighting hard since then. It's hard, but I'm still trying and I am NOT giving up anytime soon.

    I want to help others who are struggling with PTSD, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression , and other mental health issues. Life with these mental health issues is hard... VERY hard, but you gotta keep fighting, no matter what happens.

    Remember, things CAN get better. You are important. You matter. You are loved. Life IS still worth living, even if you don't think so at some point.

    " Every world has its end. I know that's kinda sad, but... That's why we gotta live life to the fullest in the time we have. At least, that's what I figure." (Sonic the Hedgehog, 2009, Sonic and the Black Knight)

    3 people are talking about this
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    I can’t overcome my trauma towards phones

    I need advice, desperately.. if anyone is willing to read this..

    I have #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder as a result of multiple occurrences of betrayals by males throughout my life. I was diagnosed 6 years ago after getting out of a 2 year relationship with someone who manipulated my emotions, cheated on me, endlessly gaslit me and destroyed my sense of self. I was 17 when we started dating (he was 23) and I caught him 3 times soliciting nudes from women and sexting. The final time I caught him (either at night when he thought I was sleeping, or when I finally cracked and went through his phone) I had a major mental breakdown and went on a 1.5yr long bender abusing drugs and sex.

    Fast forward to today, I’m 26, and I have worked hard to better myself and my life - I genuinely feel proud of my progress. My current partner of 4 years has been a great help, and has been very kind towards my mental health journey, as rocky as it’s been.

    That said, I find myself unable to trust him. I have noticed he is secretive about his phone at times (I do have his passcode) and constantly has it on him. He closes his apps when I get close to him (he says it’s a reflex). He only uses certain apps when I’m around, even though he has 30+ (he says he never uses the other apps, he just likes having a lot of them). Often I wake up and he is already on his phone. Recently I’ve felt like he was using it when I was asleep (after we went to sleep together).

    I’ve also started to notice he denies things that I know are true in unrelated conversations. I’m not sure he’s being intentionally deceitful, but it just seems like there’s always an explanation.

    I feel myself on the brink of a breakdown and I feel afraid. I truly cannot tell if I am delusional and projecting my fear that he will cheat on my like my ex did, or if he is genuinely showing red flags. I confront him when I feel it and there’s always an explanation. He is always understanding and I always end up apologizing for accusing him - but rarely do I feel like the explanation fully covers my anxieties over whatever I confronted him about.

    A night ago I woke up randomly in the middle of the night and I saw him putting his phone away as I turned around to face him. I asked in that moment why he was on his phone and he was adamant he wasn’t. I was so sure I saw it, and he swore on everything that he was not on it. I asked why he was awake then and he said he was just turning over, he randomly wakes up too etc etc…. I feel like I am losing touch. I keep bursting into uncontrollable sobbing when I’m alone. I have no proof that he has lied to me or hid something from me on his phone, but I feel so strongly that something is being hidden from me. It’s tearing me apart. I feel like I must be delusional and it’s pushing me to disassociate.

    Please, someone if you read this far tell me what to do. Therapy is not an option where I live, which is abroad and away from all of my family and friends. I dont know what to do anymore.

    #MentalHealth #Anxiety #Relationships #BPDDiagnosis #Depression #OtherMentalHealth

    6 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    What is “Self Love” anyway?

    Greatings my fellow BPD travelers. I’m new here and newly rediagnosed with BPD. Among several other mental health issues on top of my previous conditions and Fibromyalgia. So, I’ve taken to referring to my diagnoses as “BPD & FRIENDS.” I figure since I’ve not much control over the chaos surrounding me yet. I can at least have control in how I explain my Complex BPD, to others. It’s the little silly things that matter most. At this point anyhow. That said! My question causes me distress daily. As I see it stated all over the place. “Practice more self-love!” Which is all fine and good. Though for someone with BPD who doesn’t know what “LOVE” really feels like, what on earth is this “self-love” thing? There is one emotion I know to be mine, and that emotion is “ANGER.” Out of all the emotions too feel, anger is the one I know when I feel it. Don’t know why I’m mad at the planet when I do, but when angry I’m at least feeling something. Even if it’s the one emotion that’s caused me the most life turmoil, by pushing my loved ones away. So, how do you practice this thing “self-love?” When all you know is “self-hatred.” Since my BPD & Friends has caused me emotional retardation ( essentially). #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder

    4 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Ptsd not diagnosed

    Hi there, im LG from Australia.
    Ive been diagnosed with BP2 #, GAD#, Major Depression#. Whilst these certainly fit me as a person the diagnosis of PTSD# has never been made. I grew up with violent parents, step parents, siblings, school bullying as a child, i married a woman who was the younger version of my mum in that physical, emotional, social and financial violence, my ex boyfriend even slapped me around when we were a couple. All the women who had any significance used me as a punching bag literally. The only time i have ever struck another person has been in self defence. I admit that i felt completely powerless physically and emotionally until i left my wife. I have rebelled against any person especially my female priest n female coach. I couldnt accept their directions which ultimately cost me positions of privilege.
    When i umpire afl i cant stand violence n although im great at quelling it, it leaves me flat for a few days. Ive been threatened with assault b4 a game n i went into a foetal position as soon as i got home. My question is, if psychologists, psychiatriatists and other mental health staff cant pick it up where do i go for help next? I feel ive fought every battle with other diagnosis why cant they pick this up?

    Community Voices

    My Mental Health Goals

    Part 1 of 2 When I was a teen to early college age, my main #MentalHealth goal was staying out of an inpatient department of a hospital or #OtherMentalHealth facility. I knew, though I wasn’t yet diagnosed, that there was something wrong with me – that I had some kind of #MentalHealth problem based on my aberrant behavior and how people reacted to me. That fear has never completely left me, though as I’ve grown and learned more about my diagnosis of #BipolarDisorder with #Anxiety , I’ve come to think it is less and less likely. Yet I know that #BipolarDisorder can sometimes lead to #Psychosis and necessitate hospitalization. That’s not as likely to happen to me as a person with #Bipolar2Disorder , but it still crosses my troubled mind.

    Later in life, it became my goal to find a therapist and a psychiatrist who could help me. I tried various ones, including ones through EAPs, therapy groups, and couples counseling. Some seemed to help, but others were spectacular failures. Some positively shredded me, leaving me worse off than when I came in. Others misdiagnosed me (which I can’t really fault them for, as #Bipolar2Disorder was a rare or even nonexistent diagnosis when I started looking for help). Among other things, I learned that group therapy was not for me. And I learned that Prozac did help, at least to some extent.

    At that point, my main #MentalHealth goal was to find someone who could tell me what was happening to me and to figure out what could help. I no longer remember how I found him, but eventually I came to Dr. R. He was the one who finally gave me the correct diagnosis. Then my #MentalHealth goal became finding a medication that would help me with this new diagnosis better than Prozac did.

    Dr. R. was patient with his patient. He and I began a journey that lasted for several years, trying one medication after another and then combinations of medications, in hopes of finding a “cocktail” of drugs that worked for me. That became my new #MentalHealth goal – along with enduring the years of failures as just the right combination eluded us.

    One of my other (it seemed irrational) fears and #MentalHealth goals was to avoid being subjected to electro convulsive therapy (ECT). But that became a real possibility when my case proved so resistant to medication that Dr. R. recommended it. I freaked out. It seemed that my fears were about to become reality. I eventually agreed with him that it might be necessary and began to prepare myself for what had seemed to me like an ultimate horror, right up there with being hospitalized.

    Fortunately, however, Dr. R. had one more medication in his arsenal and it proved so effective that the ECT was deemed unnecessary. We achieved that effective cocktail of medications that would stabilize me.

    Then Dr. R. retired. Immediately, my new #MentalHealth goal was to find a new psychiatrist who could prescribe for me and a therapist who could help me with the day-to-day difficulties of living with #Bipolar2Disorder . It took a while to find a psychiatrist who had an opening – though with a wait of about six months. (My primary care physician continued writing prescriptions for me while I waited.) Eventually, I found Dr. G., who said that, as I was fairly well stabilized on my assorted medications, he needed to see me only four times a year for maintenance and to tweak my meds if I encountered any further difficulties.

    It was also time to choose a therapist, and my goal became finding one that I meshed with. (I had learned this was necessary from all the bad experiences that I had had in the past.) I started “interviewing” therapists. I tried to find one that had dealt with #MoodDisorders in the past, wasn’t a Freudian, and could come at things from a feminist perspective. I found Dr. B. I wasn’t exactly typical of her patients. She dealt mostly with college students. (Her practice was in a clinic within the Student Union building at a university that was, fortuitously, right down the road from me.) I have been with her and Dr. G. ever since.

    My current #MentalHealth goal is to maintain – the medications I’m stabilized on and the sessions with Dr. B. to help me navigate through the difficulties such as #Anxiety that

    Community Voices

    My Mental Health Goals

    Part 2 of 2 still pop up from time to time.

    It’s a whole lot better than having that goal to stay out of a mental hospital.

    1 person is talking about this

    How I Wish Health Provider Would React to Seeing 'Anxiety' in My Chart

    I dread going to the doctor’s office. I don’t know many people who actually enjoy receiving health care, but I find it’s a very anxiety -inducing experience. I hate that sterile smell that’s characteristic of doctor’s offices and hospitals, and it makes me feel a little uneasy just thinking of it because I can distinctly smell it in my mind. It’s not just that I get anxious about diagnostic tests, physicals, blood tests, needles, and the usual experiences that come with those spaces; it’s that I often find I’m treated poorly for having anxiety . I’ve had a number of unfortunate experiences with doctors who either don’t know how to deal with anxiety properly, or don’t know how to best support people with anxiety . So, if you’re a health care provider, these tips are for you: 1. Take anxiety seriously. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been dismissed by health care practitioners who brush off certain symptoms as “just anxiety. ” More often than not, anxiety and other mental health conditions are treated as less serious or severe than physical health issues, so doctors can be very dismissive of someone with anxiety . So if you’re with a patient and know that they have anxiety , don’t diminish how serious and debilitating it can be. Don’t tell us that “it’s all in our heads” or to just exercise more, because it isn’t always that simple. Anxiety is one of the most serious health conditions I deal with, and I want support from a health care system that recognizes its gravity. 2. Be mindful of health anxiety. I have a lot of trauma from poor health care that I’ve received. I’ve spent time in psych wards, and some of my most significant trauma arises from those experiences — often at the hands of terrible health care practitioners. So when I have anxiety about going into hospitals or health care spaces, it’s not coming out of nowhere. I need to be reassured and made comfortable in an environment that evokes a lot of intense emotions. It’s dismissive and scary when health care providers don’t take health anxiety seriously or brush it off. For example, I get so anxious when getting bloodwork done that I throw up every single time, and I always tell the nurse that but they never seem to care. These things might seem small or easy to someone who is in health care environments every day, but for those of us with health anxiety or trauma , it’s a big deal. 3. Let me have a say in my health care. Since I’ve had significant mental health care challenges, and been “locked up” in the hospital before, I don’t always feel like I have a say in my own health care. I’ve been in situations where I felt I couldn’t discuss medication or treatment options — I just had to do what I was told, and it made me feel powerless. I had a great doctor once who was the first person to ask me “what do you think will help?” and “what are you comfortable with trying,” and it was a game changer. We deserve to have an opinion or conversation about our health care. I need to feel like I’m a part of the process so that I feel comfortable about the health care choices being made. If I feel like medication or treatment isn’t working, or if I feel uncomfortable with trying a treatment method, I need that opinion to count for something, and I need the freedom to choose. It’s not fair to be told what to do without any discussion or conversation. 4. Don’t dismiss health concerns as ‘just anxiety .’ Just because a person has anxiety , it doesn’t mean that they’re immune to other health conditions. In fact, it’s probably the opposite because anxiety can be linked to a number of health issues. so if you see a patient with anxiety in their chart complaining of chest pains or with an elevated heart rate, don’t just assume it’s anxiety without doing your due diligence. A small example of this is acid reflux — I have gastroesophageal reflux disease ( GERD ), and one of the main symptoms I deal with is chest pain. In order to deal with that, I have to take a proton pump inhibitor, and no amount of therapy for my anxiety can make it go away. It’s important that doctors consider other health care concerns before automatically assuming it’s “just anxiety. ” While this is a small example, it can have very dire impacts for health conditions such as asthma or even heart attacks — heart attack symptoms for women are very similar to anxiety or panic symptoms. Whether it’s at a hospital, a doctor’s office, or a clinic, it’s usually a frustrating and disappointing experience when it comes to anxiety . And I know that there are good doctors out there — I have a few friends that are wonderful doctors — but it seems harder and harder to find them. It shouldn’t be so difficult to get quality health care where my anxiety isn’t dismissed or belittled, and where my voice is heard in all aspects of my health care. It makes it difficult to reach out for medical support when I need it because I rarely receive the care I deserve. On top of that, having had a lot of trauma at the hands of health care providers doesn’t foster a trusting doctor-patient relationship . I do my best not to let those experiences cloud my vision when seeking out health care, but it’s hard not to be wary when you’ve been traumatized multiple times. I also know that it isn’t always the health care provider’s fault. They’re forced to take on more patients, move faster, and not overburden the system. There’s barely enough time to read a patient’s chart, let alone spend time talking to a patient to get their perspective. But I worry that in the pursuit of efficiency, we’re compromising patient care and putting people’s lives at risk. I hope that there’s more support built for health care practitioners. Because while I have a lot of issues with my experiences, I know they deserve better, too. Better pay, better hours, better support. So I hope that we foster better conditions for our health care workers, who try tirelessly to help people. Because the only way for us to receive better care with anxiety is to ensure that those providing care are taken care of as well. For more on what to say (and not say) to someone with any health condition, check out The Mighty’s Patient Translator .