Community Voices

Bad appointment with the ENT

I am so sad and frustrated by the way the doctor spoke to me today. I don't know why he was so dismissive and rude.  He offered me nothing for my hyperacusis and tinnitus except "wear ear plugs and change your lifestyle i.e. don't go to concerts, restaurants etc. (which I haven't done in years).  As if avoidance and isolation help.  I think he thought I was mentally ill.  I know about TRT but can't afford it.  So depressed and discouraged.

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Community Voices

If you're a #SuicideLoss survivor, what's one thing you wish others understood?

Losing a loved one to suicide carries a unique kind of grief. If you lost someone to suicide, what's one thing you'd want someone to know about your experience? #MentalHealth #Suicide #Depression

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Report Confirms 'Superman' Actress Margot Kidder Died By Suicide

When actress Margot Kidder died on May 13 at the age of 69, no cause was released. On Thursday, a new report from the  Associated Press revealed Kidder died by suicide. Kidder was known for playing Lois Lane in the original “Superman” films in the 1970s and ’80s. Kidder was a mental health advocate who spoke openly about living with bipolar disorder and addiction. In 2001, she received the Courage in Mental Health Award from the California Women’s Mental Health Policy Council for her work bringing awareness to mental health issues. “It’s a big relief that the truth is out there,” Maggie McGuane, Kidder’s daughter, told the Associated Press. “It’s important to be open and honest so there’s not a cloud of shame.” Suicide is common among older women. According to recent data , women between the ages 45-64 have the highest rates of suicide, which have increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2016. It’s also a leading cause of death for women in this demographic. If this news is hard for you, know you are not alone — and there is help for people who feel suicidal. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Community Voices

What's something you want your younger self to know about #MentalHealth ?

For me, I would want to know that having bad thoughts doesn't make me a bad person, and that you don't have to run away from negative emotions - it's OK to be sad, or mad, or cranky. 

#Anxiety #Depression

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Juliette V.

25 Songs That Describe the 9 Classic Symptoms of BPD

While music isn’t a “cure” for mental illnesses like borderline personality disorder (BPD), oftentimes it can perfectly describe what it’s like to live with them. Because BPD has nine “classic” symptoms, we asked members of our Mighty community to share songs that represent their experience with each symptom. In addition to their song recommendations, we included definitions of each symptom so you can share with a loved one who may not understand. Here’s what our community shared with us: 1. Frantic Efforts to Avoid Abandonment An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection. (via Mayo Clinic) “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me” by Demi Lovato “This is exactly how every single moment of my life is. Yes, no, stay, go, etc. This song describes me 100 percent.” — Brenna B. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day “It describes how I feel when I feel like I’m alone, forgotten, replaced, lost and isolated. It describes the chronic and consistent combination of symptoms and struggles with feelings of failure, preoccupations with loneliness and rejection, emptiness, suicidal thoughts and feeling lost with no sense of self and identity. The second verse even says at one point, ‘I’m walking down the line that divides me somewhere in my mind. On the borderline of the edge and where I walk alone…’” — Kellyann N. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith “[It] accurately describes the fear of abandonment that comes with BPD and the feeling of a ‘favorite person.’ The narrator of the song acknowledges it’s clearly not love between him and the other person, but he wants them to stay anyway to relieve pain. Perfect description is these two lyrics: ‘And deep down I know this never works/ But you can lay with me so it doesn’t hurt.’” — Lisa G. 2. “Splitting” Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization— “I’m so in love!”— and devaluation — “I hate her.” This is also sometimes known as “splitting.” (via National Alliance on Mental Illness) “Please Don’t Leave Me” by P!nk “The lyrics explain how I rage so hard at the people I love most but I’m also desperate for them to not leave. I know I’m ‘a lot’ when I have such a passionate love/hate thing going on, but it’s a package deal.” — Stacey F. “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles “It talks about wanting to be free, but always coming back. I connect with that feeling so much as I try to push away but never can.” — Megan G. 3. Unstable Self-Image Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships. (via National Alliance on Mental Illness) “Control” by Halsey “I feel out of control sometimes and I have a bit of a mean streak where I black out and I get flat-out mean. I feel like a monster sometimes when I get numb, but sometimes I’m such a sweet caring person. I feel like I don’t know who I am.” — Brittney H. “In the Blood” by John Mayer “Talks about the inability to determine whether you are your own self/person, or merely just a repeat of your genetics… I’ve never heard another song that so perfectly describes how I feel about myself — desperately hoping that I am more than my defective genes, but never truly believing I can ever be anything more, no matter what I do.” — Sarah M. “Caught in the Middle” by Paramore “To me, it’s the perfect representation of living with BPD and how I feel I’m being pulled in so many different directions, all at once. Being caught between the expectations of others, the expectations I place on myself, the hurt of the past and the fear of the future and the emptiness I feel inside all the time that perpetuates the hopelessness of making it out (of BPD) alive.” — Sarah M. 4. Impulsive Behavior Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship. (via Mayo Clinic) “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen “The tempo is perfect. When my brain is spinning, it keeps up and fires me up more with every heart pounding chorus.” — Kim M. “Binge” by Papa Roach “There’s two sides to you — one that knows you should control your urges and ‘behave’ as you should; the other that rages against what ‘should be’ from inside, like poison speeding through your body, bending you to its will, desperate for satisfaction, but no amount of indulging ever truly satiates it.” — Sarah M. 5. Suicidal Behavior or Self-Harm Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection. (via Mayo Clinic) “Breathe Me” by Sia “I’m trying to recover from self-harming. I don’t count the days/weeks/months anymore as I know it’s always going to be there, waiting to take hold again. I usually self-harm during BPD/C-PTSD relapses, even though I know it makes everything worse in the long-run.” — April S. “Sober” by Demi Lovato “It perfectly describes my ups and downs. The love/hate relationship I have with myself.” — Mika M. “Never Too Late” by Three Days Grace “It shows me I’m never alone. And it came out around the time those thoughts became prominent.” — Alicia E. 6. Periods of Emotional Intensity Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety. (via Mayo Clinic) “Hysteria” by Def Leppard “Describes an all-consuming feeling that takes control of your senses, your thoughts, your behavior; and there’s nothing you can do in the moment but let it happen, like you’re just along for the ride. ” — Sarah M. “I Love It” by Icona Pop “Everything in this song is intense, and it perfectly describes how I feel everything.” — Krystal T. “Given Up” by Linkin Park “The song perfectly describes the intensity of the emotions and how it feels like we are stuck, alone, suffocating and hyperventilating. It covers the intensity of the range of emotions, like anger, depression or panic.” — Kellyann N. 7. Chronic Feelings of Emptiness Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness. (via National Alliance on Mental Illness) “The Lonely” by Christina Perri “Especially this part that repeats several times: ‘ I’m the ghost of a girl / That I want to be most / I’m the shell of a girl / That I used to know well…’” — Megan G. “Leave out all the Rest” by Linkin Park “I can’t even put these feelings into words. The lyrics speak for themselves.” — Naomi D. “Numb” by Linkin Park “[It’s] always been the song I relate to when it comes to feeling, well, numb. The video also hit home as I am an artist and fought with my mom a lot so I would turn to my art. I felt invisible like the world was speeding by me growing up. I still feel that way more often than not and this song always makes me feel like someone understands.” — Stephanie R. 8. Intense or Uncontrollable Anger Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger — often followed by shame and guilt. (via National Alliance on Mental Illness) “One Step Closer” by Linkin Park “‘One Step Closer’ has been my go-to song when I’m angry for 15 years now. It was the first song I ever heard from them and it really made me feel less alone in my anger.” — Michelle D. “Sober” by P!nk “[It] perfectly describes my situation, especially when I’m at my extreme lowest and highest points. It also perfectly resembles my fear of abandonment, and the lengths at which I take so the people I’m around don’t leave me– which makes being me so frustrating.” — Emily C. “Monster” by Skillet “Definitely ‘Monster’ by Skillet. I think it’s a perfect representation of BPD rage. It describes how we feel a lack of control and suddenly switch to intense emotions. It even includes how it hurts and tears us down and seems to chase after us, even if we don’t want it. It describes the external impact as well as how we feel internally.” — Kellyann N. 9. Dissociation Dissociative feelings — disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity, or “out of body” type of feelings — and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes. (via National Alliance on Mental Illness) “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd “When everything becomes too much, it’s like floating into an abyss inside your head; it’s darker, and a little fuzzy, but it’s warm, and welcoming, and you feel safe in there. That’s what this song feels like when it’s pouring into your ears through a great set of headphones that don’t let a single outside sound in.” — Sarah M. “A Whole New World” by Lea Salonga and Brad Kane “It feels like I am being swept off of my feet into a world of fantasy I’m chasing after, rather than my own reality.” — Tatauq M. “Mad World” by Gary Jules “It’s very sad and kind of floaty — it sounds the way I feel when I’m in a dissociative state.” — Kara D. What would you add?

Self-Care Ideas for a Bad Day

I think that, for most of us, there are times in life when it all just feel like Too Much. There may be some days, weeks, months, maybe even years when – for whatever reason – just getting through the day, or going to work, or putting one foot in front of the other feels hard. Really, really hard. Maybe it’s because you’re wrestling with anxiety, depression or some other mental illness. Maybe it’s because you’ve had your heart broken. Maybe you’ve gone through a physical or emotional trauma. Maybe you’re deeply grieving. Or maybe there’s no easily understood reason for why you’re feeling bad. Whatever the case, I want you to know that it’s OK if you’re going through a tough time. This doesn’t make you any less lovable, worthy or capable. This just means you’re human. Being a human can be a messy, hard, confusing, painful experience sometimes. So if you or someone you love is going through one of these tough times right now, a time where it all just feels like too much, I want to offer up 101 suggestions for self-care to help you or your loved one get through this time. 1. Have a good, long, body-shaking cry. 2. Call a trusted friend or family member and talk it out. 3. Call in sick. Take comp time if you can. Take a mental health day. 4. Say no to extra obligations, chores, or anything that pulls on your precious self-care time. 5. Book a session (or more!) with your therapist. 6. Dial down your expectations of yourself at this time. When you’re going through life’s tough times, I invite you to soften your expectations of yourself and others. 7. Tuck yourself into bed early with a good book and clean sheets. 8. Watch a comforting/silly/funny/lighthearted TV show or movie. (“Parks and Recreation,” anyone?) 9. Reread your favorite picture and chapter books from childhood. 10. Ask for some love and tenderness from your friends on social media. Let them comment on your post and remind you that you’re loved. 11. Look at some some really gorgeous pieces of art. 12. Watch Youtube videos of Ellen DeGeneres and the adorable kids she has on her show. 13. Look at faith-in-humanity-restoring lists from Buzzfeed. 14. Ask for help. From whoever you need it – your boss, your doctor, your partner, your therapist, your mom. Let people know you need some help. 15. Wrap yourself up in a cozy fleece blanket and sip a cup of hot tea. 16. Breathe. Deeply. Slowly. Four counts in. Six counts out. 17. Hydrate. Have you had enough water today? 18. Eat. Have you eaten something healthy and nourishing today? 19. Sleep. Have you slept 7-9 hours? Is it time for some rest? 20. Shower. Then dry your hair and put on clothes that make you feel good. 21. Go outside and be in the sunshine. 22. Move your body gently in ways that feel good. Maybe aim for 30 minutes. Or 10 if 30 feels like too much. 23. Read a story (or stories) of people who overcame adversity or maybe dealt with mental illness, too. (I personally admire JK Rowling’s story.) 24. Go to a 12-Step meeting. Or any group meeting where support is offered. Check out church listings, hospital listings, school listings for examples. 25. If you suspect something may be physiologically off with you, go see your doctor and/or psychiatrist and talk to them. Medication might help you at this time and they can assist you in assessing this. 26. Take a long, hot bath, light a candle and pamper yourself. 27. Read these inspirational quotes. 28. Cuddle someone or something. Your partner. A pillow. Your friend’s dog. 29. Read past emails/postcards/letters etc. from friends and family reminding you of happier times. 30. Knit. Sculpt. Bake. Engage your hands. 31. Exhaust yourself physically – running, yoga, swimming, whatever helps you feel fatigued. 32. Write it out. Free form in a journal or a Google doc. Get it all out and vent. 33. Create a plan if you’re feeling overwhelmed. List out what you need to do next to tackle and address whatever you’re facing. Chunk it down into manageable and understandable pieces. 34. Remember : You only have to get through the next five minutes. Then the next five. And so on. 35. Take five minutes to meditate. 36. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’ll Be OK. 37. Write out a list of 25 Examples of Things You’ve Overcome or Accomplished. 38. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’re a Good, Lovable Person. 39. Write out a list of 25 Things That Make Your Life Beautiful. 40. Sniff some scents that bring you joy or remind you of happier times. 41. Ask for support from friends and family via text if voice-to-voice contact feels like too much. Ask them to check in with you via text daily/weekly. Whatever you need. 42. Lay down on the ground. Let the earth/floor hold you. You don’t have to hold it all on your own. 43. Clean up a corner of a room of your house. Sometimes tidying up can help calm our minds. 44. Ask yourself: What’s my next most immediate priority? Do that. Then ask the question again. 45. Read some poetry. Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver are all excellent. 46. Take a tech break. Delete or deactivate social media if it feels too triggering right now. 47. Or maybe get on tech. If you’ve been isolating maybe even interacting with friends and family online might feel good. 48. Go out in public and be around others. You don’t have to engage. But maybe go sit in a coffee shop or on a bench at a museum and soak up the humanity around you. 49. Or if you’re feeling too saturated with contact, go home. Cancel plans and tend to the introverted parts of yourself. 50. Ask friends and family to remind you that things will be OK and that what you’re feeling is temporary. 51. Put up some Christmas lights in your bedroom. They often make things more magical. 52. Spend a little money and treat yourself to some self-care and comfort. Maybe take a taxi versus the bus. Buy your lunch instead of forcing yourself to pack it. Buy some flowers that delight you. 53. Make art. Scribble with crayons. Splash some watercolors. Paint a rock. Whatever. Just create something. 54. Go wander around outside in your neighborhood and take a look at all the lovely houses and the way people decorate their gardens. Delight in the diversity of design. 55. Go visit or volunteer at your local animal rescue. Pet some animals. 56. Look at photos of people you love. Set them as the wallpaper of your phone or laptop. 57. Create and listen to a playlist of songs that remind you of happier times. 58. Read some spiritual literature. 59. Scream, pound pillows, tear up paper, shake your body to move the energy out. 60. Eat your favorite, most comforting foods. 61. Watch old Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood videos online. 62. Turn off the lights, sit down, stare into space and do absolutely nothing. 63. Pick one or two things that feel like progress and do them. Make your bed. Put away the dishes. Return an email. 64. Go to a church or spiritual community service. Sit among others and absorb any guidance or grace that feels good to you. 65. Allow yourself to fantasize about what you’re hoping or longing for. There are clues and energy in your reveries and daydreams that are worth paying attention to. 66. Watch Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response videos to help you calm down and fall asleep at night. 67. Listen to monks chanting, singing Tibetan bowls or nature sounds to help soothe you. 68. Color in some adult coloring books. 69. Revisit an old hobby. Even if it feels a little forced, try your hand at things you used to enjoy and see what comes up for you. 70. Go to the ocean. Soak up the negative ions. 71. Go to the mountains. Absorb the strength and security of them. 72. Go to the forest. Drink in the shelter, life and sacredness of the trees. 73. Put down the personal help books and pick up some good old fashioned fiction. 74. Remember: Your only job right now is to put one foot in front of the other. 75. Allow and feel and express your feelings – all of them! – safely and appropriately. Seek out help if you need support in this. 76. Listen to sad songs or watch sad movies if you need a good cry. (“Steel Magnolias “, anyone?) 77. Dance around wildly to your favorite, most cheesy songs from your high school years. 78. Put your hands in dirt. If you have a garden, go garden. If you have some indoor plants, tend to them. If you don’t have plants or a garden, go outside. Go to a local nursery and touch and smell all the gorgeous plants. 79. If you want to stay in bed all day watching Netflix, do it. Indulge. 80. Watch or listen to some comedy shows or goofy podcasts. 81. Look for and Google up examples of people who have gone through and made it through what you’re currently facing. Seek out models of inspiration. 82. Get expert help with whatever you need. Whether that’s through therapy, psychiatry, a lawyer, clergy, let those trained to support you do it. 83. Educate yourself about what you’re going through. Learn about what you’re facing, what you can expect to feel, and how you can support yourself in this place. 84. Establish a routine and stick to it. Routines can bring so much comfort and grounding in times of life that feel chaotic or out of control. 85. Do some hardcore nesting and make your home or bedroom as  cozy and beautiful and comforting as possible. 86. Get up early and watch a sunrise. 87. Go outside and set up a chair and watch the sunset. 88. Make your own list of self-soothing activities that engage all five of your senses. 89. Develop a supportive morning ritual for yourself. 90. Develop a relaxing evening ritual for yourself. 91. Join a support group for people who are going through what you’re going through. Check out the listings at local hospitals, libraries, churches, and universities to see what’s out there. 92. Volunteer at a local shelter or hospital or nursing home. Practice being of service to others who may also be going through a tough time. 93. Accompany a friend or family member to something. Even if it’s just keeping them company while they run errands, sometimes this kind of contact can feel like good self-care. 94. Take your dog for a walk. Or borrow a friend’s dog and take them for a walk. 95. Challenge your negative thinking. 96. Practice grounding, relaxation techniques. 97. Do something spontaneous. Walk or drive a different way to work. Order something new off the menu.Listen to a Spotify playlist of new songs. 98. Work with your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist to develop a physical exercise plan and food plan that will be supportive to whatever you’re facing right now. 99. Pray. Meditate. Write a letter to God/The Universe/Source/Your Higher Self, whatever you believe in. 100. As much as you can, please try and trust the process. 101. Finally, please remember, what you’re going through right now is temporary. It may not feel like that from inside the tough time you’re in, but this too shall pass and you will feel different again someday. If you can’t have faith in that, let me hold the hope for you. I hope you found this list of self-care suggestions helpful in some way. But please remember, by no means is this list exhaustive nor will every item on this list possibly feel good and right for you. This list is not meant to be prescriptive, nor do I mean to imply you need to do all or any of these things to take good care of yourself. You are the expert of your own experience and I trust that you know what’s best for you. Really, this list is really just a starting point meant to catalyze your own thinking about how you can best take care of yourself during life’s tough times and to spark your curiosity and interest in strengthening your self-care now and ongoing. Also, my hope is that in reading this you’re also hearing me say how normal and natural it is to struggle and to have these tough, hard times. It’s part of being human. You’re not alone in this. But I have to say: The suggestions in this list are in no way a substitute for care or advice from a licensed mental health care clinician. These are self-care coaching suggestions, not therapeutic advice. Moreover, if you feel suicidal or find yourself having suicidal ideations, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What self-care techniques have really supported you when going through life’s tough times? Let us know one or more ideas, tools or activities that have brought you relief and comfort so that others can benefit from your experience and wisdom. Until next time, take very good care of yourself. Warmly, Annie This piece was originally published on Annie Wright Psychotherapy.

Juliette V.

Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're Feeling Lonely

Loneliness. An often undesirable, but all-too-common part of being human. Maybe you feel lonely when you see acquaintances posting on social media and compare your life to theirs. Maybe you have trouble trusting others and forming deep connections, so you’re left feeling isolated and alone. Or m aybe you grew up experiencing abuse, and live with a void of emptiness that seems to never go away. Whatever the reason may be, experiencing loneliness is tough and it can impact daily functioning. We wanted to know what experiencing loneliness actually “looks” like, so we asked members of our Mighty community to share one thing people don’t realize they are doing because they are lonely. If you are struggling with loneliness, we want you to know you’re not the only one. It’s important to remember it doesn’t matter how powerful or successful someone is — everyone experiences loneliness at some point in their lives. Here’s what our community shared with us: “ I get this weird courage to post to social media, probably a cry for help. When no one replies I delete it.” — Abby D. “ I know this is counterproductive, but if I’m really lonely, I push everyone away. I have no idea why.” — Alicia E. “Talking my co-workers’ ears off at work. I appear to be a social butterfly, however on the inside I just wish I had someone to have a meaningful conversation with. I go weeks sometimes without stimulating talks. It makes you feel pathetic to feel alone in crowds full of people.” — Katy S. “I talk to myself. To an extent, I do it because I’m auditory processing. However, I notice I tend to do it more if I’m alone for a longer period of time or didn’t do much that day. I tend to say my thoughts out loud and process what I’m upset about and talk about what’s on my mind as I’m explaining it to someone.” — Kellyann N. “Posting more than the usual on social media. Sharing more memes, posting selfies, trying to be a bit more sociable than the usual.” — Ternicka M. “I have trouble saying goodbye to family or friends when I’m leaving. I ‘hold on’ to them and keep trying to keep the conversation going because in that moment, I know I’m not alone, but as soon as I leave I’ll be lonely again.” — Megan D. “I obsessively do crosswords and Sudoku — one after the other after the other. I also stay up all night watching mindless YouTube and reading every single comment — not commenting myself.” — Rachael A. “Interacting on Facebook. The interactions can help me feel a little less lonely sometimes, especially in an online group where I’m able to relate to the other people there.” — Christa O. “ Day-dreaming too much. I will also binge watch a television series or movies and ignore everything else… then when the series is over, I end up extremely depressed. I distract myself from my feelings that way… But I end up making myself lonelier in the process.” — Kortney D. “I text all my group chats and ask if anyone has plans and try to get my friends to hang out with me. I also offer to pay for drinks or food or whatever would make them want to be around me, and comment on everyone’s social media posts so they remember me and think I’m worthy of something.” — Kat M. “I get on this online dating site and chat or meet up with people. I don’t want to bother my loved ones, so I meet strangers and chat or hook up. Not proud of it but sometimes I get tired of my mind holding me hostage. As a person, I need some sort of actual human contact. Loneliness is killer.” — Nicole S. “Watching movies and having soul-splitting cries because the movies touch on what’s missing from your life. What you want more than anything. Or they are relatable in that the people are suffering or sick.” — Jade S. “I make up little stories to sound interesting. But I don’t lead a ‘normal’ life, nowhere near as bad as it could be or has been, but all I’m left with is regrets, guilt, depression and the worse anxiety I’ve ever felt. I need some friends or a real hug from someone who just wants to make me feel better and safe.” — Connor P. “I try to find things to do even if nothing needs to be done, like finding clothes to wash, things to clean, etc. Or going out to the city or shops when I don’t actually have a reason for it, I just want to be in public around other people so I don’t feel isolated. I also get more clingy with friends and get very anxious if they don’t reply quickly. At the same time though, I get more withdrawn the longer I am by myself. Sometimes I forget how to socialize properly when I finally do. I’ll freeze up around people and my self-esteem just disappears.” — Johanna M. “ I hum to myself…I realized I do that to self-soothe. I developed heat exhaustion last week and I had to go to the doctor in the middle of the night, and when I was waiting to be seen, I started humming…” — Catherine E. “I get really angry. No one seems to realize I just want a hug or literally a hand to hold, and it gets under my skin. It usually results in my family and friends getting upset with me, and in turn, I’ll retreat to my room.” — Rachel T. “ I tend to play on my phone in public. Even if there’s nothing to do on it so it looks like I’m busy and someone cares. I even do it at home too but at least at home, I can also lose myself in a book.” — Samantha V. “I stay in bed longer because I can’t bear to get up knowing I have no one to talk to. Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone/am more quiet than usual, but I constantly check my phone for messages.” — Emma N. “I have imaginative scenarios where I’m talking to the people I love, but I can never muster up the courage to talk to them because I feel like I’m not worth their time.” — Caelynn C. “I watch a lot of food/travel shows on YouTube to help me escape the reality of my loneliness. Also watching funny videos helps for a moment.” — MJ R. “I work really really hard — almost too hard. I spend too much time at work, and always have to be planning something or doing something. I can’t let my mind relax.” — Kimmi S. “Unintentionally start fights. I come across as pushy and cranky, plus I’m emotional to begin with because I’m lonely.” — Bobbie S. “I post a lot of selfies. Usually on Snapchat. The more snapchat stories I have, the more lonely I’m feeling… I’m hoping someone will comment and strike up a conversation. Unfortunately it’s usually not a conversation I want to have… then I feel used and lied to and it makes it worse. It’s a horrible cycle.” — Scarlett R. “ I read a lot when I’m lonely. Reading transports me the a different place, usually more hopeful.” — Rebecca G. “Putting on my headphones and just listen to music. Focusing on the music makes me feel less lonely.” — Mackenzie B. “Staying at church so long, but I also do it because I love being there, and I love the people there.” — Tammy C.

Erin Migdol

21 Things You've Said If You're a Spoonie

When you have a chronic illness, it’s a bit like joining a secret club. You have certain things in common with your fellow spoonies that “outsiders” may not understand or even know about — let’s be honest, only fellow spoonies get how taking a shower is basically your version of a marathon, or why it’s actually not always “great news!” when your test results come back negative. And if you think about it, you can probably remember a few things you’ve said that only a spoonie would say. It might make no sense to someone who doesn’t have a chronic illness, but to those who do, it’s like you’ve found someone who speaks your language.We wanted to know some of these unique spoonie sayings that bring our community together — those painfully true, often-funny things you might think no one else has said besides you, but actually your fellow chronic warriors will instantly recognize. Below, check out what our Mighty community said when we challenged them to share something they’ve said that only a fellow spoonie would say. Let us know in the comments how many you’ve said, and if you have any to add! Here’s what our Mighty community shared with us: “Stands in front of toaster, points at toaster. Says, ‘That thing right there, the bread thingey.’ Kids say: ‘The toaster?’ Me: ‘Yeah, toaster!’ (Like it’s a revelation!)” — Evylj L. “‘Why are you back in bed?’ husband [says] to me. ‘I am trying to get the energy up to take a shower.’” — Christina G. “Ooh let me show you my new pill box, it’s got lovely big compartments for all my meds.” — Janey G. “On my bad pain days, where it doesn’t require a hospital visit (or even if it does, but I know they’ll give me the same stuff I have at home) I’ll downplay how I’m feeling: ‘It’s bad, but not hospital bad… But I’ll be OK later… Maybe.’” — Celaena W. “My hair hurts.” — Misa H. “Me to my parents and adult brother and sister: ‘You can have me today for BBQ or tomorrow for swimming, you can’t have both.’” — Shawnie G. “I’m so hot. *Four minutes later* I’m so cold.” – Jane B. “To my boyfriend — ‘You’re parking all the way out here and then we have to go to the back of the store? Park closer!’” — Lindsay M. “*Takes all pills at the same time.* *friends, family and nurses stare horrified.*” — Day L. “No, not that purse. I need my pharmacy purse!” — Sara W. “You know how I did that thing today? Yeah. So I can’t do a thing tomorrow.” — Alexandria A. “How many times can I use dry shampoo before I have to take a shower?” — Josie A. “Kids! Pick it up! Mummy doesn’t bend!” — Gabbie J. “I just got out of the bathroom, so you know I’ve got to rest a minute.” — Carol S.” Me: ‘OMG I need a nap.’ Husband: ‘You just woke up thee hours ago!?’ Me: ‘Exactly.’” — Sarah C. “With all the incredulous looks, blank stares and occasional accusations, ‘I know you don’t understand or believe me, but…’ is how many explanations unfold.” — Liz W. “Explaining why I can’t do certain activities takes up at least six spoons. Friends: ‘What if we do that?’ Me: ‘No. I can’t because of this.’ Friends: ‘Why?’ Me: ‘Because this condition affects this condition, which does this.’ Friends: ‘….?’ Me: [frustrated face].” — Katherine S. “While blankly staring at someone who asked me a question, ‘Ummm give me sec, fibro fog is real and it’s a bitch.’” — Stacie B. “Friends: ‘Oh I love this heat, it makes me feel so much better.’ Me: ‘The heat makes my muscles cramp up and my joints ache.’ Friends: ‘Oh I love the sunshine, it makes me feel so much better.’ Me: ‘The brightness makes my eyeballs sting and burn.’ Friends: ‘The summer is my favorite time of year.’ Me: ‘I’ve been trapped indoors for days now.’” — Jo J. “Can you pass the salt, I need to put some in my water.” — Meg S. “*gets up from 14-hour nap and yawns* ‘I’m tired.’” — Elizabeth H.

Jody Betty

Borderline Personality Disorder Affected by a Text Message

The moment my eyes open each morning, the same thoughts run through my head. Here we go again, another day of fighting non-stop battles in my mind; another day in which I begin the day as tired as I end it. The variations of thoughts that can overwhelm my mind in an instant have started; the first domino pushed down as the rest clatter and fall one by one, each affecting the next, the speed picking up as the pattern continues. The rapid, intense and often uncontrollable mood swings are my borderline personality disorder (BPD)’s worst nemesis. Well as much as I want to stay in bed all day, I know I won’t sleep and the lying around will lead to even more destructive thoughts. I wonder if she has texted me. I sit up and as my eyes slowly start to open, I grab my phone, knowing something as small as a text or the lack thereof could set me on a BPD ride for the day. Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with the text — it is usually as simple as a “morning” or an “I hope you slept well,” both perfectly nice messages to wake up to. If for some odd reason I have had a good night’s rest or don’t wake up feeling quite as emotionally drained, it seems so easy to just respond with a “good morning” and continue on with the conversation. However, if I am on the BPD edge, the thought process is quite different. Oh look, she did text… a morning and that’s it? Omg, maybe she is mad at me or upset with something I said or did. Maybe she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore or know how I am doing, or maybe she doesn’t even love me or want to be with me anymore. I don’t blame her, I am impossible to be in a relationship with and maybe I really am not deserving of love and no one wants me. I hate being like this. I hate feeling out of control over these mood swings and I am never going to get better, no matter what pills or what therapy; I am just too damaged to be fixed. At this point, the tears start as I have a morning pity party sitting on the edge of my bed. This sadness and tears often go on for hours as my mind continues to emotionally attack itself, but every time, at some point, the sadness turns to anger. Who cares if she only said morning, I don’t need to wake up to some generalized text anyway. I don’t need to wake up to any texts at all because I don’t need you or anyone. I have gotten this far on my own and I don’t need your help. Besides, it’s obvious you don’t care because if you did you would have said more than just “morning.” You are just like everyone else who loves me on the surface and abandons me, the past repeating itself over and over. Fuck this life and everyone in it anyway. I am alone, a complete failure and a waste of space. I shouldn’t even be alive. I return the text with a casual “morning.” Umm it’s been five minutes and still no answer. Here we go again. Should I ask what I did wrong or just leave it alone? Why won’t she just answer, it only takes a few seconds. Maybe she doesn’t have time to talk to me or really doesn’t want to and is ignoring me. My phone vibrates and I quickly reach for it to read the message — ”how are you?” — and the way I respond may very well set the tone for the day. Does she really want to know how I am or is she just asking to be polite? Should I keep it simple and just say I am OK, or do I be truthful and tell her I have only been up for ten minutes and my emotions are already bouncing up and down? What if she doesn’t want to hear it for the hundredth time? I am sick of listening to myself so why would she want to know. God, I am so pathetic. I decide to keep it simple and reply with an “I’m OK,” to which she replies “good.” Does she seriously think I am OK? Since when am I OK? I am a mess and always will be. Why does she think today would be any different? What is wrong with me that I think like this and why can I not get this BPD under control? She is only asking how I am — a perfectly normal, nice question — and yet my brain takes all these statements and twists them so fast I can hardly keep up. I just want to be “normal,” whatever that may be. Is it going to be another day of this hell? I am so tired already. All these thoughts and emotions have occurred before I have even stood up from my bed — up and down that many times within 15 minutes. Welcome to the beginning of my day and thanks for taking the ride with me. 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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 o r text “HOME” to 741-741 . Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via ChesiireCat

Lavanya Rana

What I Said When Asked Why I Write About Having Borderline

My mom has asked me, on separate occasions, why I write about mental health. Specifically, why do I write about having borderline personality disorder (BPD)? It’s not really a pleasant topic to think about and definitely not to read about. So, why write about it? I haven’t really thought a lot about it until very recently. Well, to answer her question, I must ask another essential question. Why do we watch movies with people who look like us? Why do we love books where characters resemble us? Why do our favorite songs remind us of how we felt on that one hot summer day when we were walking around with that person we were so attracted to and everything felt right and comfortable and amazing? It’s simple, really: we crave representation. We crave being seen and not feeling lonely. We want other people to say, “Hey, I feel this way too. I get how you feel right now; I’ve been there.” And this world is not ready for showing “borderlines” on TV. I mean, we’ve only recently started making more movies and shows that represent depression and anxiety properly (not looking at you, “13 Reasons Why”). A quick Google search will show you that Indian cinema has been terrible, judgmental and stereotypical in its treatment of mental illnesses. I mean, you only need to look at the summary of “Krazzy 4” and the very famous Shah Rukh Khan thriller, “Darr,” to understand that. And so, I know the chances of me seeing someone like me — a 19-year-old, fat, queer Indian girl with self-harm scars and borderline personality disorder, a love for cats and a strong dislike for tomatoes — are slim to none at best. And that’s not counting a role where I might be casually drowning puppies or killing people. So, I write. And of course, whenever I end up writing prose, the characters are all self-inserts. Not all characters, just the leads. Sure, I don’t often finish these writings about borderline personality disorder (it’s just so difficult to write when you have mental illness-induced writer’s block) and I never post them anywhere, but they exist. They are characters who look like me, talk like, think like me, and most importantly feel like me. And even more importantly, I can make them happy. If only in the pages of my notebook, I have people who are living like me and are able to get happy endings. At this point, I want to talk about a phenomenon that happens a lot to queer characters on TV shows. This trope, known as “Bury Your Gays,” is popular in most forms of media containing queer people. Characters come out, only to soon be killed. Their sexuality seems to be just something to get the Liberal rating for the show. And as soon as that is done, they are disposed of, swept under the rug like some inconvenient dust that you can’t get into the dustpan. Queer activists say this practice harms those who don’t identify as strictly heterosexual. Seeing people like you never being given a happy ending, always killed, always hurt, especially in a community that has been relentlessly killed and hurt in real life as well is so, so harmful and dangerous. It is a crime against the whole community. Imagine what it must feel like to never see someone like you: never seeing someone with the same or at least similar struggles as you. And that’s why I write so much about having borderline personality disorder. Because maybe, if one day in the future I am published and a fat, queer, Indian girl with borderline picks up my book, she feels less lonely. She feels that someone else has gone through what I am going through and they are still kicking it. Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to still keep kicking it, but they are. And I will too. Because God knows there are days, so many of them, where I need that myself. Because I, very much like other people, would like to have a happy ending. I would like to envision a future where I can live happily and healthily, with my partner and two cats. A future where I no longer display symptoms of my illness or, well, at least where I am able to deal with them in a healthy way. I would very much like to believe in that. My therapist, my parents and other people close to me often tell me I am quite good with words. Maybe if I saw someone like me actually being successful, I would believe them. A version of this article was originally published on Youth Ki Awaaz. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741741 . For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash