MIAW: The truths about Mental Illnesses

There’s a lot of misconceptions of mental illnesses and maybe from the outside, these are hard to see, but I don’t know.

These days, mental illnesses are very much romanticised and made to be a positive thing. Often this is portrayed in medias such as TV shows.

First off, depression is not always caused by bullying. Or even abuse. Depression can hit anyone. Traumatic events are not the thing to determine whether someone is suffering with depression or not. Yes, traumatic events can most certainly trigger it off, but it does not mean you have to have suffered something traumatic to be depressed.

Depression isn’t just a feeling of sadness either. It’s actually much more complicated that that. Some people dislike it when people say they “feel depressed” because depression is an illness. I am not one of these people, however. I do believe people can experience feeling depressed without actually suffering from depression. Feeling depressed can feel like a variety of things. Sometimes it’s having no emotions at all, other times its a dark place beyond sadness. Sometimes the feeling of depression could be caused by a loss of a loved one. But this does not mean they are going to need medication to help. Depression is a complicated thing to say the least.

Anxiety is another complicated one. Like feeling depressed, feeling anxious is a normal emotion all humans will at some point probably encounter. But there’s a difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder. If you suffer with anxiety, as in the illness, you panic about the smallest of things. Again, anyone can panic about small things but over time, they can get over them. When suffering from an anxiety disorder, this is a much harder process to overcome.

OCD is another form of an anxiety. Standing for over compulsive disorder, OCD affects individuals through creating an anxiety about specific rituals. This could be a fear of certain numbers, such as odd or even numbers. People often say about straightening something up turning up the TV that one extra notch just so it’s on an even number and claims it’s annoys them otherwise. While the acts could be done by someone with OCD, it doesn’t just annoy them. It can make them incredibly anxious. OCD can come in different forms, such as some people might get paranoid over germs. Sometimes it could just be very specific rituals or routine which upsets them if it is disrupted or they cannot complete it for ever reason. So next time someone straightens up some pens because it was annoying them, please don’t call them OCD. It is much more complicated than just that.

Eating disorders can get a little more confusing in the respects there are multiple under this category. Some people may be purposely trying to lose weight, others may not.

I feel people often just think of anorexia, maybe bulimia, when eating disorders are mentioned. I feel people often think it’s all about people wanting to lose weight. But people forget it’s not. Binge eating is an eating disorder too. And a common one. A person may be ashamed of their body but still continue to binge eat as a coping mechanism. Some people may feel comfort from restricting themselves from food while others gain comfort from eating food. People shouldn’t forget this. There is more to eating disorders than just anorexia and bulimia.

My experiences

Mostly what I have written above is more generalised. I don’t suffer with OCD myself but I know it’s very misunderstood. And the same with Binge eating within the eating disorder category. So I haven’t written a huge amount about them because everyone suffers differently and I don’t want to create a stereotypical OCD suffers e.c.t. so I’m going to share my own experiences with depression, anxiety and anorexia.

For me, depression can really vary from day to day. Some days getting out of bed is hard, other days I can get out of bed okay but I might not want to talk to anybody or just feel like crying whilst on other days I don’t feel a drop if emotion. But this isn’t all of what depression has been like for me.

Activities I would usually enjoy can suddenly become of no interest to me or like chores. Some days I don’t want to do anything at all and might just put on the TV to pass time. I suppose watching TV all day might sound fun to some people, but for me, it’s not so much. I may have work I know I need to do but have no motivation to do it. But it’s not the usual no motivation of not being bothered, it’s no motivation as you don’t see the point. And there’s no way you’re going see the point in completing a bit of school work when you can hardly find the motivation to leave your bed because “what’s the point?”

Anxiety, on the other hand, does the complete opposite and sometimes I almost thankful for having both anxiety and depression. Without anxiety, there would be no way my work would ever get done. But because of the anxiety of not doing it, eventually, I will be able to get it done.

Sometimes the anxiety is stronger than the depression (and vice versa) which can make simple tasks of going to school or even out to the supermarket with my mum a complete nightmare. While most people understand why they feel anxious, such as they are doing a presentation in front of the class, many times I do not know what is causing the anxiety. There’s days I can have panic attacks without any decent reason to actually have one.

As for panic attacks, I feel anxiety is made out to be something you have a lot of panic attacks with. This is not necessarily true. I have suffered with anxiety for multiple years and panic attacks haven’t been a huge problems from what I can remember. Panic disorder on the other hand would be leading to more panic attacks.

Anorexia is a disorder I’ve developed more recently, most likely through anxiety and depression. Yes, it is restricting your food intake to lose weight but it’s also a lot more complicated than that. Before I ever suffered from anything like this, I did partially think anorexia is a choice, because you choose to not eat as much. But now I see how yes, although you do choose to eat less, it’s because if the overwhelming and overpowering thoughts in your head and suddenly it basically stop becoming a choice. You them have to choose to eat more and recover. But it’s the thoughts that control it.

I think the scary thing is, I used to sit at a table with friends wolfing down pizza, claiming I could never be anorexic. But that’s where you can see it is a disorder you don’t choose. I never saw myself suffering with such a thing, but here I am, suffering with what I said I could never be.

 

Please feel free to share your experiences with any mental illnesses and how it has affected your life and/or your way of thinking. It’s important to let people know what mental illnesses are really like.

 

Lou x

 

 

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