sorry for the long hiatus.. I’ll be a bit more freer for the next two months, until the exam results come out and then which I will start the cycle all over again and prepare for the next exam in March 2019. Persistence and resilience or is it stupidity and foolishness? It’s not clear any more.
Anyways, hope you guys have been well.
Today I would like to discuss why it is so hard to discuss Mental Health…There is more “awareness” of it, but I feel very much so, people are still hiding it and are still afraid. Just like how the homosexuals are more welcome, many still hide their sexual preferences for fear of stigma. People with mental health issues want to pretend that they are normal, they fear people will treat them differently if they disclose…or that they will be afraid/mean or spread rumours.
People can be so mean and cruel, by the things they say intentionally or unintentionally.
To be honest, things like “Mental Health Awareness Month” or “RU OK” days…to me its just “Going through the actions” …no one is going to disclose to you their hidden secret of 10 years of struggling with suicidal thoughts, just coz u asked them if they “R OKAY?”
I suspect the real answer they would give. “Yeah I am fine.” – Hiding, because it takes a lot of courage and strength to admit to someone you are struggling and even more to admit you need help.
I believe through developing our existing relationships better to facilitate more open relationships will instead help build a more caring environment around us so that less people will feel so isolated and alone.
From experience, once someone opens up to you or you to them, you will realise that so many of the things you fear, experience and have gone through, is more common than you think. Your brain tells you, YOU are the only one going through this trial and that NOONE else understands, BUT the truth is, if you reach out, you will find others who DO understand. …
So why not give it a try?
If it’s hard to open up in person to those around you, I see no harm in posting in trusted mental health websites like Beyond Blue or Black Dog Institute. Even on the Mighty websites I have read so many articles that describe situations just like mine, I believe if you start realising that others have gone through, and managed things before you, their wealth of knowledge and experience can be a very valuable thing to have.
A common question I suppose that people that do not have mental illnesses may ask, is..
“How could someone be so stupid to hurt themselves?”
“Don’t be silly, you wouldn’t do that to yourself!”
“How can you be so selfish…thinking about yourself all the time?”.
“Don’t you know by trying to kill yourself, you will make us be sad?”
People who don’t understand mock and make fun of vulnerable people…and yet people wonder why there are so many people that are hurting inside and are afraid to show it…suicidal and people who self-harm are scared..often they don’t want to bring attention to themselves.
Well meaning people that love someone suicidal…make them say ..
“Promise me you will never do that again?”
Do you know what I think that means to me?
If I get suicidal thoughts, I won’t tell you …because I can see how sad it makes you and how upset it makes you…
People who want to end their lives, don’t do it because they want to hurt those who love them around them…they want to lessen the burden that those around them feel..
Often they know they are worried about them…and want to remove that burden from them
Sometimes perhaps no one cares about them and no one would care that they died.
Each case it is different…but most often or not…they just want an end to their suffering…
When getting up each day is a struggle…why would you get up at all? When each day feels meaningless, bleak , hopeless and painful…Why would you want to face the day?
When a simple task like brushing your teeth takes you an hours to get the energy for it…why even bother?
Eating…SO MUCH EFFORT
I know to some this sounds like “laziness” but this can also be called “depression”.
Before you judge someone else for being “lazy”…why don’t you ask them “How are you doing…honestly?”
The world is full of judgmental people…where are all the nice people gone?
Sometimes…we are hurting so much inside…wearing that mask all the time..no one knows how you feel..
Others only notice that you aren’t talking to them as much..
But they don’t really want to know how you are…they just talk to you so that they can talk about themselves. I am sure we are all guilty of it at some stage…but like when it’s like that all the time…the time and energy that we already don’t have…is expended on you…it sucks all energy that is remaining.
So sorry, if I don’t seem like I care about your problems…however, trivial or serious they may be. I need my cup to be full before I can fill yours. I feel like I am lying through my teeth when I try to cheer you up, when I am so down myself.
I took part in an experiment which measured the use of social media in a week, my randomised action was that I had to delete the Instagram app on my phone and not use it for a week. Though I was tempted a few times, I quickly asked my self, is it necessary to show the world where you are? What you are eating? Who you are with?
After some deliberation, I think not. So why do people like to post so many selfies of their face on Instagram?
I have to admit, I didn’t realise that I was so lonely, until I deleted a lot of my apps, Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube, Instagram and realised this is the way we ‘communicate’ with some many people. It is what connects us? Yet, also tears us apart. Is there going to be anyone who wants to meet up with me to catch up instead of sending a message? Truly, I am not sure if the world is closer than before or even further away.
So many people are isolated and lonely…and they can sit in front of a computer or phone screen scrolling through the ‘happy’ snaps that their ‘friends’ are posting of their ‘family’, their ‘holiday’ or their latest ‘home’ that they bought. While I am not saying these things are bad, but do you know what you are doing? Are you trying to rub it into everyone else’s faces that you have it better than them? Are you even genuinely happy or do you just want attention?
As I said, I am full guilty of this…I am insecure, I want attention, I want to fool my self that my life is happier, more interesting and better than it is. I don’t want people to see me down, to see me sad or lonely, I feel like people would criticise me…belittle me.
Recently, I have realised that well-meaning ‘friends’ have offended me greatly. I read a quote today,
It is easier to forgive an enemy than forgive a friend.
It is true though…because we actually care what our friends say and when they make us feel like shit without knowing it, you ask yourself are they even your real friend? They don’t know the struggles you are doing through and are insensitive bitches. This is why I boycotted pretty much all social media. I feel like I am dead, like hardly anyone talks to me now, except family and a few selected friends overseas through Line and Wechat. When did our world become so involved in facebook? Instagram? Snap Chat? When we leave it, it’s like we are dead and forgotten in the world. When we meet someone new, we don’t ask for phone numbers or emails anymore, no we ask for Facebook accounts. SO what if I don’t have one? Are we not going to keep in touch?
It feels weird sending someone a text and them not replying and you not knowing if they have ‘seen it’…but what can we do?
Man, I am getting so hyped up typing this.
So…. back on topic…how do you isolate yourself from social media? Just delete your apps, log out, delete and deactivate your accounts. Hopefully, those that you are actually close to, will call your phone or send you a text.
Addiction to social media is draining, stupid, harmful and time-consuming. It can definitely lead to FOMO and low self-esteem. Live life how you want to live it and stop looking at what everyone else is doing. what happened to human interaction? When did we become part robots with phones attached to our hands?
I am going to off with a quote by Thomas Edison himself…The guy who invented the ‘lightbulb moment! and the light bulb too’ …
“Of inspiration one percent; of perspiration, ninety-nine.” -Thomas Edison
So anyway, the point of this quote is that sometimes I don’t feel like writing because I don’t feel inspired to write…but the thing is… If everyone waited for inspiration before they did something great, we would all be waiting around a lot longer for that season 2 of The Good Doctor (shameless plug for my fave show) or the next series of our favourite Netflix Tv Shows (I don’t have Netflix so I am not sure whats on there..). But yes, the main point I am trying to make is that I will try consistently write in this blog, whether or not I am inspired because I have a lot I want to write about but I sometimes don’t feel it is not good enough, interesting enough or it may be written by someone else better. But anyway, everyone has their unique opinion and view and I am interested in hearing your views too.
Also, shout out to ‘The Mighty’ Autism Facebook page and on the main site here for featuring my post on Autism!! I’ve never had anyone except for my sister edit my work and I am forever grateful that they made my text more readable… Hopefully, thanks to the additional exposure to a greater audience, the awareness of Autism will continue to rise!
Anyways, enough babbling from me and now onto the topic of ‘How you can help someone with a mental illness’..The dos and the don’t dos’..does this sentence even make sense? Well, you get my drift right?
1. Please do take it seriously when we disclose to your our mental illness…
It takes a lot of courage and boldness to share about our internal struggles with the outside world. A lot of hurt, addictions and the stigma that surrounds it can prevent us from sharing. We get affected by how you react, how you might think and the way you may behave towards us after we share with you. No, it’s not just going to go away, it is there for life. Sure, we can manage it with drugs, therapy, and lifestyle changes, but it is a part of us and it has shaped us to be who we are today. So, please don’t belittle our condition, it’s not like we chose to be born with it..or for it to be part of us.
2. Don’t compare my struggles to your own life-every story and person is different.
This is more so for the people who don’t have the mental condition you have and they try to dismiss your anxieties as something that will pass…They even might say… “I had it worse than you in my own days!” Often this is said by a well-meaning older person to cheer the sad younger person up… but it does NOT help. Your circumstances and mine are different, we are two different people and just because you can’t see my illness, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. From my own personal experience, being brought up in an Asian Christian family meant that Mental Illness is the taboo topic that no one talks about and it made me believe I was flawed and that I had to keep my struggles to myself. I have nothing against Christianity, but I do believe they need to acknowledge that Mental Illness is real as high blood pressure is and may need treatment! Back when I was going through a really hard time due at an old workplace, I finally saw a GP about my insomnia and he diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. He said I should see a psychologist and that I should start medication. I didn’t really want to start medications, so I said I would think about it. I talked to my leader at that church about it and they advised me not to take medications, but to pray to God to heal me instead. So, I continued my suffering…until it got so bad and the suicidal thoughts were real…I talked to a pastor of the church about my struggles and she was like…start the medication…You are in such a bad place-even faith can’t help you right now. Anyways, point being, mental illness is a real condition and while it cannot be cured, you can ‘manage’ it.
3. Do keep in touch regularly with your friend/family member that is struggling in their mental illness and don’t take it personally if they are not as ‘happy and fun to be around’ or ‘outgoing’ as they used to be
Having personally experienced multiple depressive episodes, I know the struggles and difficulties of even getting up in the morning from bed! A social gathering with many people I don’t know very well? That’s like me climbing Mt. Everest mate! That’s a lot of effort for someone with social anxiety and depression. While we don’t want to be alone, we don’t have the energy to interact with people and to pretend to be happy and nice to people when we are dying inside. I have had to cancel on numerous people due to being sick because I have been too anxious and had panic attacks… Most people don’t even know I have them, because I am usually reluctant to go out if I feel one coming on. I once went out with someone, who took my panic attack symptoms to be a joke. Literally. They just laughed at me and did not take me seriously…That…really hurt…and made me want to avoid all social contact for a while ( and avoid them)…until I started to trust and build a closer friendship with people that aren’t like them. There are people who will understand you and there are people who don’t and you don’t have to be friends with them. Eff them. Sorry for the angry rant and bad language… What was I talking about again? Oh yes, please continue to reach out to them! Maybe you can’t physically meet up with them, but you can message them with encouragement, love and let them know that anytime they need/want to talk that you are there for them..<3
4. Do Help them with resources to help themselves and encourage them to seek help
If someone tells you they are struggling, don’t think that you are now responsible for their well-being and to prevent them from doing harm to themselves. Yes, you care about them, but well all aren’t a trained professional therapist (that’s great if you are! keep doing a good job) and psychiatrists. So, while we can offer peer support, we can help them with real therapy and medications. Let them know about different helplines, drop in places and understanding GPs that can help point them in the right direction. If they are worried about going to their first therapy alone, maybe offer to accompany them for the first few times, until they feel comfortable going alone. Help them build a support network for themselves and this helps you as well so that you don’t have to bear the full weight and responsibility for their well-being. Recommending good articles, websites, books, music, and movies about mental health also help increase their knowledge about the disease too.
5. Don’t stereotype people by their mental illness
I’ve touched on this in a way on my post about Myths about Autism. Mental illness manifests differently in everyone and by judging you aren’t helping the situation. Even if we have a common certain mental illness, each person’s experience of it is different. After learning that I might have autism, I have since then had the opportunity to meet many others that also have autism…and I can say without a doubt, that they come in all shapes and sizes. Extroverts, introverts, non-verbals and just your everyday quiet dude and they are mostly all interesting people. There is no point in trying to generalise, but there are common traits. One other thing I thought I may add here, is that I have found sometimes doctors don’t take a certain physical symptom I have seriously because they think it is due to ‘my mental illness’. This can include things like my asthma and recurrent migraines (oh it’s just because of your panic attacks, anxiety, and insomnia!) ..but the thing is I literally can’t breathe MADAM and I also have asthma… Also, I have ended up in the hospital due to my ‘migraines’… Hope you get my point.
Anyways, I am sure there are many more dos and don’t do in interacting with people with mental illnesses. I am curious as to what people have said to you because of your mental illness – Please comment below.
Sorry, it is a somewhat angry post…I not only want to be angry, but I also to change the situation by writing this in the hopes that you can better support those with mental illness.
This is one of the most used statements I have heard recently, what does it actually even mean to be yourself? What if you don’t even know who you truly are? That’s a scary thought and I think it is one that many ask themselves privately.
I grew up being a little odd and my mother often called me stubborn. Other girls made fun of my hair and people at church talked about me and my obsession with black clothes and fingernails. But, back when I was younger, I didn’t really care what others thought, I just wanted to be left alone and do things that I wanted to.
It is funny how, as I grew up, I became less of myself and more like those around me. I really look up to my sister and sometimes my mum…I always thought, why can’t I be more like them? They have lot’s of friends, they are always going out to parties and social gatherings, they know how to do makeup and style their hair etc…I don’t know how to do anything and I hate going out with people… So eventually, I tried to change my style, I tried being outgoing, I tried paying more attention to the way I looked and talked…
I kind of lost my self along the way, but then again did I even know who I was? When I liked black…okay obsessed with the colour black, was I trying to copy my favourite gothic Jrock band members and back then emo was cool..But who was I really? I didn’t have any knowledge of who I am. The reality is, that the concept of ‘ourselves’ is always changing and it should change as we grow wiser with age).
I am sure your parents have taught you not to do this and not to do that so that you fit in. At the same time, some parents (not mine), would also want their child to stand out from the crowd! In terms of grades, music and other achievements, they want their child to be the best and also fit in with their peers. It sounds like a recipe for conflicting values…Growing up sounds hard, can I stay a kid forever?
The purpose of this post is to help you realise (and myself) who you really are by identifying some morals and values that you stand by…
1. Take some to learn more about yourself
It sounds weird, but sometimes you might not know yourself as well as you think you do! Sometimes those closest around us are able to see us for who we are, better than we can. We may have distorted representations of ourselves, like an inflated ego or have low-esteem and see ourselves as we really aren’t. It definitely helps to have people around you to remind you of who you are and what you stand for. Maybe start with listing out the morals and values that you stand for and believe in, you can find these out by examining what you do in a week or day and get to know yourself.
2. Don’t compare yourself to other people
I believe the only time you should compare yourself to someone else, is when you are inspired to be more like them. You also shouldn’t compare yourself to others to feel good about yourself, what good does it make? Do you remember that quote by someone that said, “The only time you should look down on others is when you are helping them up?”…be that person who uplifts and encourages instead of pushing them down. Life is already hard enough, why make other people’s lives harder?
3. Don’t try to be friends with everyone
I know this sounds like it goes against the bible and such, but just because you aren’t friends, it doesn’t mean you hate them. You just don’t need to be friends with everyone! They can be acquaintances or people you know, no one said you had to be best friends. There are bound to be people in this world that just hate you or you just have this vibe that they are not good people…and it’s okay NOT to try to be friends them. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying not to be fake just to get along with people. I don’t think the effort is worth trying to be friends with everyone, coz no matter what I do, as Taylor Swift said…haters gonna hate. Let’s get Swifty!!!!!
4. Learn to say No Does this instruction sound familiar? I wrote a whole blog about this here and I will just reinforce a few points. If you feel like you are being forced to do something you don’t agree with, because everyone is- then you are not being true to your own morals and beliefs. You aren’t being true to yourself! Ask yourself, do these people really respect your autonomy to make a decision? You should remember you have a free-will and are able to say NO to things you don’t want to do, within reason of course…unfortunately we still have to pay tax and our bills *Tear*.
5. Don’t let being worried about what people will think to stop you from doing the things you are passionate about!
That was a long sentence…! Well, what I mean is, if you really want to learn hip-hop dancing classes, but everyone else if not interested and thinks it’s stupid and would rather do something else instead. DO you A. back out because you don’t want to be alone and do the other thing that they wanted instead. or B. Don’t give a sheet and just go to those hip-hop classes anyways!#SoloYOLO. I like that quote 😀 I used to feel like I needed people to do new things and go to places with me, now I just prefer it. I am still quite awkward when going to new places myself, no doubt…but I have been doing that and I have found it quite rewarding because I force myself to make new friends that I may not have it I had stuck to my own friends. So, don’t let fear stop you from doing those things you really want to! Take a step of faith and be all you can be! (Much easier said than done I know)…
That’s all from me, I hope you guys can work on knowing yourself more and being truer to yourself. No one likes fake people and no one should have to put on an act all the time, it is tiring and eventually, hat mask may slip. So why not be yourself today?
Hope you have been keeping warm in this insanely cold winter ( in Adelaide :(). I am currently wearing 4 layers of clothing and a scarf to keep myself warm…!
Anyways, a topic came up among some of my friends in regards to “Controlling behaviours” in their relationships with their parents in particular, but I know it can also happen in relationships between significant others or even friends. It can lead to you feel entrapped in a snare of someone else and it doesn’t feel good at all 😦
It could also be a controlling boss, parent or kid that is messing your life up…and it IS hard to deal with because they mean something to you and you have to somehow deal with their behaviour. So basically, from what I have read on the internets, we cannot control the way they behave, BUT they believe they are able to control the way we behave. No one has full control over someone else, so it is like this, even if you point a gun to someone’s head and tell them to “SAY THEY LOVE YOU”, they don’t have to, they have a choice to die instead, but most of the time I guess they would just listen..maybe..
So, often for the person being controlled, I don’t want to call them a victim, but I guess they might feel that way? Which is not good! You are allowing other people to walk all over you. I’ve been bullied in high school and in the workplace and I know how bad it can be and how hard it is to stand up to bullies…I wish I was an expert at dealing with bullies and controlling people, but I am not… I have also been guilty of being somewhat a bully/controlling person to my younger brother, in primary school, and in some relationships. I guess what goes around comes around?
But anyways, no point living in the past, that is in the past and now is a new future which we shall build for ourselves, to not be controlling and not be controlled!
So, I have mentioned before that we need to realise:
1. We belong to no one in particular and it is important to develop our own self-worth.
While being in relationships are great and all, you also need to know who you are and what you like. Don’t feel peer-pressured to doing what everyone else is doing just because you want to fit in all the time. Know that it is okay to do things that you like alone-hey it is even better to make new friends this way.-Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
2. Know that dependent on one person is not good-Strive for Independence
If someone forces you to rely on them for everything, that is not a good position to be FOR YOU. What happens if that person dies the next day? You won’t know how to do anything, because they NEVER taught you, because they wanted you to depend on them. IT’S BAD! Even if that person never teaches you, LEARN TO TEACH YOURSELF! YouTube, ask others for help and advice and if its a workplace, probably best to move workplace. They might think they are doing you a favor by doing everything and not teaching you anything, but they are not, they are sabotaging your future as someone that is independent and CAPABLE. They are looking down on you and not helping you up. Sometimes parents may do this unknowingly, but your child is not going to grow up properly, they might be a child for the rest of their lives 😦
3. Make some plans to improve your position in this controlling relationship
This may mean that you may need a break from that relationship for awhile until you get stronger or think if this relationship is worth it. This can be particularly hard for significant others or Parent-Child relationships…This is why it is important to start planning early, if you lack the funds to move out from your parent’s home, look for a job and start saving up and plan to move out! Ask friends about places to rent and start looking at properties etc. Sometimes distance from that controlling person, helps you realise how suffocated you actually are and how sweet freedom tastes.
4. Be the bigger person-Age is just a number and experience is subjective
I have been in the situation where I was belittled for being young and inexperienced. I think this is particularly a big thing for people from Asia, they believe that wisdom always comes with age. Some are stubborn and refuse to accept that maybe young people may be right and they aren’t always right…Sigh…It’s hard to communicate with Asian people with their traditional ways of doing things…sure as a kid I didn’t know any better and also believed that Tiger balm heals everything! But, now having completed my 5 year program to become a Registered Pharmacist, I know many things that can help a migraine instead of rubbing Tiger Balm on my head…though maybe the placebo effect is still important… ANYWAY, back on topic. It is good to still be respectful in the way you act towards controlling people, be the bigger person. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say, but you don’t need to escalate and fight back with spiteful words, you don’t want to sink to their level. Good guys always win in the end right?
5. Do your best to negotiate and bring in a mediator/therapist if needed!
If all else fails, you might need to get someone to help you communicate! An emotionally intelligent individual/close friend may be able to help. If not, a good therapist may help to restore or help resolve certain issues between two people. Looking back at my experiences of being bullied, I can see people who were insecure about themselves and wanted to bully those they felt they were better to feel better about themselves. They projected their own insecurities onto someone else and hence felt some sort of enjoyment in that. A psychologist could help them come to terms with their own problems and that hence stops the bullying or controlling nature- in an ideal world.
Like I said, I don’t think I am an expert in this area, but this article was quite helpful in helping me get ideas for this post: Wiki-How to cope with a controlling parent. A really good anime movie I would recommend would be “A silent voice”-which touches on the bullying behaviours of high school kids, a really good watch!
Anyways, if you guys have any experiences you would like to share, please comment below!