Weekly Blog June 4th, 2017: Mental Health Month

Hello Internet!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! I want to thank everyone for another great week here on the website and all your views, likes, comments, and general support. I really appreciate everyone who visits the website and takes a moment of their time to check out the stuff I write. The fact that people are actually reading the words I type, is just crazy to me. I know I usually start these things by expressing my gratitude and talking about how much I appreciate the readers out there and you might think it’s just habit at this point, but my thankfulness is genuine and I really do appreciate all the support I get on a daily basis.

That being said, I want to talk about a really serious subject this week: Mental Health. Now as you may or may not know, May was Mental Health Month. I didn’t see a ton about it, but there were events all around the globe talking about how to improve people’s mental health and what resources exist out there to help people. I know that it is now June and not May, but I personally didn’t see a ton of stuff being shared on the internet about it. The idea of Mental Health has been on my mind for a while now, so I thought I would talk about it here. I should say that I’m not an expert or trained professional and I don’t have a lot of knowledge about mental health, mental disorders, behavioral disorders, or anything remotely close to those subjects. All I have is my personal experience as well as some research I’ve done on the subject. The sources I used for my research included MentalHealth.Gov, National Alliance on Mental Health, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Also it should be noted that a lot of the information I have is based in the United States, but there are equivalent resources for people all over the world, so if you are seeking help, I definitely recommend looking up your countries equivalent if you are not in the United States.

Now you may be asking yourself why I decided to dedicate this week’s Weekly Blog to the serious nature of Mental Health and Mental Health Issues. You may be wondering, “Is everything alright with Allen_The_Writer?” The answer is Yes! I’m doing fine. This not some red flag and you don’t need to worry about me (although it is touching that you might be thinking of me). The reason I wanted to touch on this subject is because it’s important and it is often overlooked. Even though we live in the age of information and the internet is allowing people to make connections and form communities like we have never been able to do before, some people still find themselves on the outside looking in. Some people are still isolated which definitely worsens these kind of issues. There is nothing wrong with being by yourself or being more of a loner, but from my personal experience, it becomes a lot harder to take on issues like depression or anxiety when you also feel loneliness. These issues can become so massive that if feels like you are drowning in an ocean of sadness and despair with no one in sight to rescue you. If you are someone with a strong support network full of friends, family, your significant other, etc. and you open up to them about the stuff you are dealing with, it becomes easier to fight these issues and alleviate some of the burden it puts on you.

Now let me restate that I’m not a professional and not an expert on any of this stuff and I realize that “talking about it” is not the solution to solving everyone’s situations. There is definitely a range in the severity of mental illness and talking about your problems really only works in mild cases. For severe mental illness, people need to seek out professional help whether that be a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. or if that’s getting medication to help control the issue at hand. However, it is possible that “talking about it” is a great first step towards figuring out how to deal with mental illness and finding the right treatment. It’s strange how Mental Health is viewed in the internet age because on one hand, more and more people are being diagnosed and treated for mental illness and it seems like it is becoming less of a stigma. But on the other hand, the stigma is still definitely there and some people are still ostracized because they have a mental illness. Also we live in a world where prescription drugs are everywhere and we prescribe powerful drugs for children in Elementary School for things like ADHD or Depression while many others are left undiagnosed for years and never get the help they need. It’s so strange that we live in a world where these polar opposites exist.

I don’t really have a solution to that problem that exists within society, but I do hope that the research surrounding Mental Health continues and we keep on learning more and more about mental disorders and how to remedy them. In general, I believe that as a society we need to end the stigma around mental illness and realize that people deal with a lot of stuff and that some people can handle it more than others. That doesn’t make one person better than the other; it just shows that people are different and cookie cutter solutions don’t always work. We also need to end this fad or whatever where we try to popularize mental illness and use it as some kind of status symbol. I am personally annoyed when people think it’s cool to have depression or OCD. There’s a reason why it’s an illness. You can recognize that you have issues and that they shouldn’t hold you back, but mental illness are serious issues, not flashy trends. Also people need to stop self-diagnosing themselves with depression just because they feel sad sometimes or OCD just because they like things neat. Those do not relate. One is just normal human emotions and preferences and the other is serious conditions that can cripple people’s lives. Huge difference. Sorry for the rant but I feel like these people who don’t really understand how serious Mental Illness is hurts how society views Mental Health. It’s kind of a “Boy crying Wolf” scenario which leads people to dismiss actual people with actual mental issues.

I want to conclude this Weekly Blog post by talking about the possible resources out there for people who think they might have a mental illness, people that have been diagnosed with mental illness, and friends and family of people who fit into one of those first two categories. The websites I linked to above have a lot of different resources and information so that might be a good place to start. Also if you do have serious issues that have not been dealt with, I highly recommend you reach out to a doctor or seek help from a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I know that that kind of treatment can often be expensive and might not be readily available to you, but serious problems demand serious solutions and you don’t get much more serious than professional help. If you are going through some things and just need someone to talk to, you can always reach out to me via email (allen.the.writer@gmail.com), but I must reiterate that I’m not a professional and I lack the resources to help you more than just being an ear for your issues. I also recommend the app/website 7 Cups of Tea which is a place where you can talk to random strangers on the internet. They have people who have been on the website for a long time and are there to talk to you about personal issues (which is a free service) and professional therapists (which is a paid service). I recommend you don’t give out too much of your personal information and generally be weary of what you put on the internet, but these people are there to help and listen to your issues. Safe Horizon is a website that has resources for people dealing with violence or abuse. I found an article by Greatest that lists 81 different Mental Health Resources for people who do not access to therapy or it is too costly for you. If you are immediate danger of self harm or suicide please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Suicide is a national epidemic and is a very serious matter. If you have suicidal thoughts or ideas, I beg you to please call this number and seek help. There are people out there who care about you and want to help you. Please reach out to them so we can keep a tragedy from occurring. If you are a Veteran and you are seeking help, please check out the  National Center for PTSD website or call the Veterans Crisis Line  at 1-800-273-8255.

There are a lot of resources out there and many different communities online for people dealing with these issues or friends and families of people who suffer from Mental Illness. Don’t ever think that you are alone in this because there are a ton of helpful people and great resources at the tip of your fingers. If you need professional help, I hope that you reach out and try to get that support and if you are dealing with suicidal thoughts and ideas, please PLEASE reach out to someone and seek help. I cannot stress that enough. Suicide is such an awful epidemic and it is one that is completely avoidable if people are more connected to one another and suicidal people seek the help they need. I know that this subject is very tough for some people and I don’t mean to bring anyone down. I just think that this is such an important subject and I wanted to give a little time to it.

Thank you for reading this piece. I promise that next week’s topic will be more upbeat. (Or at least I hope it is). Thank you again for your support and I hope that you will take a minute and check out some other Weekly Blogs or other pieces here on the website. I appreciate all your views, likes, comments, and any feedback you have for me, the website, or the pieces. If you are a creator, writer, artists, whatever, feel free to contact me with your website or a place where I can find your stuff. I’d love to check it out and give your stuff some views as well. Ok I think that’s all I need to say for now.

I hope you have a fantastic week!

-Allen_The_Writer

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