Skip to main content

mental health mondays :: #mentalillnessfeelslike

a few weeks ago, i posted a notice in honour of canadian mental health week. however, i failed to mention that our neighbours to the south dedicate an entire month to mental health awareness. of course, if you take into consideration the difference in population, canada is still dedicating more time per capita, but, you know... it's a whole month. and it's one of the long ones, too.

the theme for this year's campaign, as you might have gathered from the hash-taggery in the title of this post, is "what mental illness feels like". that can encompass a lot of things, because mental illness covers depression, psychosis, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, panic disorders... but you know all this already. the idea is to simply get people to talk about mental illness as much as possible, to give a sense of all of the different ways in which it can affect people's lives, the number of people who suffer from it, and also to let people know that others feel the same way that they do.

you can get information on mental health month here. i've already spoken quite a bit about my own experiences with mental health on this blog, so i figured i would share these adorable drawings from british artist gemma correll, created to mark the month.





i've felt all of these things and a lot of people i know have felt them too. 

other observations about how mental illness feels that i've heard from people include things like: 

  • being paralysed :: when panic attacks and anxiety are at their peak, you feel physically as if you can't move- like your brain isn't in control of your body. 
  • painful :: when you're stressed, your body releases inflammatory substances capable of causing real, physical damage to the body. you're not imagining that it hurts and you're not being overly sensitive.
  • being crazy :: one of the saddest things i've ever heard [and it's come from more than one person] is that many people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder are perfectly aware that their rituals/ ticks/ beliefs are irrational, but that doesn't do anything to reduce their power. 
  • having no idea who to trust :: john nash once said that the voices in his head came to him in the exact same way as his ideas about mathematics, so he couldn't discount them. it's something i've heard from others as well- your own brain is lying to you, often using the same channels that it uses to allow you to do really important things. 
  • not knowing what anything feels like :: this is a little understood problem with dissociative disorders and one that's often used to portray them as unfeeling monsters. dissociative disorders can cause people to "split" from their emotions, so that they can be unaware of what they're feeling, or unable to feel the "appropriate" emotions in certain situations. 


and none of this gets into what mental illness feels like for those close to someone with a mental illness. 

whatever your experience, i encourage you to make your voice heard over the next two weeks. join a conversation, start a conversation. it won't bring about change on its own, but no change can happen without it. 

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

presidenting is hard :: these people are not your friends

hello mr. president! a while back, i promised that i would periodically be giving you some advice on how to do your job, since you seem a little unclear on how everything works. i didn't mean to go so long between missives, but the fact is that i've been busy and you're administration has been in overdrive giving me things to write about. what i've realised is that many of those things are ones i can't help you with: if you or anyone in your immediate circle worked with russians to compromise the 2016 election, that shit is done. robert mueller is going to find that out, because he's the kind of person who looks like the theme from dragnet just automatically starts playing every time he enters a room. so that's your problem. i'm just here to talk to you about what you can do now that you are, by law, the president. because, while chief detective mueller is doing his thing, we all need to live with your decisions. i'm even less happy about that than…

write brain

i was talking to a friend of mine about coffee, specifically about our mutual need for coffee, yesterday and, literally as i was in the middle of a thought, an idea occurred to me that i felt like i had to note. so there i am, scribbling a note to myself that was really just a word salad of related terms, which i later transformed into a weird but more comprehensible note that i could refer to later. [i don't want another beatriz coca situation on my hands.] i feel like this idea isn't a story on its own, but something that i could incorporate into a larger project, which is good, because i have a few of those.

now, of course, i need to sit down and do research on this, because it's become terribly important to me that the details of this weird little idea that i'm planning on incorporating into a larger thing be totally plausible, even though no one but me is ever going to care. i'm increasingly convinced that the goal of every writer is to find someone who will t…

luck of the irish?

i like st. patrick's day. i like the fact that there is a holiday that celebrates celtic-ness and drunkeness at once (you could argue they were pretty close to begin with). in fact, it's probably second only to halloween as my favourite publicly recognised holiday.

so every year, i have to have my little ritual and that ritual involves visiting a pub and partaking of the cheer. i've made attempts at watching parades in various cities, but i've more recently given up that practice because a) eight out of ten times, it's freezing cold and/ or snowing in canada on march 17th and b) the parades seem to consist entirely of trucks carrying people who are as drunk as i would be, if i weren't freezing my tush off watching them. so i've backed off the parade in recent years.

however, a visit to the pub, the longer the better, is still an important thing for me.

next year, however, i'm going to have to plan things a little better.

first of all, i didn't …