Help! I Think I’m Mentally Ill!

So, you think you may have a mental illness. Time to start the process of getting a doctor. If you’re unsure about whether or not you need a doctor, ask yourself if your mental state is causing you severe pain or problems functioning. If it is, you need a doctor. Make an appointment with a psychiatrist today, even if there is a long waiting list, so that you’ll have an appointment sometime in the hopefully near future.

Now sit down and write out your symptoms. Common symptoms include bad moods, mood swings, depression, hallucinations, anxiety, irritability, engaging in risky behaviors like drug use or unsafe sex, intense sadness, suicidal thoughts, compulsive behaviors, abnormal eating, mania, sleep problems, self-harm or mutilation, or specific troubling fears. Once you’ve written down the symptoms you know you have, try to identify anything that may have triggered the symptom. An example would be Continue reading

Can Two People with Mental Illness Be Friends?

 

It can be excellent for people with the same mental illness to be around each other or be friends. This is beneficial is because those two people will have something in common that most people are not familiar with. They will be able to share coping skills, insights, affirming words of wisdom, and empathy. Because of having a shared perspective, mentally ill friends are more likely to feel less alone in their struggle because they have a friend by their side who has struggled in the same ways they do.

For example, during my last stay in a psychiatric hospital (in 2008), seven of the other nine people on the ward were bipolar like me. We had a very good and helpful time with each other by sitting around sharing our stories. I think I healed more from spending time with them than from the daily group therapy sessions. There was no infighting or hostility. Some bipolar people are mean or hostile, but it is not a symptom of bipolar. Those people would be mean and hostile without bipolar. Basically, some people just suck, and some of the people who suck happen to be bipolar (or blonde, or Chinese, or left-handed, or optimistic… get it?). It was incredibly helpful to me to be around all these vastly different people who shared my struggle. Some of them were people I never would have talked to on my own, but since we had this massive thing in common, I gained wisdom from everyone there, even those who had very different opinions, levels of education, and political leanings than I do. Continue reading