mental health awareness

Not being able to talk at times

I’m sitting in my therapists office and she asks me some simple questions.
“How are you feeling?” – “Not that good” is what I say instead of explaining why I feel horrible. “What happened this week?” – “Not that much” I say, not being able to think of what I did the last few days.

“Tell me a bit about your day” she says. And that’s when it happens.
I want to answer her question, but I just can’t get out a word. I try to breathe, but suddenly it feels like I’m suffocating. She doesn’t say anything. I look around searching for the clock, a minute goes by, it feels like an hour. “What’s so hard?” she asks. “I don’t know” is the only thing I can bring myself to say.
She asks a ton of other questions, but I can’t answer anymore. I’m silent for the rest of the session, my therapist doesn’t know what to do.

It’s not only that I am so nervous I can’t concentrate on anything or that I am too shy to answer. It’s wanting to speak but not being able to find your voice, wanting to express yourself but not being able to do it through words and sentences.

I want to talk to you, I want to look you in the eyes, I want to ask you questions, I want to be friendly, but instead I don’t say a word, I stare on the ground, wait until you give up on our conversation and come off as rude.

It’s not that I don’t want to speak, it’s simply that I just can’t. Even in therapy it’s one of the biggest obstacles. Even my therapist told me a hundred times, that she doesn’t know how to handle it.

Please, if you try to talk to someone and they’re not answering, please do not assume that it means they’re rude. Sometimes it’s just too much.

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mental health awareness

A friendly reminder

Mental illness doesn’t take a break over the summer holidays.

Just because we don’t have to go to school doesn’t mean we’re suddenly doing okay. Our fears and thoughts don’t stop the moment we get out of school for a few weeks, they don’t care about relaxing or swimming pool time.

Having a lot of time now doesn’t always make us feel better and less depressed or anxious, no sometimes it makes us feel even worse, because we’re lacking the daily structure and have even more time to overthink.

Just because we don’t have to get up for school doesn’t mean that getting out of bed is easier when we’re on summer break. No, it might be even harder because we’re not forced to get up in order to be on time.

Not having to go to school gives all of us a lot of free time, but that doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to do things all day. We still get stressed and overwhelmed, we still fear the stuff we fear when we’re going to school and we still struggle with daily tasks.

Being on summer break doesn’t make us able to do fun things with our friends all the time. Often we don’t get to enjoy the stuff mentally healthy people enjoy, we might get exhausted or upset very easy and still need to plan our activities.

If you or someone you know struggles with mental health problems, please remember: Holidays or breaks don’t magically cure our illnesses, we’re still struggling and that’s totally normal and okay. Healing takes time.

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mental health awareness, Phobia

Specific phobias

Did you ever fear something so much you would have rather died than having to experience that thing?

That’s what it’s like to have a specific phobia.

Everything I do in my life is meant to prevent on experiencing my fear, every thought I think is checked at least twice in case it could make this thing happen.

I can’t even write about what my biggest fear is, because when I write or talk about it it seems even more real and even more like it’s gonna happen in any moment.

I am ashamed, of my fear and of myself. I know that these thoughts don’t make sense, I know that my fear seems irrelevant to others and I know that my phobia is what holds me back from living a happy life.

Not even one simple action like putting a glas on a table isn’t thought through a hundred times. Did I ever do it like I’m doing it right now and was I afraid or did the thing happen? If I do it like this now, will I be afraid or will this thing happen? If I do it like this now and I will be afraid or the thing will happen, I won’t ever be able to do it like this again, because it will happen again. If I won’t ever be able to do it like this again, I will get afraid and the thing might happen.

My thoughts never stop. My mind is currently working and creating “What if” sentences. I can’t make it stop. I can’t make it stop, because if I don’t think about it, I will be afraid and the thing might happen.

At times it gets worse and I become really afraid. I won’t be able to function like a normal human being, I might escape or try to interact with you, I might talk a lot or not at all, I might sit still or walk around trying to breathe, I might tell you what’s going on, but most of the time I won’t.

I have to get through this and I most probably will get through this, but I never know for sure if I really will.

Sometimes I want to give up, I don’t want to exist anymore or I want to die, because then the thing won’t ever happen again.

Sometimes I just want to hide, forever. I want to find an option to make sure this thing won’t ever happen, at all costs.

Sometimes I just want this fear to go away, because I would like to do something randomly and not think about the same thing all the time, sometimes I just want to know how a normal life feels.

Please, I beg you to never ever ever play down someone’s fears or to even make fun of them. If you’ve never felt like that before, you won’t be able to understand, no matter how hard you try. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Try to find out what comforts the person, what lowers their fear and what you can do to help them a little. Even if it’s just talking random stuff or sitting across the room; the best you can do is to respect the persons fear and to try to minimize the harm they do to themselves, mentally and/or physically. 

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mental health awareness

Real Anxiety

How my anxiety affected me producing a short film about anxiety

I have struggled with social anxiety since I was in kindergarten.
Now I’m 18 and still struggling.
But things have changed.

Now I’m able to speak up and raise awareness about what I and a thousand others suffer from.

Therefor I decided to produce a short film about anxiety for my 2-year-school-project.
Well, being in front of the camera I recognized I’m even more uncomfortable than I want it to seem in the video.

Most of the anxiety scenes in the short film are staged, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t anxious doing all this.
A whole bunch of the raw material is just me awkwardly talking to the person behind the camera, jumping up and down doing weird stuff with my hands and not being able to think because of the panic in my head.
I have more than 1 hour of material that doesn’t show anything besides me sitting on my bed dissociating and staring at the ceiling the whole time.

But none of this is included in the short film.
It’s raw, it’s real, it’s personal and it’s embarrasing to look at. I look horrible, I do not have any control and I’m an open book. I’m hurtable.

BUT THESE SCENES ARE THE MOST REAL ONES. I want the world to recognize the ugliness of anxiety attacks, I want the people to keep an eye on their family and friends, I want them to know the signs.

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mental health awareness

Fear vs Phobia

 

People often tend to use the word ‘Phobia’ when they’re actually talking about fears.
Well, not trying to talk down your fears, but telling someone you’re suffering from a mental illness called “Agoraphobia” or “Emetophobia” and having someone say “Oh yeah, I have that too, I’m afraid of this and that, too.” is literally the worst.

Being afraid of something doesn’t equal having a phobia of something.

When you fear spiders you might not want to go downstairs because there might be spiders or you might go a bit crazy when there’s a spider in your house.
But having a phobia is something completely different.


Let’s just say someone has a phobia of headaches.

They’re waking up and the first thing that comes to their mind is “How does my head feel? Am I having a headache? Is there any chance I’ll get a headache today? What if I get a headache today? Maybe I should just stay in bed, maybe I won’t get a headache then.”

They probably still start their day just like you, but whilst getting ready they’re most likely to think things like “What clothes should I wear today? Not these, I got a headache the last time I wore them, if I wear them today, I’ll probably get a headache again. Should I wear these? No, they’re to pretty; if I get a headache today I won’t be able to wear them ever again. Maybe I should wear this, but if I look like that people will think that I have a headache.”

When they finally found something to wear and sit down for breakfast, usual toughts might be “Can I eat this or am I gonna get a headache from it? I need my coffee, so I won’t get a headache, but if I drink too much of it, I’m gonna get a headache. Am I having a headache already? I don’t know if that’s the beginning of a headache, maybe I should stay at home today. I need to drink something or else I’m gonna get a headache, but I can’t drink this water, because my brother touched the same bottle when he had a headache and if I’m gonna touch it I’ll get a headache, too. Oh god I already feel it coming.”

Finally out of the house shit is getting real. “Does anyone around here look like they have a headache? Oh no, this boy just touched his head, probably because it hurt, I need to get away from here or I’m gonna get a headache, too. Look at that womans face, she looks like she’s in pain, probably a headache, everyone around here has a headache, maybe there’s something in the air causing it, I need to get out of here.”

And on the bus. “Why are there only a few people in here? Did everyone else stay at home because they had a headache? What if there’s some kind of disease going around that’s causing headaches? I should probably take an aspirin now, oh my god, where are they, did I forget them, no, I have an extra package. Oh no, I have no water, I need water, I need to take these pills now or I’m gonna get a headache and die. I need to get some water, now.”

At work / school. “What if taking aspirin when you’re not having a headache causes headaches? What if I get a headache in class and can’t get out. What if I’m not allowed to drink something in this class, I’m gonna get a headache. Where’s the teacher, isn’t he here today, did he get a headache and am I gonna get it, too?”

In the evening. “I need to go to bed now, staying awake for that long is causing headaches. No phone, no laptop, no light. Darkness is better for the head. Why are there so many cars outside? Are they all on their way to the hospital because some peoples headaches didn’t go away? I hope I won’t have a headache tomorrow. What do I do if I have one? Please, I don’t want to get a headache ever again.

Sleeping at night. *NIGHTMARES OF HEADACHES*

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mental health awareness

I wish you knew

“You can’t tell just by looking at someone, what they are dealing with inside.”

I wish you knew… how many things there are that I wish you knew.

I wish you knew I’m not trying to be rude, when not saying hello.

I wish you knew that I’m not phone addicted, it’s just my safe space to hide in and to seem busy.

I wish you knew that “the little things” I’m stressing about aren’t little to me.

I wish you knew why my body looks like this and why I have all of these scars.

I wish you knew that I’d love to just simply go to school, but it isn’t that easy to me.

I wish you knew that not having my homework doesn’t mean I’m lazy, most of the time it means searching for reasons to stay alive was more important that afternoon.

I wish you knew that I’m not as stupid as I seem, I just keep forgetting everything out of nervosity.

I wish you knew that when I’m making cynical comments about myself and about how I want to jump out of the window, these are probably the moments I’m being the most honest.

I wish you knew that not answering your texts doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you, but rather not wanting to bother you.

I wish you knew that just because I’m out of hospital doesn’t mean I’m fine.

I wish you knew that taking my medication regularly doesn’t just make my symptoms disappear.

I wish you knew there is no cure, there’s just learning how to cope with my illness.

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