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 Week

[mhaw] ❁ Why not having an ED could’ve made me develope one

[Mental Health Awareness Week – Post 2]

I never had an eating disorder. But everybody always thought I had one.
And that’s the problem.

I was born underweight and I was underweight my whole life.
When I was only 1 year old my mother got asked if I get enough to eat, when I was 3 years old I was told I eat like a bird, when I was 7 years old other girls started to comment on my body and when I was 10 some of my classmates first started to get jealous.
When I was 12 my teacher (!) said that they’d wish to weigh as less as I did, when I was 13 years old, I was forced to eat more than I wanted by someone that doesn’t even belong to my family.
Even when I went inpatient for therapy, I was under an eating disorder treatment and it took me 9 weeks of resistance until they started to second-guess themselves. I had to eat on the tables with people who actually do have an ED for 12 weeks, my weight was checked twice a week for 85 days and even when I was released they still didn’t completely believe me.

I got commented on my weight by family, friends, classmates, doctors and strangers every day my whole life long. I was asked if I have an eating disorder almost once a week, I was asked how much I eat and if I go running or to the gym.

No. I was like everyone else my age. The low weight is in my genes, I wasn’t doing anything for it.

But when you hear things like this every single day, you start to think about it.
Most of the time it was just annoying, sometimes I felt complimented, but I still wanted to gain some weight.
Some day I started to feel like I wasn’t allowed to change anymore. I thought I had to stay that way so people wouldn’t stop liking me, I thought that if I gained weight people would dislike me, because I’d be like everyone else.

I can be very lucky that I can control these thoughts and that I eat what I want, when I want, but someone else might have been even more uncomfortable with how they look and would have started to diet.

What’s saddest about this is, that even teachers, those that are rolemodels to so many young children, were telling me that they wished for a weight like mine. They didn’t know if I had an eating disorder or not. I was lucky that I didn’t have one, but there are so many people out there that do, and they receive the same messages all the time.

Think before you speak.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

[mhaw] ❁ Zoloft

[Mental Health Awareness Week – Post 1 – Talking about Zoloft]

As Zoloft is the most prescribed antidepressant and the second most prescribed pychiatric medication, a lot of people in the mental health community know about it or take it themselves.
Everytime someone found out I also take them I was asked a ton of questions about my experience with it. I was asked on tumblr, facebook, instagram, just random chats, ..

So let’s talk about it.


First of all, what the hell is Zoloft?
Zoloft or Sertraline is an an antidepressant used to treat
Depression, Anxiety, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia), Social Anxiety, Phobias, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Eating Disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating, Body Dysmorphic Disorder and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

How does it work?
Sertraline belongs to a group of drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), it is also a dopamine reuptake inhibitor.
So basically what it does is increasing the dose of the sertraline and dopamine in your brain. Those neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay signals between the cells in the brain.
Clients with depressive or anxiety disorders do produce way less of those chemicals, so by upping the dose in the brain sertraline is thought to improve the symptoms.

I’ve been taking Zoloft for almost 1 and 1/2 year now. I started with 25mg/day, at the moment I take 175mg/day. The highest dose you can take per day is 200mg.
My psychiatrist prescribed it to me before having an ECG and a full blood count done, but only because of the bad state I was in. You should really get those things done before starting your medication, because otherwise it could be extremely dangerous.

At the first 1 or 2 weeks I didn’t recognize anything besides not being able to sleep and my OCD being worse. Week 3 and 4 were the hardest, I had a lot of side effects like being extremely exhausted but having insomnia, being really hungry or not hungry at all, feeling nauseous and dizzy all the time (great for my phobia – not), having to yawn like every 2 seconds which is embarassing and exhausting, not feeling present at all and stuff like that.

But after 1 month I started to feel less anxious and less depressed, getting out of bed and the house was easier, my phsyical symptoms almost dissappeared and my therapist said that I seemed to be a lot more present and “alive”.

Having the meds and not wanting to go to the psych ward I started going to school again, which I definitely wouldn’t be able to do without meds.
I could start therapy after like 2 months of taking Zoloft and was able to get inpatient in a different hospital that was 10(!) hours away from my hometown (imagine having agoraphobia and being that far away from home for 1/4 year).

Everytime we upped my dose I had like 1 week of side effects, but felt better after my body got used to the higher dose. As I already said I’m currently taking 175mg and we decided not to stop or switch to another med yet, because it’s a really high risk.


Something you really should know about Sertraline is that in the beginning it quite often increases the amount of suicidal thoughts someone is experiencing and it’s known to be able to lead to suicide, so if you’re experiencing these sideeffects you should immediately tell your doctor!

 

 

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mental health awareness

A regular school day with anxiety

5:30 am
Ring ring.
My alarm clock. Oh no, please no. How long have I slept? About 2 hours? Or less?
How am I feeling? Am I sick? Am I gonna get sick? Why did I have to wake up. I’m so tired. I just want to sleep. What if something’s gonna happen today? I do not have the energy to deal with anything. Can’t I just stay in bed, I’m never gonna graduate anyways. I won’t ever get a job. Am I just lazy? I can’t. I just want it to be evening already, so I can sleep.

6:30 am
Did I really stare at the ceiling for 1 hour already? I need to catch my bus today or else I’m gonna miss so much because I’m too afraid to walk in late. But I’m not ready. I’m sooo tired. I can’t move. Why can’t I even get out of bed, it’s not that hard. I’m a fucking failure.

7:00 am
My bus is here in 15 mins and I’m still in bed. I’m gonna look like a zombie and I won’t have the right materials in my bag. I NEED TO GET UP NOW. Only 9 more hours until I’m home again. 9 fucking hours. Damn. GET UP NOW YOU DUMB FUCK.

7:16 am
Oh is that the right bus? What if it isn’t? Am I halluzinating? Do I stand in the right place? Don’t move to fast or everybody will stare at you. Don’t walk too far right, the busdriver is gonna think you’re too dumb to get into a bus. Oh no everybody’s gonna think you want to punch them to get in first. Well, now I’m the last one. Please let me get a free seat, I’m unable to stay on my feet the whole ride, I absolutely do not have the energy to do that. Oh god where is a seat, I take too long, everybody is staring at me, they think I’m too dumb and too slow. Just sit down somewhere, anywhere. What if that person doesn’t want me to sit there? Am I taking up too much space? How the fuck am I supposed to survive this?

7:45 am
Oh please let this be the right room, don’t let me be the last one. No why am I the first one, what if it’s the wrong room, I won’t get in first, I’m not able to talk to the teacher, I’ll just wait here until someone goes in first. What are they gonna think of me, like “is she too dumb to see that the door is already open” or “why doesn’t she go in”. I can’t do this. I want to go home. I need to get out of here. I’m trapped. I’m gonna die.

During class
Am I sitting weird? Is there something on my back or something wrong with my hair? Please eyes stay open. Okay I need to listen. I need to study. Oh god I’m so silly, I won’t ever graduate, I won’t ever get a job I like, I could die by now, it would be totally okay, I’m never gonna achieve the things I dreamed of. I’m so tired. Why can’t I focus? Stop thinking. Listen. Read that fucking text. Why can’t I identify the letters, please eyes, all I want you to do is focus on the letters. I’m holding my pen in a weird way. Oh god someone’s laughing, they’re talking about me. The teacher probably hates me and thinks I’m dumb as fuck. Please don’t call on me, no please no, my brain doesn’t work, I can’t answer. I need to look away. FUCKING EYECONTACT. This is too much. I need to get out. I’m always making a fool out of myself. WHY am I so dumb. I want to die.

After class
I’m so sorry, ex teacher, I wanted to say hello, too, but I’m too shy. I’m not rude, I’m sorry for not saying anything. Please don’t hate me. I don’t want to come back to this place ever again. Am I walking weird? Is there something wrong with my face? Oh god everybody’s looking at me, talking and laughing about me. My friends are probably lying and don’t even like me. How could anyone ever like me? I would never wanna be friends with myself. I need to get out. I wanna go home. I wanna sleep. I’m so tired and everything hurts.

At home
I’ve been sitting on my bed and staring at the wall for like 2 hours, I really need to do my homework. I have to study, I have to get good grades or I’ll never be able to get the job I want. Oh what the fuck am I thinking, I won’t ever graduate, I’m gonna end up homeless under a bridge if I’m still alive by this time. Do your fucking homework or you’ll regret it later. It’s not that exhausting to get on your desk, it’s literally two steps away, get up and start. Damn you’re so dumb. MOVE! Everything hurts, I’m so tired, I want to do my homework but I want to sleep, I want this to end, I can’t carry on, I’m too weak.

In the evening
Well, I haven’t done a single thing. I hate myself. I won’t ever get a job. I’m a zombie, a snob. All I did was sitting on my bed for hours doing nothing, like every day, and I’m still soo tired. I want to sleep. Forever.

In bed
Oh god I did everything wrong, I dissappointed so many people. Doing stuff is so easy and I’m still too dumb for it. Everybody I know is able to do that shit, so I am, too. I’m just lazy as fuck. I want to sleep. Dear mind, please stop overthinking. No that thing I did 5 years ago is so embarrasing, someone kill me please. I’m not gonna get any sleep today. Tomorrow’s gonna be even more horrible than today. If this is what my life is gonna look like I don’t want it. I’m such a loser. Everybody can handle life, everybody but me.

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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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mental health awareness

“survive to thrive”

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Mental Health Awareness Week of 2017 will take place from 8 – 14 May

For too many of us life is a constant battle between trying to stay alive and our body trying to convince us we’re better off dead. So the arrival of mental health awareness week is no different than any other week: our ongoing battles, struggles and fights with our illnesses are the same as it was last week.

But MHAW is another way for us to reach out, speak up and raise awareness of what we call our daily life.
You may can find us posting a lot of information online, making visual art to show what we feel like or create informative content to show what it feels like to be trapped in your own body.
The last thing we want to achieve with things like this is attention, neither positive nor negative, some of us might even be afraid of it, so please, if you don’t have something useful to say, just keep your mouth shut, it could prevent a lot of overthinking, mental fights and misunderstanding.

So why do we even share these things?

Well, not everyone has a mental illness, but everyone has a mental health and we need to take care of it.
1 in 4 people discover some kind of mental disorder in their lifetime, and many of them won’t ever get the treatment and support they need, because they’re afraid to reach out and tell someone.

Be strong enough to know when you need help
and
be brave enough to ask for it.

Even though society is becoming more tolerant and open-minded about mental illness, it is still surrounded by a shit ton of stigma and there is still much work to be done to educate people and raise awareness.

Maybe you don’t have mental health problems, but you for sure know someone who does, maybe they’re just not telling you. It could be your mother, your uncle, your cousin, your sister or your child, but if they don’t grow up or live in an environment that educates them of mental illness just as physical illness, they’re more likely to suffer in silence and end up not getting the treatment they need.

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