I’m Rachel Craft, and I’m excited to join the "Coping with Depression" blog at HealthyPlace. I was diagnosed with depression over a decade ago in college. As a type-A perfectionist, I was constantly overwhelmed with stress and never got enough sleep. My habitually low self-esteem took a dive at one point, and I developed an eating disorder and started experimenting with self-harm. It was a terrifying period of my life because I realized I might not survive if I didn’t find help.
Hello, my name is "Obsessed with Metrics." I say this with snark, but I also genuinely mean it. A few months ago, when I wrote about my exercise addiction, I briefly touched on how metrics fuel this behavior. I count the number of steps I take. I count the number of miles I run. I count the number of stairs I climb. I count the number of minutes I exercise. I count the number of calories I burn. All of this counting interferes with my life, but I cannot seem to break the habit—nor do I even want to right now. I enjoy the rush too much to stop. I tally each movement with laser precision, courtesy of the mobile fitness tracker I am never without. As unhealthy as I know this sounds, it also creates an intoxicating, powerful sense of achievement. An eating disorder is a compulsive numbers game, and I will be honest: It's hard to quit playing.
After a year of blogging for HealthyPlace, I must now depart. However, a long goodbye isn't really useful for anyone, including me. So, this final post is addressed to you - the undiagnosed reader who suspects they may have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is looking for guidance on how to proceed.
When you struggle with anxiety, it is sometimes inevitable that you will also cope with depression. The constant worry, the feelings of insecurity, the fears, feeling overwhelmed, and most noticeable for me, the feelings of exhaustion from the anxiety – all of these things can lead to suddenly feeling down.
Taking risks has a bad reputation. We advise people against decisions that seem "risky," warn children away from capers that might result in injury, and, as a general rule of thumb, seek certainty at all costs. On the surface, this ethos makes perfect sense. Why take risks when the odds are against you? After all, that's what risk is: a poor probability or an unlikely shot.
The idea of attracting bliss brings many different images to mind. We often associate the word with heightened mental states such as those brought about by meditation and a life of simplicity. At the other end of the spectrum, we might picture a life of complete abundance rooted in physical sensations, wealth, and material possessions.
Verbal abuse can come from individuals of any age, including children. Unfortunately, the understanding that kids can be cruel is too common for many parents. So, why do children resort to verbal abuse to handle difficult situations? The answer could be due to learned behaviors or a developmental phase.
Living with self-harm scars is different for everyone. Some folks have more visible scars; some have to cope with scars that directly affect how they live their day-to-day lives. As for me, my scar's appearance—and impact—on my life have been subtle but powerful.
Limitations affect people with schizophrenia, but I believe people with schizophrenia can achieve great things. I know of three women who have schizophrenia who started and run non-profit organizations. I know of three women who are parents to young children. I know several people with schizophrenia who have jobs as writers or artists and others who work as marketing professionals and content creators. Elyn Saks, one of the most well-known people with schizophrenia, is a doctor and professor. These are examples from the two to three dozen people I follow on social media or who I have become friends with in my years of advocacy. If I knew more people with schizophrenia, I assume I would find people with the illness in every role, identity, or profession.
There are so many things I took for granted before I had bipolar disorder. Just like many people, I was living a normal-ish life. I was 18 years old; I was at university; I was living with my boyfriend; the stats on my life were definitely in the meaty part of the bell curve. And as such, I certainly never thought about mental illness. I wouldn't have been able to correctly define bipolar disorder for you for a million dollars. Those are certainly days I miss. And looking back, so many things were different before I had bipolar disorder.