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Mental Health for the Digital Generation

Annabelle Clawson
College is stressful and demanding. There's a lot to keep up with--not to mention how difficult the work is sometimes. It's normal to experience stress about schoolwork. However, college stress can have a negative impact on your mental health if you don't manage it well.
Annabelle Clawson
You might feel hesitant to talk about your mental health with others. Mental health problems are often accompanied by crippling shame that prevents you from wanting to reach out for help. Shame also lies to you, saying that you are a burden to others and that no one is as messed up as you are. But if you feel that way, it is time to start talking about your mental health.
Annabelle Clawson
Social media can negatively impact your mental health. You don't need dozens of studies to tell you that;1 you've seen it in your own life. But it can also be a force for good. You've seen that too (otherwise you wouldn't still use it). The question is: how can you find a balance? I've put together a list of Dos and Don'ts to promote a positive relationship between social media and your mental health.
Annabelle Clawson
Going down the rabbit hole of a negative thought spiral is no fun, and yet, sometimes it's so automatic that it feels like there's nothing I can do to stop it. It only takes one negative thought to blast my mind into a dark place where I feel lots of anxiety and no control. If this happens to you, too, it's not your fault--but you can learn to reframe negative thinking so these nasty thoughts taunt you less and less.
Annabelle Clawson
Perfectionism, in my opinion, creates unhappiness and is frequently misunderstood. Many people think that a perfectionist is just someone who has color-coded planners or follows all the rules. They can't observe the self-criticism and constant disappointment lurking in a perfectionist's deepest thoughts. Perfectionists make the best task-doers, but often, they are the most unhappy.
Annabelle Clawson
It's 7 A.M., my alarm goes off, and I can't get out of bed this morning. Some days, when I'm feeling really ambitious, I hit "snooze" and crawl out of my covers nine minutes later. Most days, however, I turn off the alarm and return to the safety of my slumber. When I finally wake up hours later, to afternoon sunshine forcing its way through my eyelids, I feel disoriented, disappointed, and dysfunctional. I wonder why I can't leave my bed.
Annabelle Clawson
Boredom and anxiety coincide like clockwork--when you finish that assignment, when your shift ends, or when you turn off the light to go to sleep, your thoughts start to spiral. As soon as you allow your mind to wrap around itself, anxiety sets in.
Annabelle Clawson
When your mental illness impacts your relationships, it can harm your self-esteem and your happiness. From the time we're infants, we are bombarded with depictions of love and belonging, usually in an idealistic film or a sappy novel. It's natural that we stumble into the desire for those same kinds of relationships. We have an innate need for it--we yearn to love and be loved.
Annabelle Clawson
In all of its forms, grief is excruciating, but surprise-grief is the worst of all; and the "surprise" of a loved one's death by suicide can cause you to wonder if you, yourself, will be able to survive. There are many factors, such as your relationship to the person or your mental health, that influence how you react and cope. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Annabelle Clawson
I am Annabelle Clawson, a new author for Mental Health for the Digital Generation. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder a couple of years ago. Looking back, I can see that I’ve struggled with mental illness for most of my life. My battle with it is far from over, but I’ve learned to be okay with that reality. I’ve found that leaning into it has helped me develop resilience, and I am excited to elaborate on that journey here at HealthyPlace.