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Living With Mental Illness

Annabelle Clawson
It's one of those days--the days where I can't get out of bed for fear of the day ahead, where I neglect to take my medication, where I cancel all plans and call in sick. I need something to make me feel better. Instinctively, I feel drawn to binge-watch my favorite TV show. That's the easiest way to forget my feelings, right? However, I know that I must replace my unhealthy coping skills with healthier ones.
Annabelle Clawson
It's difficult to know what to do during a panic attack, especially because completing even the simplest tasks feels like my head might explode. When I have a panic attack, I feel helpless and terrified and can't focus on anything else. Learning to cope has been a messy process, but over time, I have gotten better at it. Here's what I do during a panic attack.
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
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
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.
Jenny Capper
The ups and downs of depression flow in and out of your life. You sometimes feel great for a few weeks. You're motivated, you're social, and you're actually experiencing emotions. It seems as though you're finally back to what feels like normal. Then you crash. The depression comes over you like a dark cloud, and everything seems hopeless. The ups and downs of depression are so discouraging. When it seems like it's all over, the depression will sneak up on you and take over your life again.
Jenny Capper
It's so important to give yourself grace and be gentle with yourself when you struggle with anxiety. I tend to get angry with myself when anxiety takes over. Running from my responsibilities and hiding is my first reaction to a stressful situation. I get behind and then berate myself for not being stronger and overcoming it.
Jenny Capper
Suicidal thoughts have been a part of most of my young adult life. Learning to cope with these thoughts has been one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced. As a young person, it's natural to seek help from the digital mediums that are such a significant part of my life. I've found support and many resources by searching online, utilizing apps, and using social media. I learned to cope with suicidal thoughts using digital media.
Jenny Capper
Self-esteem affects mental health and low self-esteem often results from having a mental illness. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I'm constantly battling negative thoughts that say I'm not good enough. I judge myself and compare myself to others. I'm afraid to put myself out there.