Monday, June 29, 2015

Struggling with mental illness & a list of resources.

Note: There's a list of helplines and helpful websites dealing with suicide prevention and mental health resources under the actual blog post so feel free to scroll down to that if that's what you're here for. :)

One of the hardest things about struggling with a mental illness is going through it alone. You can know without doubt that you have a friend or multiple friends or a family member or three that you can go to but sometimes you just can't bring yourself to do that. 

Maybe you've always been seen as "the strong one" and going through depression or having suicidal thoughts or wanting to cut yourself or developing an eating disorder makes you feel like you're weak. (You're not weak. Not even a little bit. Not at all.) Those people that see you as a tough cookie can often be the last ones you want to reach out to and say, "hey, I need a hand here." You worry that they'll think less of you. You worry that they won't take it seriously because you're strong and you can handle it. You worry that they won't know what to do because you're so often the one that's helping everyone else. 

Maybe you feel like you don't want to bother anyone with your problems. If they truly care about you, they'll NEVER see you reaching out to them as bothering them. It's not. Please, don't ever look at it that way. You aren't a burden to them on your best days and you're certainly not one on your worst days. 

There are tons of reasons why you might not want to reach out to someone close to you. Mental illness is still so stigmatized that people worry and even at times fear admitting they're not okay, even to the people closest to themYou shouldn't be embarrassed because depression can hit anyone. An eating disorder can happen to anyone. Mental illnesses don't have a specific type of person they prey on, they can strike anyone at any time. 

There's always someone to talk to if you need someone to hear you but don't feel like you can go to anyone in your daily life or if you just don't want to go to anyone in your life.

Suicide is a permanent end to temporary struggles. Even if it seems like there isn't any relief in sight, it can get better. It doesn't happen immediately or even as fast as you might feel it all started in the first place. It takes time and work to get there and a good support system, whether that's two people or ten people, help so much. And the hardest part after realizing and admitting that you're not just having a lot of bad days is reaching out and talking to someone. It's so damn hard to take that first step. I opened my mouth so many times only to close it again and force a fake smile back on my face. I typed out dozens and dozens of text messages thinking if I could type the words instead of say them it would be easier only to delete them because I couldn't bring myself to hit send. I even wrote, yes on actual paper with pen, a few times only to shred those papers without any one's eyes but my own seeing them. 

In the last few months since I started getting more and more vocal about mental health issues on twitter and on facebookI've been surprised more than a couple times by people reaching out to me for various reasons. Some because they wanted to talk to someone that understood, some that just wanted to ask questions and a couple that wanted to make sure I knew they had my back if I ever need them. People that have followed me on social media for months or years, coworkers that I didn't know were going through or had gone through similar things, even a couple friends that just wanted me to know they were there and would be any time I needed them. 

I know it can be scary and intimidating to do so but please reach out to someone if you need to. Be it the suicide prevention lifeline, online chat services, a friend, a family member, your neighbor buddy, someone at church if you go, that person on social media you see advocating mental health, a work friend, a therapist or anyone you trust and feel comfortable talking to.

If you don't know where to start, here are a few places to start and a couple websites that list resources. There are so many ways to get information and get help if you need it. 
Please don't struggle alone. 

Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. We run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have." Call:  US: (877) 565-8869 or Canada: (877) 330-6366

The Trevor Project offers accredited life-saving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQ youth that create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text." The only national 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ young people (ages 13-24), available at 1-866-488-7386. They also provide online chat and text message service as well for LGBTQ youth, information found through the link.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers their services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free. Confidential. They also have help specifically for young adults, victims of bullying and veterans, information can be found through the link.

7 Cups of Tea offers people a free, confidential, completely anonymous chat service. You can call or chat online with any number of trained active listeners. They're not a suicide prevention line but they can help you find the resources you're looking for if you need someone to point you in the right direction. Or if you just need someone to talk to about something that's bothering you or just need to vent, they have listeners available 24/7 and they have a free app for android and iphone so you don't even need to go through their website to do it. They also have message boards and group support to help you connect with others on everything from eating disorders, self-harm, addiction recovery and much more.

HopeLine focuses on providing the community with a free and confidential crisis and suicide prevention helpline and instant messaging service. HopeLine specializes in providing suicide and crisis intervention, supportive and non-judgmental active listening, gentle and understanding discussion of crisis resolution. Crisis Line: 919-231-4525 for locals in Raleigh, NC or for anyone else 877-235-4525 They also have a Teen Talkline available, as well.

THIS is a list of crisis centers and suicide prevention lifelines in your local area that you can call if you feel like you need to. It lists every state and lists multiple cities for each state.

THIS is an international list of crisis centers and suicide prevention lifelines. Click your country and find what you need closest to you, wherever you may be in the world.

National Alliance of Mental Illness is a great website to find resources and information through. They also have a helpline that can give you information about mental health disorders, symptoms, local support groups, local services & more at 1-800-950-6264. They also offer online resources for LGBTQ, minority groups, family members & caregivers, teen & young adult and veterans & active duty.

National Eating Disorder Association is the leading non-profit organization in the United States advocating on behalf of and supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. They campaign for prevention, provide improved access to quality treatment, and increased research funding to better understand and treat eating disorders. They have a lot of information and resources on their website and they also have a helpline you can call, free & confidential at 1-800-931-2237.

P.S. If you have any other relevant, helpful resources, websites, etc that I can add to this, please feel free to email me at amorousrocker [at] gmail [dot com] :)


The Bizza said...

I have been withdrawn, introverted, and chronically depressed ever since I was 6 years old, when I watched my mom stab my dad in the back after she got fed up with his weekly drunken beatings.

I'm 42 now, and still chronically depressed (i don't mind the introverted part, since that's just part of my personality.)

I'm glad you wrote this and I hope that it helps someone. You have no idea how many times I have contemplated suicide. I never acted on it, but I always fantasized about how better off my loved ones would be if I wasn't here to screw their lives up. I know that's not how life works, but I tend to go to dark places.

Again, thank you for posting this. I'm sure there are many out there like me who are/were unfortunate enough to not find a sliver of light through the darkness.

Ashly Star said...

Depression lies, it makes you believe the people around you would be better off without you. I get that, I've been there more than a couple times. I've felt like their lives would all be better and easier without me being a burden on their time and mental/emotional well-being. I'm glad you've never followed through on any of your suicidal thoughts and thank you for this comment. <3