May is Mental Health Month.
During May, those with mental illnesses have avenues to, and organizations that offer, hope.
But what does mental illness feel like? The Mental Health America organization asked those suffering from mental health problems to share their thoughts anonymously. They said the following about suffering from anxiety, depression, psychosis, being bipolar, and other conditions.
“Being so scared you are paralyzed.”
“You can’t breathe. Air is all around you, but you can’t get to it.”
“Having Bipolar Disorder, I’ve equated it to your life being a pendulum…it swings from left to right, and is hardly ever at rest.
“Being so uncomfortable you wish you could crawl out of your skin.”
“Your mind is racing and you have so many thoughts at the same time that it is hard to have one complete thought.”
“Not being good enough and always blaming yourself.”
"I have Bipolar and sometimes I lash out at people who are closest to me. I know my condition doesn't make it right to treat people like that but I don't even know what I'm doing until it's too late. By then, I'm too embarrassed to apologize because I don't think they will understand."
"I know I can't be the only one who feels like this, but I think they're better at dealing with life than I am. I just never feel good enough."
"I almost left my boyfriend after he told me he was the only man who would ever love me, because that's an abusive thing to say. I stayed because he's probably right and I'm terrified of being alone."
“Being powerless against your own mind.”
“Pretending you are okay but your really can’t breathe or think straight.”
“Needing to escape but not being able to.”
“Being repulsed and afraid of your own body and the illnesses it could possibly have.”
“I’m making all this progress but I’m still spiraling down and life is closing in.”
The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that one in five Americans live with a mental health condition. While the rest do not, they may understand and relate better to those who do after reading the comments on mental health above.
And all must agree that the most important comment is “There is hope.”
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services lists mental health certified providers in the area. The list is available under Quick Links on the department’s web site at ok.gov/odmhsas.
Sequoyah County Health Department also offers referrals for child guidance services. The phone number is 918-775-6201.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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