Mental Health

It can be very difficult and painful to function in this busy world when our minds are not happy and healthy.  I grew up with two depressed parents and a loving, but often sad, family.  When I was about seven or eight, one of my uncles committed suicide.  By the time I was in high school, I was taking medication to help my own depression and anxiety.  For me, my mental health has always pivoted around sadness, loneliness, and negativity.  I lived like this for years until things finally became too much.  During my sophomore year of college (about two years ago), each day became nearly insurmountable.  I wished, more than anything, that I could be a bird and fly away from the world.  But also, deep down, I knew that there are people who live happy, beautiful lives, and a part of me wanted this for myself.  I am very proud of that part of me.  I took some time off from school, began seeing a therapist, and moved back home.  I did a lot of volunteer work, ran a half-marathon, and started doing yoga (I even wrote an essay about my experience for the New York Times).  Although I still did not see myself as a particularly unique or important human, I had moved away, at least slightly, from the intense, pervasive self-hatred that had controlled my life for so many years.  I realized that I could live for me: if I wanted to make cookies, I could do that.  If I wanted to play in the snow, I could do that too.  I could even sit at the library and read all day.  I have always considered myself independent, mature, and responsible.  But I think I  have grown more in the last year than ever before.  I have begun loving myself — but I am not finished yet.  I make conscious decisions each day to engage with others, to smile, and to allow myself to have fun.  Now, I do things everyday that make me happy, like writing memoir-essays, making stir-fries with fun ingredients, and buying myself flowers.  I try to make steps forward each day.

Countless others are living in our world with similar emotional pain.  Maybe you yourself feel this way, or work with someone who does, or know a friend who does.  I encourage you to reach out to them and offer your support.  You are always welcome to email me if you would like to talk about anything at all.  See your doctor or find a psychologist or talk with a friend.  After going through serious depression myself, I don’t want other people to have to live like this.  Let yourself be free.  Let yourself be happy.

I wanted to include some mental health related links, if you would like to know more or are seeking help.

http://www.nami.org/ National Alliance on Mental Illness

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml National Institute for Mental Health

http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/ State by state guide to mental health resources

http://www.twloha.com/ To Write Love On Her Arms

http://suicidehotlines.com/ Guide to suicide hotlines across the country

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Therapy Mondays « Run. Write. Therapy. Life.
  2. Katie
    Jan 23, 2010 @ 22:46:07

    Let yourself be happy, I like that.

    It takes a lot of courage and strength to turn yourself around like that, I admire you! While I don’t suffer from depression, I know how easy it is to get sucked into a negative mindset, and I totally believe in the power of positivity…keep it up girl!

    Reply

  3. theemptynutjar
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 21:11:40

    HI. First thanks for all the great comments u leave on my blog – I profoundly appreciate it. Secondly, you have a great blog here – you have put a lot of work into it. Next, wow…what a story. I have my own story. Life is a challenge; a battle. I admire you. I hope to follow your blog more. Have a nice night.

    Reply

  4. Petal
    Feb 12, 2010 @ 13:21:50

    Thank you, for the comment you left and for your blog… it is amazing, I have only read a small amount but already I am somewhat overwhelmed. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

    xo

    Reply

  5. Astrid
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 00:44:39

    Thanks so much for leaving a comment on my blog. Your blog is wonderful and honest and refreshing! You are right. It is up to you to make yourself happy and to make your own life. It takes a strong person to realize that and an even stronger person to act on that! I will definately be topping by more often!

    Reply

  6. Jen
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 20:26:01

    Thank you for sharing your blog. I blog about my battle with depression and writing has totally helped me. I still have my ups and downs but there are far more ups now.

    Reply

  7. Salah
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:50:59

    thank you for sharing. Keep up the hard work girl! You are such an inspiration to so many people!

    Reply

  8. shesarunner
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 07:01:14

    Thanks for sharing this. I have had a lifelong battle with depression and I still feel it every single day. It’s had its ups and downs (although the past few years have been mostly downs) and I always find it helpful to see that other people go through similar things. Sometimes it seems as if the whole world is in on some kind of secret that I don’t know, because everyone else appears to be happy…but I know that everything is not as it appears and I really appreciate when people share their stories.

    Reply

  9. Chelsey
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 06:18:45

    You are amazing – I am sure it can be terribly painful to live in a world you don’t feel a part of. Your story is truly inspiring, and I hope you can be a voice to others who don’t have the courage to get help.

    Reply

  10. Thislady25
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 20:17:57

    I’m so glad that I ended up here. This was beautifully written and your story resonates with me so much, because I’m currently working through depression myself and I fight everyday to hold onto hope that I will heal and move forward. Thank you and I’m looking forward to following your blog.

    Aimee

    Reply

  11. It All Changes
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 14:47:34

    Thank you for being so open and honest about mental illness. I used to be ashamed of my Bipolar Disorder but now I live my life and don’t let it define me.

    Good for you for taking time for yourself and your mental health. Far too often people over look that aspect of themselves.

    Reply

  12. TC
    Aug 07, 2010 @ 07:48:39

    New reader here and wow, I just read your NY Times article. Your writing is amazing. I’ve always searched for the words to describe my own experience with depression and anxiety and you captured it absolutely perfectly! Love your daily entries, too!

    Reply

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  14. Carbzilla
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 11:28:31

    Hiya – Thanks for stopping by my blog. I can really relate to this. I spent most of my 20’s fluctuating between debilitating depression and anxiety. Thanks to a lot of therapy and medication (I’m off now, but it probably saved my life), I now feel more “cured” than not, but it’s amazing how tenuous moments can be. When it feels like the world is out to get you, it’s hard not to sink, but I’ve worked to hard to let it get to me.

    Big hugs!

    Reply

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  17. rebecca lustig
    Oct 10, 2010 @ 16:54:02

    Hi love,
    just came across your blog and wanted to let you know how admirable it is for you to share your stories. you’ve inspired me already and i cant wait to read more!

    take tghe very best care,
    rebecca
    http://fromheretothereinpurple.blogspot.com

    Reply

  18. nancyrunswild
    Oct 10, 2010 @ 19:11:40

    I very recently discovered your blog and I have to say I admire your honesty and bravery to speak about your mental illness. I really enjoy your blog so far 🙂

    Reply

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