Mental Health First Person Essays: We feature stories of mental health, empowerment, and change, including mental health first person essays, by and for those with mental health challenges.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Amy’s journey with intergenerational trauma, suicidality and addiction. Amy eventually found support that helped her to heal, read more here!
Lots of people are scared of death, but having thanatophobia—a clinical, often crippling fear of death—is quite different than what most people experience. Join Sibgha Akbar as she writes about recovering and accepting; all at the age of 17.
Like so many people who try to take their own lives, Sandra Stevens came from trauma; wishing she had never been born. She took many steps to achieve the desire to stay in this world; this is her story.
Sarah Myers understands her schizophrenia. That is, she challenges it with logic, and develops healthy coping mechanisms to respond to her symptoms. In Sarah’s opinion, this is more than the medical industry can claim.
For his whole life, Jacques Damhuis was confronted with, “What’s wrong with you?” After decades of self-discovery, and some EMDR, he is learning that the answer is “nothing.”
Eleni Stephanides was skeptical that going back on antidepressants would help, but she soon felt the clouds lift, and her vitality return.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Ana’s journey with Complex PTSD, and intergenerational trauma. Ana eventually cut ties with family to begin her healing journey. Read to learn more about how Ana learned to ask for help and recover from trauma.
As Max Guttman puts it, there is little to do in psych hospitals except pace the hallway and swallow pills. The most worthwhile way to spend his time, then, was hearing his neighbors’ stories.
Jason Schreurs would sit with his eyes bloodshot against the computer screen late into the night, forging connections on social media. Eventually, this obsession put him in the hospital.
The mental health impact of sudden vision loss can be dramatic, as Christopher Dale explores in this essay.
Megan Fisher wonders whether or not there is room in her life, and in people’s minds, for the child she was, with OCD, and the adult she is, with OCD.
Javier Ortega-Araiza was feeling suicidal, and it wasn’t the first time that happened. His essay talks about his mental health recovery.
After ten years of fighting a wrenching addiction to heroin, Stacey Anne Quin is winning herself back from the brink of mental illness and addiction.
Alan Caldwell has been collecting stories about his history of abuse and trauma and family for years, but only recently begun writing them down.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Amanda’s journey with OCD, Anorexia, Complex PTSD, trauma and grooming. Amanda had to cut off her mother in order to heal. Read to learn more about how Amanda learned to ask for help and recover from trauma.
Lena Walton was always shushed by society—no talking about her undiagnosed bipolar disorder, nor about independence as a woman. Only now, following a breakdown, is Lena finally beginning to understand herself.
Men in the Black community are viewed as weak if they seek mental health treatment, but Derrick McQueen, a Black man with bipolar schizophrenia, didn’t let stigma stop him from getting help.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Manndi’s journey with OCD. Manndi always struggled with symptoms but when she suffered from a miscarriage her OCD tendencies spiraled out of control. Read to learn more about how Manndi learned to ask for help and recover.
Sheila O’Shea triumphantly shouted, “I called it!” when she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder II; a mental health diagnosis she always kind of knew she had.
Julia Tannenbaum’s adolescence was taken from her by a series of teenage traumas and mental health challenges; but she is only looking forward as she thrives in her twenties.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Lindsey’s journey through abuse and childhood trauma, gaslighting, and hospitalizations, where Lindsey learned to trust her intuition and find practices around caring for herself. Read more in this mental health essay!
Alexis Zinkerman writes about the intersectionality between bipolar disorder, spirituality, and creativity.
Carissa Chesanek’s father experienced undiagnosed PTSD from his experience in Vietnam. His daughter never went to war, but was diagnosed with the same illness.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Leif’s journey through hospitals, homelessness, and diagnosis. Leif learned to advocate for himself and now finds ways to do so for others. Read more in this two-part essay!
This mental health recovery story focuses on Leif’s journey through hospitals, homelessness, and diagnosis. Leif learned to advocate for himself and now finds ways to do so for others. Read more in this two-part essay!
Taking “a magic little pill” to help cope with her sometimes debilitating anxiety had serious limitations and, eventually, Maria realized she needed more help.
Bipolar mania told Erika Nichols-Frazer that sex was love, that Stephen Colbert and John Oliver would want to interview her, and that gibberish was genius; these are the lies mania told her.
Brian Marshall has seen the same therapist for decades, and his relationship with her has been a key element to his recovery from depression.
Anne Marie Malloy had trouble loving who she saw in the mirror after facing childhood trauma, so she’s reclaimed control over self-identity with piercings, Doc Martens, and a rebellious attitude to match.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Andrea’s journey after an incident of unwanted touch in a public place. Andrea felt anger, confused, uncertain how to go on. Through mental health care and re-prioritizing her needs, read how Andrea learned to heal from her trauma.
Eleni Stephanides has learned how to run with depression, instead of running from it.
As someone who lives with panic disorder, OCD and anxiety, Caitlin Irish is uniquely positioned to help people as a psychiatric nurse, and uniquely challenged.
Losing people is always hard; for Amanda Wolf, the grief and loss following the deaths of a close friend and her grandfather threatened to overcome her.
Faced with traumas before unimagined, Laura turned to the tool of magical thinking to create safety after ongoing experiences of trauma.
Faced with trauma and grief, writer Laura Farrell turned to poetry to process her experiences.
Jules Aukerman, a budding pharmacist, confronts her sexuality and her eating disorder in this genuine, compassionate essay.
Christina faced issues with addiction and the law, due to underlying mental issues, eventually with the proper help and diagnosis she learned to tackle these issues.
Megan Fisher tried in vain to conceal her OCD behaviors from those closest to her, and therapy wasn’t the magic cure-all, until she found hope and help, compassion and change.
Khadija grew up with two hard-working, loving parents, it was later in life that she experienced the impact of her father’s depression.
Avis Yarbrough considers herself “shy” and “timid,” someone who stays at home. But when she first started hearing voices in her late twenties, she was catapulted on a trip she would have never taken otherwise.
A man wrestles with whether his depression and suicidality are diseases or conditions in this introspective and far-reaching essay.
Alicia McClendon has been parsing out the word “forgiveness” for some time now. Can you forgive your own mother for causing you childhood trauma? And what does it mean to forgive while still holding on to your truth?
Gabrielle Guillon has come a long way from growing up with depression and abuse as her constant companions; poetry has helped her heal.
Onome felt a lack of support in her childhood, which quickly spiraled into depression, although it was hard to find treatment in Nigeria and Ghan, she eventually got the help she needed.
Cheyenne Ruiz spent much of her adolescence fighting panic attacks, working through depression, and pretending hallucinations weren’t happening. One hallucination pushed her to take recovery into her own hands.
A Goodbye Call in a Summer Afternoon: Noticing Suicide Warning Signs May Be the Difference Between Life and Death
When her uncle called trying to give a cryptic goodbye, Thaís Freita noticed suicide warning signs and saved a life.
Two people with borderline personality disorder begin a romantic relationship that quickly becomes toxic, out-of-control, desperate, and dangerous.
Aneta Dabrowska felt the ups and downs of bipolar type II as a teenager, but no one around her knew how to react. When she entered adulthood, Aneta set on a journey to understand her illness on her own terms.
Being a Marine is supposed to put you through Hell and test your will, but not by subjecting you to rape by two different superior officers. Years later, Joyce Villeta is recovering and living through her trauma.
Kate’s eating disorder started with a desire to control her body and quickly spiraled into something else, learning to reconnect to her body, Kate found her way to healing.
Shannon McBride has felt the fog of depression and anxiety nearly her whole life, until an accidental run-in with a pamphlet at the post-office changed her life.
Depression in India, for women in particular, is still a taboo topic, with women being blamed and shamed for what they experience, as Aakanksha Shukla writes.
Life with psychotic symptoms, hallucinations, delusions and paranoia is hard enough, but when coupled with suspicions of medication; it can be intolerable.
Victor’s social anxiety felt debilitating and out of control, until he found and embraced journalism, a new tool for managing these difficult emotions.
Bereft of meaningful activities during the pandemic, a recently retired psychiatrist explores his mental health decline and the difference between acedia and depression.
Hospitalized for a major depressive episode, Katie Thomas looked into the eyes of broken people and saw herself.
Robin lived the “perfect life” and was excited to welcome her new baby boy, quickly after his birth Robin noticed a shift in how she felt. As her postpartum worsened, Robin did not know what to do and eventually sought help.
After a suicide attempt, Chris Brown, a young man living in England, realized that having a father who could hear him and be with him in that moment, made all the difference.
While hospitalized under the mental health act, Dominic found himself feeling hopeless and desperate to end his mental pain, read his story to learn how he moved through the pain and found hope again!
Living with schizoaffective disorder and anxiety, Leif Gregersen was hospitalized numerous times. Now he is a compassionate and vocal advocate for those in need of a voice.
Chris Russell, an actor living with bipolar disorder, writes about medication, realizations, acceptance, and managing his mental health.
Years of traditional therapy didn’t do much to quell Daniela Silva’s existential dread and fear of smiling. It took a dose Freud to spur her journey forward.
The national fatigue and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic felt all too familiar to Jennifer, who is diagnosed with bipolar and has experienced mania.
Max Noir lives with anxiety, depression, and chronic lyme disease, but she has not let these conditions diminish her capabilities, limit her travel, or her love of life.
After silently living with anxiety and panic attacks, therapy and medication helped Nicci Attfield, from South Africa, find her voice.
Shortly after her first hospitalization and diagnosis of bipolar, Jocelyn fell into a deep depression. While in the hospital, Jocelyn was guided by the beauty of an orchid, sitting on her window sill. Jocelyn found ways to find beauty day to day to help cope with depression and diagnosis, along with therapy and medication. Read more about her story!
When Kenyan university student Noah Kirui was in college, he started developing hallucinations and delusions and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.
After experiencing mountains of trauma at the hands of her therapist, Harper Hanson found that treating her OCD might actually be better solved in the operating room.
Thomas Duliban loves to share with people; but what’s acceptable to share of his autism, his OCD, his bipolar diagnoses?
Bharti Bansal reaches out a gentle, compassionate hand from India to a friend she has never met, another human being considering suicide, just like she did.
Caitlin Irish thought obsessive compulsive disorder was “just another quirk” but it was a life-changing diagnosis that led to a bright road to recovery.
Lisa Greene’s trauma recovery journey is hopeful, inspiring, and beautifully crafted, like the intentional life she leads.
Evelyn Sachs won’t stand for electroconvulsive therapy being just another cheap “Cuckoo’s Nest” reference; it has helped with her bipolar depression.
When Disabled Womanhood Means Shrinking: How Diet Culture Affects the Bodies and Minds of Disabled Women
In middle school, Erica began to notice her weight and developed disordered thinking about her body in an attempt to control it. Through recovery, Erica learned that her need to control her body was in part to make her disability less noticeable to others.
Josh Forner has been in recovery from depression his entire life, and likely will continue to be. The process is not a straight line, but rather one that curves up and down, and sometimes circles back on itself.
Christopher Dale once received mentorship on how to deal with depression from a man who knew the disease well. Now he’s learning to do the same for his son.
by Listen to Editor in Chief Gabriel Nathan read this story: I’ve often struggled to stay afloat on the choppy seas of life. Small waves have peaked behind my back, and in a flash,...
Jason Schreurs zig-zags through different moments in his life, finding both clarity and confusion throughout. It all coalesces with one surprise diagnosis.
by Listen to Editor in Chief Gabriel Nathan read this story: When I walk into a room, my presence, stature, and big ass afro commands attention! It wasn’t always that way—I didn’t...
As a police officer, trauma, PTSD, and thoughts of suicide threatened to end Constable James Jefferson’s career, and his life, but he wouldn’t allow it.
Severus Snape saved my life; a life lived with seemingly endless pain and despair due to anxiety and depression, writes Giovanna Errore from Italy.
A mental health peer specialist takes us inside to show us what it is like to work with clinicians to help individuals with mental illness recover and thrive.
Living with depression denies you of a lot of things, but Victoria Martinez isn’t about to let her depression take the wheel; she’s in charge.
Lisa’s journey into the world of sibling suicide loss is painful and, ultimately, hopeful and inspiring.
Isaac Nunoofio felt treating his depression was a hopeless cause, and then he found singing.
Through a difficult childhood, Kate developed PTSD, slowly as Kate began to understand the effects of her father’s absence and mother’s discipline on her mental health she began to heal.
Leigh Abraham spent much of his life thinking his failures belonged to him, but not his accomplishments. Then he found baseball.
When panic and anxiety come for the accademic, how does she cope? Sarah Barnette shares her recovery story.
As a child, Brianna attempted to find ways to control the emotions and experiences that she did not feel in control of, how Brianna’s diagnosis and treatment helped her to understand her moods.
Teenager Alex Andrews was well-acquainted with her school’s bathroom floor, where she wrestled with sometimes crippling anxiety and depression.
During childhood, Joao had trouble finding friends he could trust, how Joao moved through experiences of bullying and self-doubt.
Peter Leman, a university professor with depression, discloses to his students to help bust the stigma of mental illness on college campuses.
Dave Brennan reflects on the difficulties of living with someone with a bipolar diagnosis, as well as how we may look past these difficulties and see the rest of that person.
At times, Martha Ocasio’s symptoms from her OCD and anxiety disorder made herself and others feel uncomfortable.
Anuradha Malhotra has keeps finding ways to quell her depressive symptoms, but her cures always seem to run out of gas. Now she’s finding other ways of moving forward.
When faced with a multi-faceted stack of mental health obstacles, Ethan Sunny Swift survives through self-reflection and helping others.
James Howard’s younger life was dominated by trauma and substance abuse, but today he lives stronger with faith and music as his guides.
In childhood, Amanda the constant fear of neglect and need, how Amanda moved through her upbringing and re-parented herself.
Australian Zoe Judd writes with vivid brilliance about her recovery from self-harm behaviors.
44th in the Queue: What Texting the Suicide Lifeline Taught Me about Life, Mental Health, and Toxic Masculinity
When bipolar actor Chris Russell was experiencing suicidal ideation, he called the Lifeline; this is what he learned.
Growing up, Natalie struggled with her father’s alcoholism and manipulation, how Natalie worked through her relationship through therapy and writing.
Overcoming an addiction to self-hatred has been a life’s work for Harris Pike, in addition to managing anxiety, depression, ocd, and psychosis.
Kaci Curtis’s anxiety and panic manifested in obsessive worries and fears. Find out about how this young mother battles her brain every day.
Canadian singer-songwriter Skylar Bouchard has long struggled with addiction and self-harm, and his essay is a hopeful ballad to recovery.
Suicide loss is different than any other kind of loss, which Indian writer Raashi Thakran beautifully describes in her essay about her brother.
Dear Mom, I Want to Kill Myself is a heartbreaking and, ultimately, hopeful essay about overcoming suicidal thoughts and helping family members heal and grow.
Arielle Kremnev experienced an increase anxiety and depression after the birth of her second child.
The voice of her borderline personality disorder told her not to get into recovery. She worried that no one would love her when she got better.
Katie Thomas is a caring mother, sister, and wife, but often battles intrusive thoughts of doing horrible things to the ones she loves.
After several suicide attempts, Sarah Sharp now writes and lives with a passionate desire to stay alive.
The COVID-19 era has shifted and changed Wendy Hahn’s depression, her relationship with her husband, children, and self.
Brittany Lopes’s suicide attempt was intended only to harm herself, but it didn’t turn out that way. Read about her journey of healing, redemption, forgiveness, and recovery.
Under normal circumstances, being a flight attendant with anxiety and OCD is challenging; with COVID-19, it was next to impossible.
Ben Knight’s anxiety raged to the point where he obsessed over a physical ailment that he never had. Read about his whirlwind journey back to reality.
Hira Raza shares how culture and parental pressure can impact a child’s mental health, leading to an eating disorder and depression in Pakistan.
Casey Cannizzaro is a brilliant writer who lives in a world of addiction and bipolar disorder, both of which he fights every single day, with every breath.
Hannah Rose Preikschat shares what it’s like living with obsessive compulsive disorder, and more specifically, life with Pure O, or harm OCD.
A sudden move across oceans coupled with a psychotic break isn’t usually what saves a person’s life but, for Josie El Biry, it’s just what she needed.
Eli Parker spent his adolescence hiding his trans-identity from his friends and family, and took control of his life where he could, his diet.
Carol Blake writes her anxieties, joys, depressive thoughts, and words of gratefulness on physical paper to see her thoughts with objective eyes.
Sonia’s intrusive thoughts about her body controlled her behavior; how Sonia regained control of her life through identifying her disorder and finding help.
For the artist named Mederos, physical and psychological pain of depression is inextricably intertwined.
Eating and anxiety share the same spot in Rachel Nelson’s brain. After a life filled with crash diets and, Rachel’s recovering.
After leaving an abusive relationship, Felicia Darlington’s anxiety and hopelessness felt out of control. Her strong essay details how she found support and learned to be comfortable in motherhood.
For Rachel Davis, a doctor with OCD, every moment of every day is about managing her symptoms so she can function, live, and thrive.
Feeling anxious and depressed after the birth of her son, Katharine joined a support group and found help to understand what was going on in her body and her mind. Katharine found ways to understand her anxiety and become the parent she longed to be.
Ananya Sahoo, a young woman from India, tried to suppress depression and place the intense grief from losses in a box; but theses boxes always open.
When you are battling an eating disorder, decisions like stand or sit, one cookie or two, are not just benign choices. Emily Kelsall takes us into the world and brain of a woman living struggling with disordered eating and compulsive exercise.
AnnMarie Otis is a fighter; doing battle with cancer and depression every day of her life, and every moment of every day. Join her fight and cheer her on.
Trying to navigate the world as a black older woman diagnosed with schizophrenia has more than its fair share of roadblocks. Jacquese Armstrong sees that world differently than most.
After two negative experiences with less-than-optimal therapists, Taylor Oxley chose to battle her mental illness alone. As a last resort, she decided to visit one more.
Author and advocate Beck Medina works daily to improve her mental health by cultivating self-compassion. Her essay is a mature take on what it means to be young and plugged-in in 2019 and the cost to your self-image, and how to maintain stability while living with panic attacks and anxiety.
Rachel Sellers does battle with anorexia, one of the most deadly mental health challenges, like a warrior: brave and also very scared.
Leah Holleran’s mystery illness was as common as common could be: anxiety and depression, but she and her family didn’t know it. Leah eventually solved the mystery of her mental health challenge, but not before struggling with self-harm and the loss of her best friend to an overdose.
by Have you ever felt like an outsider in your own skin? As if the body you’re stuck with isn’t really something you own, but something you’ve picked up for the time being; like the shell of a hermit crab. Have you ever...
In addition to wrestling some of the most noted sumo wrestlers in the world, Mike Wietecha is also well-versed in wrestling depression.
Trying to manage bipolar disorder and a MFA program, she was influenced by mania, anxiety dictated the pace of her life, and her marriage was in danger.
I believed that my slightest misstep from perfection would result in the immediate and irrevocable loss of love and respect from every single person around me.
Dancer Morgan Rondinelli wrestles with her weight gain and its impact on her mental health challenges.
I don’t know if I will ever be free of the panic attacks but I have hope that I will know how to cope. As of right now, I am taking things one day at a time, living my life and sharing my story so that others know that they are not alone.
After her young brother’s death, Lauren Fraser takes us on her journey of recovery from mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and ptsd in this moving personal essay.
Instead of fighting against anxiety, I’ve learned to accept it and embrace it. Anxiety is only a small part of me, it doesn’t define me.
I fight for myself and those recovery from rape and PTSD. I still struggle, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I am not defined by what happened to me.
Receiving a diagnosis for borderline personality disorder later in life was difficult for Lisa Parker. When she finally heard the phrase “bpd,” she was able to start learning skills in her 50s she wished she’d learned in her 20s.
Hereditary Depression, Unplugged: My Uncle understood my mental illness because he shared it. Then he died.
When Christopher Dale lost his Uncle Steve, he felt he’d lost a guiding compass for navigating his hereditary depression. Now he’s trying to carry on Uncle Steve’s lessons himself.
This mental health recovery story focuses on Tina’s journey through a fixation on death, depression and suicidal ideation. Tina’s thoughts and actions felt out of control, guide by anxiety. Suicidal ideation was a constant in her life, how Tina sought help and learned that are her core, she wanted to live. Through therapy and a close encounter with death, Tina discovered her will to live. Read more about Tina’s journey!
Bryan Long writes about his struggle with anxiety and depression from the perspective of a young man opening up to a provider for the very first time.
If all you knew about mental illness came from television, you might think everyone with obsessive compulsive disorder was a “crazy clean freak.” Alexandra Ages begs to differ—a person with a mental illness is much more than a television archetype.
Trying to deal with a bipolar diagnosis, alcohol-abuse, self-harm, and hallucinations is a lot to take on. When Jessica Drake-Thomas met her emotional therapy animal, Mia, the road to recovery became much more clear.
This mental recovery story focuses on Lisa’s journey of childhood trauma, abuse and eventually her diagnosis of bipolar. After years of physical, sexual and mental abuse, Lisa thought she had found stability, until her mania set in followed by severe depression. Lisa’s life felt like it was spinning out. Her physical, sexual and mental abuse dictated her life, her mania felt out of control, how Lisa came to terms with her diagnosis of bipolar and past trauma and found a way to heal. With time and therapy Lisa found ways to cope. Read more about Lisa’s journey!
This mental health recovery story focuses on Erica’s journey through an abusive childhood, a diagnosis of bipolar depression and the feeling of being misunderstood, by other and by herself. Her bipolar depression and anger left Erica confused, when she found therapy she was able to see what was beneath her rage and come through to the other side. Erica realized that her anger masked a deep sadness, as she worked with a counselor she found a way to explore her past and understand her present. Learn more about Erica’s journey!
Rachael grew up with a feeling that she was different from others. She experienced anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms and had regular meltdowns. Eventually these things turned into a problem with substance abuse. Her inability to adapt to change and childhood anxiety created a barrier, how Rachael’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in adulthood helped her to understand her past and gain a newfound stability. Once, Rachael could understand what was going in her mind, she was able to take back control of her life. Read more about Rachael’s story!
If you think only a super-human force can successfully battle depression, then you don’t know Shawn Reynolds, comic book aficianado and mental health superhero in his own right.
Natalie Rodriguez knew she needed therapy for her anxiety and panic attacks; but she had to fight against shame and stigma to get that help.
JoEllen Notte, a sex educator who focuses on mental health, delves into her experiences as a woman who is depressed navigating a health system that often does not know how to respond.
Jenna Kohler’s life has been impacted by her boyfriend’s suicide, the Boston Marathon bombing, and other events that have shaped her exposure to depression and trauma.
A woman who lives with alcoholism describes the normalization of alcohol in Western culture and speaks openly and bravely about her alcoholism recovery.
Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston, and on Sue Ann Perna, who writes with bravery about how this hurricane impacted her mental illness and changed her life.
An OCD story from a young woman who writes about how narrative poetry is helping redirect her obsessive compulsive brain in a beautiful, inspiring way.
it has been a very long time since I have been out dancing. I am much too depressed and the pain is overwhelming; however, there came a meeting of my many minds and the solution was couch dancing. LOL, you say? I would be willing to bet you have never tried it!
“You need to accept the fact that schizophrenia is a chronic condition. You will have it for the rest of your life, so you need to start focusing on managing your symptoms.” When I heard it put so plainly, I sighed in despair.
My panic attacks are still not discriminatory nor are they accommodating. For years, they came and went as they pleased. In bedrooms, in showers, on vacations, and in cars.
We have a strong marriage but with our multiple diagnoses there are challenges that most would not understand—like going to the grocery store or out to eat.
I was trying to manage my PTSD (unsuccessfully), which was magnified by my newly received diagnoses of bipolar with treatment resistant depression and borderline traits.
I am what clinicians may refer to as “comorbid,” meaning I experience simultaneous disorders at once. With my history of diagnoses of major depressive, post-traumatic stress, panic, generalized anxiety, illness anxiety, body dysmorphic, and social anxiety disorders, I have had an overwhelming journey.
I had always been a sullen, solitary girl, sensitive and moody, prone to uncontrollable emotional outbursts. But the sadness I felt that winter was deeper, the outbursts more frequent, intense, and all-consuming.
I should have asked for her hand in marriage, but she would have just given me the finger. I live with bipolar disorder. Once, I loved with it too.
It is impossible to ignore the impact that a child’s addiction and mental health has on a parent. Because of this I started therapy myself, and I believe that it saved my life.
I’m a thirty-seven-year-old woman who was diagnosed with bipolar, depression and anxiety at the age of twenty-two. As I look back on my life I can remember feeling anxious throughout my childhood. I grew up in a good home with loving parents, but my anxiety persisted.
Bowser and I had met when I began a rather impulsive search for someone, or something, to help alleviate my mental and emotional turmoil.
I’m writing now as a happy and fulfilled young adult. But ten years ago, I thought my life was worth ending.
Though I am in recovery from generalized anxiety disorder, (GAD) that doesn’t mean I am cured, I have periods of remission and mini flare-ups.
I stopped drinking the next day. There was no plan. It was just, “I’m not drinking today, and probably not tomorrow.” Five years.
You’re more powerful than you know. And, once you learn how to wield your powers, trust me. They’ll applaud.
My illness devastated me at age twenty when I was committed to a psychiatric hospital for sixty days and eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
My impaired judgement was obvious even in the early days of my illness. I exhibited so many of the symptoms associated with psychosis—a substantial drop in my grades, trouble concentrating, declining hygiene, a significant weight loss, oscillating from strong emotions to a feeling of emptiness to name a few.
Not hallucinations, but rather some of the smaller and fuzzier denizens native to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There is no metaphor more fitting for the person I was back then: twitchy, easily startled, a propensity to run scared from others. I had lost all the avenues I’d had to hide from depression and anxiety, and they closed in like a pair of gangsters in an alleyway.
I felt like a complete failure. I had always been able to handle everything without an issue. But at first, navigating depression was another story.
One night, my mental state deteriorated to the point where I tried to end my life through a suicde attempt. It was impulsive and rash.
The Five Stages of Mourning is a perfect template for my own Five Stages of Depression: Anger, Anxiety/Exhaustion, Depression, Treatment, and Recovery.
When I exhibited symptoms of C-PTSD and OCD, I was afraid and lost. I survived multiple major depressive episodes, all of them including suicidality.
Whenever I’d gone through stages of major depression or anxiety as a young teenager, all I’d hear was that I was stupid, lazy, and unambitious. Imagine being judged by your symptoms and not by your illness.
My psychiatrist became so annoyed with my theological nonsense that he abruptly stalked out of one session, exclaiming, “You just can’t talk to crazy people.” I sent him a note later, in which I informed him that I could talk to crazy people, so that was his problem, not mine.
Around age fifteen or sixteen, I began experimenting with drugs. I can tell you that this was, and always will be, the beginning of an ultimately fascinating journey that I call life with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.
I am determined to love and live intensely and fearlessly because, as Audre Lorde said, betraying myself into silence will not protect me.
When you think of married life, what comes to mind? Are you in complete bliss or just plain miserable? Maybe you’re floating somewhere in between.
I endured this routine for so long: try a new medication to alleviate my treatment resistant depression and either feel horrible or feel absolutely nothing.
I am trying hard to make good decisions. I see my psychiatrist regularly. I take my medication. I try to live a healthy lifestyle with schizoaffective disorder.
The passive suicidal thoughts are still there, but I have started to recognize that they are only powerful if I give them the power.
When I finally saw a psychiatrist, she was surprised that I was still alive, having been afflicted with depression for so long without medical treatment.
As I battle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, it has always been far easier for me to support others with mental health struggles than to admit my own.
With depression, I had suicidal thoughts. Not because I wanted to kill myself, but because the idea of being “done” felt like serenity.
These images of mental in pictures are not what the public wants people to show. They are reality. They are dirty, messy, uninhibited, and true.
Persistent depressive disorder (formerly known as dysthymic disorder or dysthymia) is just what it sounds like: depression that persists.
Social anxiety still exists online. You’re still putting yourself out there and you feel vulnerable opening up, not knowing what response you’ll get.
In my research, I found several articles about Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures. Doctors do not use the term pseudo-seizures anymore because it falsifies them and invalidates them. Pseudo is a prefix meaning “false” or “fake,” and the seizures I was having, while not epileptic, were anything but fake.
I feel like I need complicated charts, graphs, and spreadsheets to adequately explain how big of a failure I am as a brand new stay-at-home dad.
“I can’t explain where I’ve been, and though everyone wants to understand, it doesn’t mean they comprehend. They can’t grasp where I am.” – Kathryn Rose Wood
Experiencing childhood trauma, I knew that something was wrong or different about me, but for a long time I dismissed that notion.
I went from unhappy to miserable to struggling to overwhelmed to depressed and suicidal. First I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, followed by treatment-resistant clinical depression. Then came the biggest clanger of all, diagnosis number three: borderline personality disorder.
My father’s compassion when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder was unreal and unexpected. Importantly, he was engaged in his own efforts to better understand what life is like for a son with bipolar disorder by seeking out support groups.
It took months of internal debate before I worked up the courage and the desire to at least give the depression and bipolar support groups a shot.
Groggy. Always groggy. Part bored, part feeling down. Seems I always have habits I either need to break or start—when I can get around to it. Maybe tomorrow, after my 8:30am nap.
Before I had a name for my mental illness — bipolar disorder and ptsd — this is what it felt like: playing diagnosis dress-up, trying on labels, seeing how they fit, and feeling lost — like there was nothing left in my closet to wear.
They say when you experience a traumatic experience as a child, you block out the details. My memory jumps.
I failed the postpartum screening given, as protocol, by the hospital, and yet they sent me home.
I crossed seamlessly from ambivalence and malaise into an area I’d never been before: actively planning suicide.
I’m not an expert on mental health, addiction, or suicide. I’m a survivor.
I don’t know when it started. It was not as though I suddenly woke up with a raging heartbeat and butterflies in my stomach, wishing I could run away from myself. It came in tiny bits of worry.
Yes, I have been diagnosed with depression, OCD and borderline personality disorder. Yet, I am still a good person.
Trapped between fear and anxiety, I would drink and use drugs to cover up my feelings. After years of living this way with several bad trips, blackouts and hospitalizations, I went into treatment.
Schizoaffective bipolar type is a disease characterized by mood swings and depression, in addition to psychosis, delusions, and paranoia.
Mental health silent retreats have been an important tool in my recovery. They have allowed me to forgive, heal, and gain clarity.
I started writing songs about my feelings and sharing them with audiences throughout the country as a touring musician, under the name The Homeless Gospel Choir.
Therapists have told me that I use these repetitive behaviors as way to avoid facing my fears.
A memory, a word, a smell, an instance can take one back to the exact moment the trauma first spoke to them.
I have bipolar disorder and I’ve written a book about my experience living with bipolar disorder and depression.
Gabe lives with bipolar disorder and Kendall lives with Gabe, who lives with bipolar disorder so, in a way; Kendall does most definitely “live” with bipolar disorder.
“I wrote the song “Becoming” about giving my mental health adequate attention and care, even while in a relationship.” — Emily Yacina
As bad as my depression has been – and I’ve experienced more than 40 years of it – I have somehow, luckily, always found the magic of laughter within reach.
Depression tricks you into thinking that you are completely alone when, in fact, you are the opposite. No one is truly alone.
We’re always looking for mental health empowerment in unsuspecting places, and today we’re featuring feeds focused around the diagnosis of anxiety on Instagram.
All my life, the media had taught me that, in order to suffer from mental illness, you had to endure some kind of a severe trauma. That was incorrect.
When it comes to mental health, how we can become our own best friend in 2018? Here’s what we came up with. Happy New Year to you, friend.
In this installment of our Mental Health Resources column, we’re covering the best of anxiety Twitter accounts. As always, OC87 Recovery Diaries is committed to our shared cause to #buststigma around mental health issues.
As I lie in bed, my thoughts spiral saying, “You’re a horrible mother. You’re a horrible writer. You’re a horrible person.”
A journey from dark days of mental health institutionalization and repeated electroconvulsive therapy treatments, to a successful advocacy career.
On losing my mind with bipolar disorder, the bottom line is this: I need to take my medication, no matter how much faith I possess.
Depression Facebook pages that share genuinely different content while still all speaking to what it can be like to live with depression.
“What could go wrong for someone who has panic attacks in large crowds at an event regularly attended by 20,000 people?” — Sheila Hageman
Depression tricks you into thinking that you are completely alone when, in fact, you are the opposite. No one is truly alone.
The doctors recommended that I receive an Honorable Discharge from the Army with a 100% Disability Rating: not what I had planned for my life.
Managing bipolar disorder behavior involves more than medications. Changes in mood are affected by factors in our environment.
A therapist writes with humor and passion about her struggles with panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, and an eating disorder.
As we seek to #buststigma around mental illness, this installment of our mental health resources column highlights OCD videos on YouTube that we love.
This was not exactly the learning I wanted when I went to graduate school, but the lifelong journey of becoming a therapist, is the therapy I have needed.
Despite getting progressively better at social interaction, dating with schizophrenia is just too much and, every time I try, I crash and burn.
Still, I resisted. For several years, I didn’t want to accept that the push and pull of depression was a permanent part of me.
The media is so quick to pick up the mental illness scapegoat because it knows that people need to blame the tragedy on something.
There is only one thing that gets me through the bipolar cycles and that is time. It is a cliché but, during my cycles, the only way is through.
Today we’re showcasing bipolar disorder Instagram accounts that enrich the way we understand what it’s like to live with this diagnosis.
I keep publishing because people say my writing about mental health has shed light onto something they have had a lot of trouble understanding.
I focus my work on helping folks navigate sex and depression on their own and with their partners so that everyone feels supported and safe.
I am plagued with obsessions and addictions. On default I use mental compulsions (avoidance, reassurance seeking, mental rituals, etc.) to seek relief.
Therapy can change lives, though there are bumps and valleys in the therapeutic process. I’ve found it makes for a happier state of being in the long run.
This disassociated state, where you plan your death as though you were planning Tuesday night’s dinner, is one of the many shades of depression.
A round-up focusing on schizophrenia Twitter accounts that serve our community through education, empowerment, and meaningful engagement.
I should probably explain a few things. I’m not crazy. I suffer from major depression, as well as generalized anxiety disorder. I’m basically a shut-in.
Stepping away reminds you that you are human; another hard lesson. It took me years to realize that I am a valid human being despite my illness.
After being diagnosed with a serious, chronic illness like schizophrenia, it’s hard to find any purpose in life, including finding work with mental illness.
People are now openly talking about having depression or anxiety — BUT NOT BIPOLAR: I believe that the word bipolar in Australia is still scary.
These five depression TED Talks share our agenda to inspire, build bridges, and bring light to the shadow that enshrouds mental health challenges.
Disclosing your mental illness has costs and benefits, but the thing to remember is that, while it’s a tricky choice, it is most definitely a choice.
Say the words “psychiatric hospital” to the average person and the hair on the back of their neck might stand straight up.
I put a lot of thought into how to make the web-series Katie and Shaun responsibly. The portrayal of anxiety and depression is true to my experience.
These PTSD Facebook pages speak to the specific challenges and lived experiences of this diagnosis to #buststigma, foster community, and create change.
I start to feel a bit of ennui, a French word meaning, “general malaise.” This can go on for a while until the ennui surrounds me and depression sets in.
In 2006 I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks and depersonalization. At the time, I was actively pursuing a career in music.
Maintaining mental health stability is a delicate dance that, at times, can be very unstable and can cause some serious trouble if you fall.
Glenn Holsten discusses the making of his mental health documentary film, Hollywood Beauty Salon.
I will always struggle with depression, but finally I feel I am done clearing the land and am ready to plant the seeds that will become new growth.
“OC87” is a term coined by one of my therapists. It refers to the year 1987: the year I wanted to control everyone and everything.
In celebration of our new podcast, we’ve rounded up 22 mental health podcasts that are doing their part to #buststigma around mental illness.
I wrote a song called “Everything Will Kill You” inspired by all the times that I’ve fearfully prepared myself for tragedies that have never actually happened.
Finding stability with a mental illness, like anything else worthwhile, takes time, effort, and openness to learning, and failing.
Perhaps it is important to talk about how I ended up in a psych ward and how I ended up having an earache. I can explain pieces of the first thing.
Living with schizophrenia, I’ve been through the full gamut of side-effects. New side-effects pop up to say “hello” with each medication I’m prescribed.
After my bipolar diagnosis I got married, got divorced, lost my job due to the stigma of mental illness, and attend two assisted outpatient hospital programs.
“Honey, I will be checking on you every fifteen minutes.” I stared at her, puzzled, until she leveled me with a four-word gut punch: “You’re on suicide watch.”
A round-up of smart, empowering, and engaging OCD Twitter accounts who share our mission to #buststigma around mental illness.
When I was deep in the midst of a psychotic break, I was convinced that I was a prophet sent from God to save society from its ills.
I’m talking about my depression, not in vague terms any longer. It is a problem. It has a name. My boys know that name and I hope they’ll be stronger for it.
Living with schizophrenia, I’ve experienced all manner of delusions about the way I think the way things are, and the way they actually are.
It all hearkens back to storytelling, to this desire we have to relate something. To let people know who we are, or were, or wish we were, or fear we are.
This post is a round up of depression videos that have us feeling educated, moved, and empowered to continue sharing mental health recovery stories.
Love can be the gasoline on schizophrenia’s fire, playing tricks on your mind and it can lead you to places from which you may not be able to return.
The severity of my depression in the wake of losing my job solidified the notion that, for people with mental illness, having a job can make all the difference.
The effect of stress is serious to your mental health. It’s easy to fall into delusional holes if your stress level gets to a point that isn’t manageable.
People say the first step in therapy is acceptance. I can’t speak for others, but I’ve started taking my steps. It’s okay if you want to take yours.
Be sure to follow us @OC87rd on Instagram and check out these other accounts who inspire us daily in the mental health Instagram community.
Taking care of yourself with mental illness requires some fortitude, especially in the face of a mountain of paranoia, delusions and hallucinations.
Disclosure is about feeling safe enough to find a kinder voice for ourselves. Every time I share my experiences in safe spaces I feel truer to myself.
Pulling back and regaining stability is complicated but it will help exponentially help in the long journey of living with mental illness.
In my eating disorder, I loved to push myself, to bring my body to the edge and watch which way it fell. More liquor, more dancing, more starving.
Family is the most important thing for a person with mental illness. We need support and validation that we are not alone in the world
Sitawa Wafula is a Kenyan mental health blogger and advocate for people living with mental health conditions and their families.
Schizophrenia is an insidious disease. Schizophrenic delusions are persistent, which is one of the major reasons recovery can take such a long time.
It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Gabriel Nathan as editor in chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries.
What is your mental health “wish list” for yourself in 2017? How would you like to grow personally? Where will you look for inspiration and strength?
One of the things people with schizophrenia do that isn’t that widely understood is the tendency to make connections out of seemingly random things.
The only advice I give is to be there and, above all else, give it time. Time is truly the only thing that can heal in situations like these.
I don’t know if my depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder will ever go away.
Delusions of grandeur are part of the experience of psychosis. It’s ok if you’re a little crazy. You’re certainly not alone.
There are nights where I lie in bed, staring up at the ceiling and I ask for help. Sometimes the voice comes; sometimes it doesn’t. By now, I’m used to it.
If you’re having trouble with schizophrenia and voices, first, try to recognize the reality, that the voices are just a chemical imbalance.
Narcissism begets hyper-empathy: narcissistic parents produce children who become attuned to the emotional states of their caretakers in order to survive.
Yes, I have schizophrenia. But I don’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself because I have schizophrenia, and life can be difficult sometimes.
Psychosis is defined as a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.
The pain of being labeled crazy doesn’t present itself as one big sweeping hurt, more like a series of small little jabs as you go through your days.
“Here’s my first and most important piece of advice: YOU NEED TO ACCEPT THAT YOU HAVE A MENTAL CONDITION.” – Claire Eastham on anxiety disorder recovery
Schizophrenia Symptoms in Relationships – I’ve struggled with so many different complications, nuances, symptoms, side-effects and annoyances.
It’s been exactly ten years since my bipolar disorder breakdown. These years have been hard work but they have brought tremendous joy and peace
My name is Meg Hutchinson. I’m 38 years old. I’m a singer-songwriter and poet. I’ve been living with bipolar disorder since I was 19 years old.