** Trigger warning: This post mentions many mental illnesses and some may find certain things discussed triggering **
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
One thing I cannot f*cking stand is when people use mental illnesses as adjectives. They’re a f*cking serious illness, not something to be used as a bloody sentence enhancer. Those people are the worst kinds of people and the worst part about it is that I genuinely think people don’t understand just how offensive this is. I don’t know if it’s just the massive stigma and lack of education about mental health issues as a whole, or just plain disregard for other peoples feelings.
There is a f*cking unfathomable difference between these statements and actually suffering from these illnesses and using them purely to fill out your sentences is so damaging. The stigma surrounding mental health is already ridiculous and a constant uphill battle (which you would know, if you actually had the shit you’re belittling), so can we stop? Please stop. Lets stop.
Let me sum this up –
If you’re feeling nervous about something, that does not automatically mean you have an anxiety disorder.
If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression.
If you pride yourself in having a spotless home and spend ages polishing your collection of cat figurines, again, doesn’t mean you have OCD or any other mental illness.
If you think you have a mental illness then go and see a f*cking doctor. Unless you’ve been diagnosed and are using them in the correct context, please don’t throw the words around like they are f*cking adjectives because trivialising illnesses that cause immense suffering is pretty shit, don’t you agree? The way people drop these mental illnesses into everyday conversation is wrong.
I’m going to take this opportunity to explain just a little bit about what having a few of the above illness is really like, in the hope that those currently word dropping might think twice.
Most people, at some point in their life will experience a panic attack, maybe even a handful of times and will part from the experience with no further implications and without having an underlying mental health problem. They’ll have one or two and that’ll be it. It will be horrible but will be isolated and won’t carry on affecting your life once the initial shock of experiencing one is over.
Panic Disorder is a whole different kettle of shit covered fish. It is when these panic attacks become regular, at my worst, I was experiencing panic attack after panic attack all day, every day. They consume your entire being and completely exhaust and destroy every shred of light left inside you.
You start having panic attacks about the thought of having panic attacks, you cant leave your house because you’re panicking about panicking, will people notice? What if I have a panic attack in the car? What will they think? What if I pass out? Is the door push or pull? Is it left or right? First floor or ground floor? Is my clock right? What happens if I have a panic attack? What if my phone dies? What if I need the toilet when I’m out. Which was it again? Right or left? What if the battery pack I brought with me dies? Will I have to pay for anything? What if I forget my PIN? Will the guy serving me get annoyed at me? What if I lose my card? What happens if it’s declined? Everyone will stare. What happens if I have a panic attack? What if it gets stolen? What if I panic so much I start dry heaving? What will people think? What if my phone connection goes down? What if the mast providing service to the town I will be in falls down and the reception goes completely? What if no one knows where I am? What happens if I have a panic attack? What if a car crashes into me and I will never see my kids again? What happens if my kids are with me when the car crashes into me? What if there’s a storm and lightening hits one of them? What if I have a panic attack? All that spinning through your head in 5 second flat. Not an exaggeration.
A panic attack is literally feeling the surge of adrenaline as it rips it’s way through your entire body. It’s stabbing chest pain so painful you’re convinced you’re going to die, it’s heart palpitations strong enough to leave you struggling to breathe. It’s sweat saturating your entire body. It’s feeling like you are being smothered by your own ribcage and hyperventilating so much you nearly choke on your own vomit. It’s feeling unbearably hot. It’s feeling unbearably cold. It’s being so dizzy you can’t stay upright let alone walk. It’s tunnel vision. It’s tingling body parts. It’s every single little noise amplified to an unbearable level that you can literally feel the sound waves tearing apart your ear drums. It’s stumbling to the bathroom before you shit yourself. It’s digging your nails so deep into your arms and not noticing the blood pouring down your arm. Panic disorder is that. Over and over and over and over and over again.
It’s not feeling nervous, shy, worried, scared it’s feeling f*cking terrified. Terrified of getting on that plane to go on holiday, terrified of walking into a crowded shopping centre, terrified of having to pay for something, Terrified of being alone, terrified of walking out your f*cking front door. It’s not being able to do anything your heart wants to because your mind wont let you.
Depression isn’t the same as feeling disappointed, down, low, unhappy, sad, upset. Depression is a debilitating illness that f*cking kills people. All these words can be used to describe a depressive episode but on their own they are not depression.
Being depressed is not showering in f*ck knows how long because the thought of moving is too much to bear. It’s not brushing your teeth for weeks on end. It’s not changing your underwear or brushing your hair. It’s having every drop of colour squeezed out of your entire world.
An eating disorder is not a f*cking diet. You cannot “kind of” have/have had an eating disorder. If you eat cabbage for 2 weeks to lose weight. That is not an eating disorder. It’s by no means healthy but you can’t temporarily go on a shitty fad diet and call it anorexia. Going a bit overboard on snacks in front of the telly is not Binge Eating. F*ck off. Eating disorders are not f*cking diets. They are serious mental illnesses not a f*cking lifestyle choice. By likening a temporary bullshit diet to an eating disorder is not only utterly ridiculous but it is and insult to the people who have died from this illness. To the people struggling EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Karen f*cking does have an eating disorder because guess f*cking what? Eating disorders have pretty much f*ck all to do with the body but they have everything to do with the mind. Weight has nothing to do with it. You can be 30 stone and have an eating disorder just as severe as someone who is 5 stone. Binge eating disorder is also a thing, and no it can’t be cured by just “going on a diet” because once again, eating disorders are disorders of the mind, not the body. You can fix a body easily but the disorder will still be there because force feeding a body doesn’t cure the mind.
Self Harm is not a f*cking trend. It’s not a craze. It’s not attention seeking.
Self harm is having your mind screaming so f*cking loud you can’t cope anymore. It’s feeling so numb that you would do anything to feel something, anything. Do you know just how much pain somebody needs to be in in order to hurt themselves physically? It’s not a f*cking joke. I don’t give a flying f*ck what people who have no experience of mental illness yet seem to think they know f*cking everything to say on the matter. ANYONE harm themselves is hurting.
I have been self harm free for a while now, I’m not sure exactly how long as I relapsed so many times I stopped counting. Despite it being years, I still struggle. Whenever something triggers my anxiety, whenever I relapse with depression, whenever I am so zoned out I cant feel, my mind ALWAYS defaults back to the only coping mechanism I learnt as a child. I’m recovered, but I will always be recovering.
It f*cking ruins your life okay?
Quotes that say shit like “positivity is a choice” making it sound like a smile cures depression well they can f*ck off too. In fact, they can f*ck off to the furthest side of f*ck and then f*ck off some more. If it were that easy there wouldn’t be such a thing as mental illness. I appreciate that in most instances this kind of bullshit is not meant to be as ignorant as it sounds and anyone who has ever suffered will know that all too well but they’re still bullshit. Thanks and everything, but no.
Another thing I want to talk about is self diagnosing. Self diagnosing is dangerous, not only for yourself but for other people too.
If you think you’ve broken your leg, would you just google it think, “oh yes, I’ve broken my leg” and then not bother going to A&E? I doubt it, because unless you’ve done a degree along with years of training, you’re not qualified enough to diagnose anyone with anything. I don’t mean to sound like a dick here but go to the doctor. Treat yourself as you would somebody you love, you wouldn’t self diagnose your kids and then brush it under the table would you? So why do it to yourself? You are just as important.
I understand that google is tempting and that sometimes yeh, you can be pretty sure you suffer with x y or z but you may also be wrong. There are many branches of the mental illness tree and you may find that you aren’t actually suffering with what Dr Google told you and it may well be something that’s similar but also different.
I’m going to use the broken bone theory again here, if you break your leg you can google it and probably get a pretty good idea of what bone you’ve broken but if you go to see a doctor who x-rays your leg they may find that the bone you thought was broken is fine and actually its the bone next to it that’s the problem. Google can help you learn the names of the different bones if your leg but without a professional, you can’t be sure which one. You see what I’m saying? By telling people that googling is a way to diagnose something, you’re putting them at risk.
Mental illnesses are just as valid and just as serious as physical illnesses. Worst case scenario; you can end up killing someone buy essentially saying it’s perfectly okay to diagnose on the Internet. So don’t. Support them to go and see their GP. Okay? Okay.
With that being said though, you absolutely don’t need a diagnosis letter to validate your suffering. You don’t need a diagnosis to have something going on but you do need a diagnosis to receive the right treatment. Dr Google can be helpful, but only once you know what you’re dealing with.
If you’re reading this as somebody who is struggling I want you to know that you are not alone. You are important. You are loved. You are wanted and needed by this world and everybody who loves you. You may not feel it right now but you are an amazing, wonderful being and I’m so proud of you for getting this far and I’m so, SO glad you are still here.