It is okay to feel this way. Say that over and over. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. Being bipolar, I started to notice changes in my mood when I was 16. Doing research is one of the most important things you can do if you start feeling different. Something I failed to do however, was tell my parents right away. Because of this mistake, I ended up in the hospital after having recurring suicidal thoughts. It is okay to have these feelings and thoughts. It does not mean you are crazy or insane or a lost cause. The moment you start feeling this, you MUST tell someone. Trust me, people will commend you for being strong enough to do something about it, and not "weak" for having bad thoughts. The sooner you recognize that something is different, the sooner you can ask for help, and the sooner you can get better. - Drew McCorey, January 29th, 2017
You cannot take your mind off of it. You can feel it in your chest. It almost burns. Anxiety is, for me, the most difficult thing to deal with. For so long, I kept it to myself, trying my best to put on a happy face so no one would have to question me about whether or not something was wrong. Going through the experience of keeping everything in eventually made me realize that it was the worst thing I could do. You HAVE to not only talk about how you're feeling with a family member, friend, or therapist, but also find activities to take your mind off of it and find that release. Find what makes you calm. For me, it is running and taking a shower. These help so much, especially running, as exercise is one of the most effective ways of dealing with anxiety. That being said, it is also important to not simply run away from what is bothering us. Use activities that take your mind off of these issues WITH talking about what is happening in order to actually see a difference. It will get better and just know that this won't solve anxiety once and for all right away. It takes time, but with persistence you will get better.
-Drew McCorey, February 6th, 2017
This is the hardest thing for me to do- by far. Not wanting to tell my friends my honest feelings because of what they might think or not telling my parents, afraid of being bombarded with questions and instead just pretending that the issue will go away on its own or even pretending that the problem doesn't exist at all. There are so many reasons why we wouldn't want our full emotional spectrum to be revealed, whether its embarassment or just simply wanting to keep some feelings private. Instead of keeping these anxious and depressive thoughts or impulsive actions to yourself, they MUST come out. It's not easy. But it does get easier. Each time you share your worries, it gets a little easier next time. The most common concern is along the lines of , "I want to share my feelings, but when it comes down to the time to do it, I can't get myself to open up, or at least not all that I should be talking about." So how can we bring ourselves to share what is bothering us most?
The first thing that must be done is finding someone who will not judge, criticize, or patronize you for how you feel (constructive criticism is a good thing). Once you find that person, whether its a family member, friend, or someone you have met online that is going through a similar experience, half of the battle is fought. Once you know that person cares about your well-being and your success, it becomes much easier to be open. Actually sharing your thoughts, concerns, or emotions is incredibly similar to going into a pool that's a little too cold for your liking; once you get your shoulders under, you're fine- you're safe- you're not shivering anymore. Let your feelings spill out while keeping in the back of your mind that they are listening because they care about you and they really do want to help. Know that if you want any shot of getting help, this must be done. A conversation must take place. Every single time I have shared EVERYTHING, it has felt as if I had just worn a weighted jacket and it was just taken off. It is more relieving than getting an A on a test you thought you would fail. I have actually felt the same by simply writing my feelings down in a journal. I often found that when I wrote down how I was feeling when experiencing anxiety or frustration, I would realize that I shouldn't be upset about it. It's the same when you say something out loud that makes you upset and it just sounds ridiculous. Journaling is an excellent method if you're in a situation where there is no one reach out to for the time being. Just know that once those inner pains come out, it allows you to conquer them and move past them. -Drew McCorey, February 24th, 2017
It happens to everyone. There is not a single being on Earth that doesn't fight through adversity and overcome obstacles throughout their life. What has helped me the most over the past months and years is staying busy and keeping my mind occupied. This can be achieved through work, school, friends and family, or whatever it may be that helps take your mind off of challenges and have a chance to be yourself and focus on the present. When I'm going through really tough times, I tend to seclude myself from social interactions, not knowing that the best thing for me was to make the effort to hang out with friends or family. Taking mini vacations was huge for me, allowing me to explore new places and have a chance to sit back, smile, and realize that everything is going to be alright. Focusing on what is happening in the now, as opposed to tearing yourself apart over the past, is the first step to getting back on your feet. That is much easier said than done, of course, but if you can keep yourself busy and do things that you love (that you maybe stopped doing, too) you will be able to recover.
-Drew McCorey, June 25th, 2017
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