World Mental Health Day

As many of you may or may not know, as I myself was unaware, World Mental Health Awareness Day is today, October 10th. First started in 1992, it is now celebrated in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its goal is to bring attention to mental illness and the major effect it has on people (1). When I was deciding what to write about for this post, a picture and an idea was making it’s way around the internet.

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Over 41 million people in the United States take an antidepressant (2).

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States (3). It affects 16.1 million adults over the age of 18 (4). Depression can cause severe symptoms affecting sleeping, eating habits, personal relationships, and work life. It can cause a loss of interest in activities, feelings of hopelessness, sadness, irritability, decreased energy, appetite changes, physical pain, digestive problems, and thoughts of suicide and or attempts. These are just some of the symptoms that people with this disorder have to live with everyday. This is a serious illness that affects a large population and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

A diabetic cannot go without their medication and you would never expect them to. So why do we treat mental illnesses and depression differently? Without insulin a diabetic could go into diabetic ketoacidosis, a coma, or even die. Without their antidepressants a person can fall into a deep depression, become recluse, and or commit suicide. This article explains perfectly how suicide is a symptom of mental illness  Stop Looking For Answers: Suicide Is No One’s Fault.

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I prefer this version!

The original post of the above especially got to me, not only because it is Mental Health Awareness Day, but because of a pharmacy snafu, I found myself without my antidepressant for 3 days this past week. That might not seem like a lot of time, but in my experience abruptly stopping any antidepressant causes me to quickly show signs of withdrawal. After the first day I started to experience severe stomach pain. I later realized, after blowing it off, it was withdrawal when I suddenly started getting dizzy. My eyes felt as if they were throbbing in my skull and I felt as if I was sea sick. I knew I wouldn’t be getting my medication for a few more days but I was already so sick without it. I was terrified. I found myself struggling for control over my depression. I would just cry for no reason. Finally, after three days and countless phone calls I was able to get a 2 week sample of my prescription from my doctor, but my pharmacy still could not fill my prescription for a week.

Even after being back on my medication for two days, I was swinging in and out of a depressive state. I was afraid to be alone. All of my fears and worries came rushing back, as if a dark cloud was looming overhead. The next day I called my doctor and  we figured out a new game plan and I’m feeling better, but I’m still not back to where I was before. I’m afraid I may never get back to that place again. That is the delicate balance of a mental illness. After all that I’ve been through, to say that depression is not a real illness, that it is something that can be brushed off by a walk in the woods, is ignorant to those who struggle everyday. On today of all days, everyone should know that depression is something that many people can’t manage on their own without relying medication.

I am one of those people.

I have depression, and it doesn’t have me. Everyone with a disorder, disease, or illness are not defined by it. It’s important to understand managing whatever you have, so that you can express who you really are to the world.

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Let’s not shame those who are brave enough to seek help for their illness. Only 44% of adults with a mental illness ever seek treatment according to this insightful article about Mental Health Facts and Myths. So many suffer in silence, too afraid to ever get the help they need. Let’s raise each other up and embrace our differences, instead of judging one another.

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Read more about my battle with depression here.

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Sources:

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Mental_Health_Day

2: https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/people-taking-psychiatric-drugs/

3: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml

4: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

5: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/myths-facts/

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65 comments

  1. I was just talking about this with my older daughter over the weekend. She is changing doctors and hopes to find a better medication for her anxiety. I believe 100% in medication when needed. I am on it myself.

  2. I love the message that you are sending. Mental health is definitely something that is not talked about enough!

    1. Anxiety is a wicked monster. My boyfriend suffers from it. I’m aware that not all mental health issue require medication and not all people require being medicated. Everyone is different. My main point was to not judge those of us who need those medications to survive everyday life. I’m glad you don’t have to go down that road! Every pill comes with side effects and downsides so I am really glad you have found an alternative that works for you!

  3. I agree what you prefer a version. Depression is really serious I’m also went in that situation and my doctor said I just need to hang out with good people like my family and then do some good activities.

    1. I don’t agree with what that doctor told you. If you are experiencing a mental health issue the first step is to always see a therapist who can work hand in hand with a psychiatrist. I went years and years treating my depression with my normal doctor and got no where. They are not qualified to handle these issues. I hope you get the care you need <3

        1. You’ll have to look for a place near you that’s covered by your insurance that specializes in mental health care. Your doctor can recommend places. Treatment by these doctors is SO much better than getting treated by your Primary care physician!

  4. These medications can really be life savers and allow people to function in everyday life. I didn’t realize so many people suffer from this without treatment!

  5. This is such a great post. I’m glad that you are bringing awareness about this. I have to take medication for my migraines when they become unbearable.

  6. Thank you for debunking the falsehoods so many of us are led to belt eve about mental health and thank you for sharing your journey.

    1. My boyfriend also has anxiety, I know how rough it can be. I’ve been with him where he was to afraid to get out of the car because there were people we would have to walk by. Your right, people should be educated on Mental Health issues!

  7. I don’t understand why people would make a meme like that. Medication definitely helps and mental illness is something that we shouldn’t take lightly. A lot of people, loved ones, are lost because of depression and other mental illnesses and that’s because they don’t have enough support from their loved ones. Often times, people would just think that a person is overly dramatic, which is terrible!

  8. There is such stigma surrounding mental health awareness. I am glad there is such a thing as Mental Health Awareness Day and I glad you are brave enough to write this post! Rock it sister!

  9. I have suffered from depression for the majority of my life. I have only taken medication for it for a short time. I actually felt worse on the meds than I did off of them. So, I stopped taking them. It is tough to deal with sometimes, but I have managed to fight it off somehow. I know what you are going through and I wish you lots of luck in your battle with it.

  10. This is not talked about enough! I know many people who struggle from depression and anxiety. You sound like a fighter!

  11. Depression is absolutely a real illness. It is a shame that it has such a stigma. Why is it okay to make meds for other diseases, but not depression? I think the problem lies in the fact that unless you’ve been there you have no idea what it feels like. Hopefully, this will change.

  12. People are crazy to make this kind of Meme, they didn’t know that Mental Depression is sensitive. I’m glad to hear about World Mental health Day to raise this awareness. Many people suffering from different depression and it takes years to treat. I would love to spread this word <3

  13. Mental depression is a serious mental health problem. I have a friend whose suffering from mental illness, she already hand to hand with her psychiatrist. I’m glad that she’s treated by this time.

  14. A facebook friend of mine recently posted that first image, and I had to point out to her how dangerous that is. As someone who takes an anti-anxiety med and has tried other homeopathic assistance, it is something that is not true to me.

      1. I tried. She ende dup saying that it can be a coping tool, but it’s not a cure which is why she doesn’t believe in it.

        1. She’s right, it’s not a cure. However it is a tool that helps so many people. That many can’t live without. Taking medication is a choice we all must respect. I hope your friend opens her eyes one day.

  15. I suffer with agoraphobia. I’ve tried so many medications, but nothing seems to help. When we left the city (Minneapolis) and moved out to the country with all those woods, I do feel better. However, getting fit has also helped me cope somewhat. Still, on a daily basis, it’s a struggle. I didn’t use to talk about it much and I’ve even lost friends who didn’t understand. Bravo for your stance – and I couldn’t agree more. I wish I could get relief from medication.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is such an important message to get out. I’m glad you were able to get back on your medication and sorry you had to go without it for a few days. Stay well.

  17. You’ve raised some good points. Mental health is not understood by so many, so in turn it is sometimes feared, I think because of it. Which of course does nothing to help the person who needs help.

  18. I never know we have a special day for World Mental Health Awareness. Depression is something which many of us go through in this crazy lifestyle we live in and the mental health statistics looks quiet scary.

  19. This one’s an eye-opener for those who expect insensitively from people with depression and/or anxiety. I hope we can all do something involving more causes for people who are seriously looking for a green field instead of a barren wasteland.

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