Thursday, June 11, 2015

Taking Mental Health Seriously

I feel as if I've had a lot of anxiety problems in my life, though I don't often consider them a real problem, to be honest. I just kinda float through and manage to carry on despite the anxieties. 

I remember often when I was a kid that I would get this icky sinking feeling in my stomach. From what I can remember, it would last every day from about November to March. If I was in school, that was good because I could distract myself. If I had my head in a good book, I could distract myself long enough to get my mind off my nagging stomach. If we could just do something to distract myself, usually involving not being home, things looked better! Thank goodness our grandparents literally lived right behind us and I could get a bit of change of scenery going there. And grandma loved to go out for coffee. A lot.

That icky feeling has not been around much since I was in high school. There have been moments where it has returned, and they are dreadful moments. But somehow I've managed to be able to take deep breaths, change my surroundings, or simply distract them away via technology. 

If someone tells you they are hurting, or suffering from some kind of nagging anxious feelings, take them seriously. I think sometimes we try to tell people they are fine, by our estimations, and that their feelings don't have anything to do with reality. This is probably the most true with anxiety disorders, because to an outside source, the feelings do seem illogical and don't seem to have a lot of basis in reality. So we brush them off and tell them that they aren't as bad as they seem.

We have to take it seriously. Yes, it's time consuming and inconvenient to have to start calling around for information and making appointments, but isn't the life of your loved one worth it? 

Sure, these days, especially for kids in school, they have all that IEP stuff and extra help in school. But what about for other things? What about feelings of anger, or frustration, or fears? What about crippling anxiety that keeps you up at night unable to just relax and go to sleep? And how do you tell your parents any of this when you can't make sense of it yourself? 

Just take them seriously. Give them support if they need it, direction if they need it, and help to show them how they can work through their feelings in a safe way, through the help of a counselor or whatever.

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