Embrace Your “Crazy”: Mental Illness Awareness Week

*Edit to add: Clare kindly let me know that Mental Illness Awareness Week isn’t actually until October. But honestly, we don’t need to wait until October to chat about this :)

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This morning, one of my favorites posted about this week being Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Like I posted about in January, I live with anxiety. I originally typed suffer from anxiety but that’s not accurate anymore.

I’ve found that anxiety is almost impossible to describe to someone who has never experienced it.

You feel crazy trying to explain the unshakable tightness in your chest, the constant worry that something bad is going to happen, the fact that although ev-er-y-thing in your life seems to be going right – you can’t fully enjoy it.

You feel guilty. Out of control. Wrong. Embarrassed that you just… can’t… seem… to handle it.

I’m here to remind you that you are not alone in this.

You’re not alone, and it’s time that we embrace our “crazy.” The more we talk about this kind of stuff, the less scary and stigmatized it will become.

It’s easy to feel ashamed by a big, ugly, scary MENTAL ILLNESS; but I ask you, if you had diabetes and your body couldn’t control your insulin levels, would you feel embarrassed and out of control? Ashamed for having to take medication, possibly for the rest of your life?

Probably not.

So, let’s change our focus.

Let’s change our perspective.

Let’s talk about this kind of stuff.

Let’s embrace it.

Let’s support others.

Let’s accept ourselves.

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23 Responses to Embrace Your “Crazy”: Mental Illness Awareness Week

  1. Emily says:

    Thank you Colleen!!! This is wonderful! I have anxiety as well and it is near impossible to describe to anyone who doesn’t have it! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Well said! There’s no reason to let the stigma win – especially since we ALL probably know and love someone who suffers from a mental illness, even if we don’t realize it!

  3. Love this! I’ve been living with anxiety since I was in first grade (which everyone loves to say “What do you worry about when you’re in elementary school?” My answer: “EVERYTHING”). It’s definitely something that needs more awareness and a better understanding. I’ve found its nearly impossible to explain to someone what it feels like, yet alone what you’re thinking on a weekly/daily/hourly basis. Here’s to living life with anxiety!

  4. Colleen says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve lived with anxiety since I was little and I was always so ashamed of it. It wasn’t until I hit bottom in college and became depressed that I realized that there are ways to cope and that I shouldn’t feel guilty and ashamed. I wish more people would at least have an awareness of it so thank you for spreading the word!

  5. Love, love, love this. I definitely have my hard times with anxiety too. Thanks for spreading awareness! xoxo

  6. anonymous says:

    Mine started in 1st grade too LOL. I just thought being a “worrier” & Type A person was who I was (and a LOT of my family). It wasn’t until I hit my 30′s and cracked that I got help and realized it was anxiety. I have been on zoloft (low dose) and my life has turned around. I didn’t think people could actually be this happy and I am a much better parent. I am still trying to accept that I can’t control this and I need a pill to conquer it but for my kids’ sake I need to do this.

  7. You are wonderful, as always. I’m a gal livin’ with depression, so the more awareness, the better.

  8. Thank you for this post, Colleen. I’ve been struggling BIG TIME with anxiety the last three+ weeks. It feels awful. It’s nice to be reminded that I’m not alone. Thanks, again.

  9. Love this post – esp since your other post really was the one that triggered my drive for blogging.

  10. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. I have friends who don’t understand my anxiety. Like, have the nerve to ask, “Why do you have so much to worry about?” (um, I wish I didn’t), or say, “You don’t like us because you won’t watch this movie with us.” (I can’t watch scary/action movies that trigger my anxiety)..and I just want to scream, “You don’t get it!” So, it’s nice to know that some people do :) . I told you I was going to email you months ago about medications, but I never did! I’ve been better this summer because all of the time in the sun helps my mood, but I might be emailing you come fall!

  11. Brittany winfree says:

    I too have worried about stuff since first grade. That is when it hit me too! It is definately a long uphill battle but thanks to people like you and being able to talk open and free yourself from constantly holding it in, it does help to relieve some of the weight on my shoulders. Thanks again for all your support and talking openly about anxiety! It isnt fake , it is very real and needs to be understood. But as you said those that have never lived with it have a hard time sympathizing. Love your blog!

  12. A.K. says:

    I love this! As a fellow counselor (to-be) and blogger, I’m doing my best to talk about mental illness and mental health as often as possible. I love when it comes up in conversation and I can help debunk myths or devalue the stigma surrounding it. Thanks for this post — we all need a little reminder sometimes that we’re not alone!

  13. Alyssa says:

    I just love you and your honesty. :)

  14. Elle says:

    Glad you posted this! That’s such a better way to say it: “I live with anxiety”. My anxiety just started spiraling out of control again and sometimes I feel so alone in it. Thanks for the reminder I’m not!

  15. Susan says:

    I’m crazy and I’m proud! :)

  16. Brittany says:

    So glad you posted this :) thanks for spreading awareness!!

  17. Becster says:

    This is a wonderful post. I was never diagnosed but I did have a bout of depression a few years back. You just feel so alone even when you know you have your whole family and friends who would help. Mental illness is something that’s most people will go through at some point in their lives and no one should be ashamed to admit it. X

  18. Phil says:

    Great post! I know some people who suffer from anxiety and have had to deal with it myself as well. It’s good to be spreading more awareness so that people don’t feel all alone and that it’s not something they have to hide.

  19. Lindsay says:

    YES YES YES to this post! I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and mild OCD this past Spring, and posts like this make me so happy to know that I’m not alone. I agree 100% with what you said – it is so hard to describe to people who have never experienced it. I explain it that I feel like the rational part of my brain, and the anxiety are in a battle. I know what I’m thinking is not really rational, but I can’t stop! It is so so so much better now, with a combination of medication, therapy, and exercise but it’s still something I know I’m going to battle with it probably forever. Sorry for the novel, but thank you again for this post! There shouldn’t be a stigma about it, and more people should be posting about it. :)

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