Shining a Light on Mental Health

Lane Ziegler, Writer

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Mental health is defined as our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects people’s lives in many ways, whether it’s in how we behave, feel, or act. People will have different experiences and levels of illnesses, but they are all important to touch on.

One illness we’ve all heard of is depression. Depression is an imbalance of the brain’s signaling chemicals. It’s the overwhelming feeling of sadness, despair, and isolation. People who are depressed usually like to stay alone. They lose interest in things they’ve enjoyed before. It interferes with their daily lives, making it hard to get through the day. Therapy and antidepressants can help ease the pain, but it is depression is considered to be incurable.

I asked someone who faces this condition to answer a few frequently asked questions. They will stay anonymous:

Lane Ziegler: How has depression impacted your daily life?

Anonymous: Depression has impacted my life a lot. For example, some days I just wake up and feel really unmotivated to do anything. It feels like a constant battle. In school, I want to be a good student but at the end of the day I don’t feel motivated and feel like it’s not worth it to try and obtain the goals I put on myself.

LZ: Can you explain what depression is in your own words?

A: Depression feels like some kind of huge weight on your shoulders that no one else can see. It makes you wonder why you even exist at all. I could be thinking of suicide at any moment but no one would know. It’s a constant battle you’re facing with yourself.

LZ: If you’re taking medication and/or going to counseling, how has it helped?

A: The medication definitely helps my mind feel less foggy. It doesn’t cure the feelings I have, but it helps things become more balanced so I can use the therapy for the phycological help. Therapy helps me vent and let my feelings out. We find new ways to cope or just laugh at random things. Knowing someone is there to listen, definitely puts a weight off my shoulder.

LZ: What helps ease those depressed thoughts you get?

A: Writing definitely helps a lot. Whether it just be writing short stories to distract myself or putting all my feelings down, it helps me stop to think about things and what I can do to help with the situation that I’m in.

LZ: What’s one thing you would want people to know about your illness?

A: It’s definitely a struggle to keep going. It’s not the person’s fault either. People with depression are normal, life is just a little harder than people who don’t experience those feelings.

 

Another mental health topic is anxiety. There are different types but we will be touching on specifically social anxiety. Social anxiety is the fear of socializing in front of people. They think that they will mess up or be judged. It makes daily life a struggle since communication is such a big part of how we live our daily lives.

I asked someone who faces this condition to answer a few questions anonymously:

Lane Ziegler: How has anxiety impacted your daily life?

A: Anxiety makes even the most “normal” things difficult. For example, having a conversation or answering a question when the teacher calls on you in school is a struggle. I can’t sleep at night. I overthink everything I did or said the day before, or a random thing that could happen the next day.

LZ: Describe anxiety in your own words.

A: A burden that I can’t get rid of. It’s something that makes things more difficult than they should be.

LZ: If you’ve taken medication and or counseling/therapy, how have they helped?

A: Medication changes the way I look at things. I could be really nervous about something, but after I take my pill, I’m not as nervous anymore. Therapy is helpful too.  They can help you balance your thoughts, and coping skills.

LZ: What’s something you want people to know about your illness?

A: It’s not just being scared. It affects your life whole and makes it hard to do normal things. It’s also not an excuse to get out of certain situations. But it is also helpful to take time to cool off and think things through.

 

Mental health is a very important subject that people should open a light to. People always get misconceptions about these illnesses. At its most basic, mental disorders make people’s ability to do normal things a little bit harder. It is important to touch on because some kids feel alone and resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Spreading the word can help people not feel that way, and also help people who don’t face these illness have a greater understanding of them.

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