I Wonder

I often wonder what my life would have been like if I'd been diagnosed with mental illness when I was in college. If someone would've told me that what was going on inside my head wasn't a character flaw or simply just the way I was born, then helped me find the right meds and therapy, it would've saved me a boatload of pain, anxiety, and self-loathing.

Who knows, given that the very best meds have only recently been released, maybe I would've ended up on a regimen of electroshock therapy or with a good old fashioned lobotomy.

No one even seriously suggested I might have a problem, even though I was an emotional, manic depressive basketcase for years and years and years.

That's why I'm happy to find out that there's a web site out there devoted to a campaign that aims to "change the conversation about mental health on college campuses."

At ActiveMinds.org, organizers promote development of chapters of a student-run mental health awareness, education, and advocacy group on the nation's campuses. They do this to help increase awareness of mental health issues, provide info and resources, encourage students to seek help as soon as possible, and serve as a liaison between students and the mental health community.

The site itself is a valuable resource, including the latest news on trends and research, ways to connect with those who can help or empathize, and listings of relevant programs and events.

And, because it's always the right time for a reminder, the site offers 12 signs that a friend (or you, yourself) might need some help.

The first thing to know is that seeking help is a sign of strength. If you're worried or concerned, go with your gut, ask for help! This is never a wrong decision. Truly, seeing a professional can really help.

1. Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, depressed mood, poor self esteem or guilt
2. Withdrawal from friends, family and activities that used to be fun
3. Changes in eating or sleeping patterns; Are you sleeping all the time? Or having trouble falling asleep? Are you gaining weight or never hungry?
4. Anger, rage, or craving for revenge; Sometimes people notice they are overreacting to criticism
5. Feeling tired or exhausted all of the time
6. Trouble concentrating, thinking, remember or making decisions; Are you suddenly struggling in school? Sometimes academic performance suffers and grades drop
7. Restless, irritable, agitated or anxious movements or behaviors
8. Regular crying
9. Neglect of personal care; Have you stopped caring about your appearance or stopped keeping up with your personal hygiene?
10. Reckless or impulsive behaviors; Are you drinking or using drugs excessively? Are you behaving unsafely in other ways?
11. Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems or chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment
12. Thoughts about death or suicide

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

1 comment:

Tom Myler said...

Great blog post. And I agree. It is a sign of strength to acknowledge these things, be it in ourselves or others, and to take action. The days of people thinking of mental illnesses as different from other illnesses, in they shouldn't be discussed, should be over.