[Let's Talk] Mental Health - What has been your experience?

  1. Loubear
    Honeycomb Jul 18, 2018

    Loubear , Jul 18, 2018 :

    Serious topic incoming...

    Hey everyone,

    I wanted to focus my Let's Talk discussion on a subject that actually, isn't really discussed enough and that is mental health. It is considered still today to be such a taboo subject, with people feeling either embarrassed, anxious, stressed or afraid to open up about the fact that they have an issue, a problem or something else completely.

    This year has seen a great increase of awareness in mental health from celebrities, actors, singers, sports personalities etc all opening up about their own issues in a proud, positive way. This has helped others to seek the support and guidance they need, to battle their own demons or to seek help with what they are facing.

    What's the reason for such a serious Let's Talk?
    The whole 'stigma' around mental health, more so in men, is that it is not ok to open up, or it is embarrassing, or that you are a bad person etc. There are many reasons why people don't open out about their struggles and most of this is down to the fact that there is not enough awareness, or support publicly. As a result, I wanted to focus my Let's Talk around this to help others feel like they can open up, as well as illustrating that nobody is alone.

    To start us off, here's my story...
    For my entire life I found it difficult to open out to anyone, whether that is family, friend, co-worker etc and even more so, to my wife. Growing up as a single child was somewhat challenging, as my parents were separated and I was never really asked 'How was I feeling?' on a daily basis, so I decided to keep my feelings inside and deal with things that way.

    This came with it's own struggles, such as overeating, feeling sad, not really having strong relationships with people, lying to people to get out of situations, getting myself into some financial difficulties etc. To be quite frank, growing up I was a sad child and this continued right through into my early 20's.

    As an adult, this caused a lot of strain on my relationships with friends, family, partners and more recently, not opening out to my wife was causing immense strain on our relationship, to the point where she didn't actually know who I was anymore as I was being cold, quiet or would just shut myself away in certain situations.

    About 3 years ago, thanks to the support from my wife, I started seeing a psychologist to understand how I could open out to people and share how I really felt, instead of retracting and putting up my 'wall'. It was incredibly scary at first, but admitting to myself that I had a problem helped me to overcome the fear, turning into something I wanted to overcome.

    I am now 27 and whilst it took a lot of time and commitment, I am now in a much better, healthier place where I can talk about how I am feeling, without the worry, anxiety or stress. It actually feels really good to speak to people about how I am feeling sometimes, to get their advice and opinion. I am increasingly trying to get some of my male friends to speak more about their feelings, as I know through my own experience how hard it can be.

    That was my story and now I would love to hear yours...

    I appreciate the sensitivity of this discussion, so I am not expecting any of you to start describing any deep, personal issues unless you feel comfortable enough to do so. I think it would be good for us all to share our own experiences no matter how big or small. It can be based on your own individual issues, or how you have supported others in their own struggles.

  2. Ruby G.
    NA Community Manager Jul 24, 2018

    Ruby G. , Jul 24, 2018 :
    I normally don't participate in let's talk threads since I'm kind of the contest host haha, but this one hits close to home, so I'd like to share a bit. My SO in a past relationship struggled with depression stemming from financial loss and I have had several close friends in my life who have dealt with depression for years at a clinical level.

    My experience as a "caretaker" of sorts is that there are good times and then there are really bad times that test your loyalty as a human being. In these bad times, you may be on the receiving end of lashing out or long talk sessions or emotional withdrawals. My coping method for these times has been largely Googling articles to read and trying to understand why/how to respond better and better each time. The most important things I've learned through my reading and experiences:
    • Nothing can replace the help and stability of a mental health professional.
    • Everyone exhibits symptoms of depression differently, some people need to talk and talk until they feel safe again while others need time away from social situations for their recovery. Don't take either personally.
    • Don't feel guilty when you need to withdraw for self-care, everyone has their own emotional needs that they need to keep filled for survival. One of my biggest regrets was not speaking up when I was feeling drained or needed rest, and trying to endure in the name of loyalty. In the end, if both sides can communicate their boundaries/needs in a calm and loving manner, that is the most ideal.
    After all these experiences, I think at the very least I've been challenged to be more sympathetic when people are acting out online and behaving badly toward each other. Somewhere along the line, perhaps the agressor accumulated hurts or bitterness due to abuse or neglect, you never know people's story and what they are dealing with on their side of the screen.

  3. Dresa91
    User of the Year 2016 Jul 24, 2018

    Dresa91 , Jul 24, 2018 :
    thanks for your reply:)

    Great and interesting topic, @Louioo:)
    Mental health.
    Well, I don't know. I somehow manage to keep a cool head in special situations, stress, family, etc. and to think and act rationally.
    For example, if there are pressure situations at university, then my excitement only really increases 30 minutes before the exam starts. I don't care in the preparation.
    It's a little different in a family environment. I experienced this at the death of distant relatives, but also close relatives (parents of my mother). The "positive" part of this was that I could perhaps deal with their deaths over a longer period of time because they have cancer. This process of how a person changes under cancer has helped me to deal with it better. Man as we have known him no longer exists in this form.
    Even if that sounds strange now, the death of my female dog - she was my one and only choice, she chose me as a puppy - hit me more because suddenly it was. She collapsed one morning, my mother took her to the vet. I could not say goodbye directly to her anymore - this is a direct difference to the deaths I have just described, Another factor was that I had just moved out for 1 month, said goodbye to my mother with the words "please take care of my mother" - that she cares so, as a guardian angel, I did not know that.
    But many things are also intercepted by my fiancée. I can talk to her anytime, anywhere. She knows me and knows everything about me. That helps. It's a treasure to have such a soul mirror and soul mate who understands you.

  4. Nezumi_
    KitKat Jul 24, 2018

    Nezumi_ , Jul 24, 2018 :
    wow.. this is a fitting thread for me.
    thank you @Ruby G.

  5. johneebee
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jul 24, 2018

    johneebee , Jul 24, 2018 :
    I just want to tell you how much I respect I (and I bet many others here) have for you for the fact that you dared to come out with such a serious topic that really hits close to home for many. I feel like mental health is a subject that for to many is still something that they feel like it's not ok to talk about and it would be so much better for people if it would be!

    I myself also had something happen .. I don't really want to go into it here, but the result was that I got isolated and felt depressed for over 2 years and I still feel like I just lost those years of my life. I was lying to my friends, putting a fake smile, telling them everything was ok and that I was happy, until my best friend broke my barriers and I just opened up... I'm so thankful to her because it's only thanks to that fact that I finally could talk about my problems and accepted them, that I finally got to start the process to heal and feel better( but it still took some time).
    So what I'm trying to say is even though some one might feel like talking about your issues is not ok and that it will make you look weak or whatever..We are human and sometimes we really need it. Please look for help if you think you might need it, there are many options out there, and I really recommend going to a professional since they really know what they're doing and can help give you copying strategies and a proper way to heal and get better.
    Just like you're not ashamed to look for help when you have some kind of physical disease, you shouldn't be ashamed to ask for help to take care of your mental health!

  6. cdnfarmer
    Photography Expert Community Expert Jul 24, 2018

    cdnfarmer , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Thanks @Louioo for an interesting but difficult topic to discuss. Mental health is something that we all took for granted or was told to “just suck it up and move on.” It is good to see there are movements with companies, celebrities, respected people like @Ruby G., and everyday people talking about their experiences to break down barriers. It's a topic that probably most people have had or encountered someone with mental health issues. However, it is not something people will often talk about. Therefore, here, I will try...

    Many things such as stress, illness and not knowing how to cope, changes in health, bullying, lack of confidence, chemical imbalances, and crimes are known to cause mental health issues. After talking with many people over the years, there is a wealth of information and experiences that can help people... We just need to get it out there.

    Personally, there are several people close to me that have had or still have mental health effects resulting from anxiety, lack of belonging, and being innocent victims of crimes. They all react differently. There are lingering 'things' that can flair up based on a situation they encounter. Regardless of the source, there are several things that I’ve learned:

    1. Each person needs their tailored approach. They need to be ready to accept help too.
    2. Be empathetic and care for the person. Understand and respect who they are and what kind of help they need. It might not be easy but time will tell. Don’t take anything personally.
      • For the verbal people: Listen. Let them talk. Try not to interrupt. When it is appropriate, ask questions to help them through their thinking process.
      • For the silent type: sometimes just being there if they need company or leave them alone.
    3. Offer a “sanctuary”... a safe place to be who they are without judgment. whether it is a place in the home, sitting around a campfire, being with animals or being in nature - something that touches their souls.
    4. If they ask for something... hear what they said and respond to it. It might not have been easy for them to put it into words but they did.
    5. Know of some good resources and help them find ways to help themselves.
    6. Try not to be judgmental. We are not in their shoes.
    7. Talk with others and share your feelings and experiences. It’s amazing what can come up. Some people may look like they have everything together and be a role model but they too may have their mental health battles.
      • I thought about this couple as amazing people (and still do) but for the longest time, I didn’t know one of them had their mental health struggles. This person has then used her experience to highlight situations happening in others’ lives and being there for those people. She understood. No questions asked.

    In the last couple of years, I have been recovering from a concussion that limited my physical [and somewhat my mental] capacities. Yes, I keep saying “luckily I have documented proof that I was smart” (with the degrees). Lol. It has been a rough road. Lots of pain, suffering, and inability to do basic daily activities. It was hard to find a way. Sometimes, I wanted to give up. With the love of my kids, family, and friends, they helped me work through the dark times. Throughout the ordeal, I was fortunate to have some really good people who helped enormously with their generosity, patience, and understanding. Some people became very close friends. With help, I have returned to almost normal [some limitations]. There are lingering emotional things that seem to pop up. However, being honest and talking with some people have shown that there are lots of people who have similar experiences.

    Despite the bad parts, I feel blessed to have had this experience because of what I’ve learned, the true friendships that formed, and a better appreciation for life. Throughout this experience, I found that help can come in many ways. You may be surprise how you can help someone with a simple gesture.

    Life is made up of experiences and living them. Mental health is part of the equations. It is vital to the overall well being. Many people have encounters some challenges with maintaining a healthy mental status. It can be your siblings, spouse, family member, friend, stranger, or even may be you. Remember, help comes in many ways. You can positively change someone’s life with a simple “Hi, how are you?” Being empathetic goes a long way. Care and respect the person for who they are. Understand that everyone has their struggles... be kind. There is a wealth of information and experiences out there. It is amazing what a person can learn while observing and having frank open discussions with people. Let’s talk.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018

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  7. Loubear
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    Loubear , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Ruby thanks for sharing your story and I like the bullet points you included, they are all very true, especially the 'regrest of not speaking up'. It is so hard to speak up on most cases but my experience is in doing so, you can relieve a lot of pressure on yourself as well as understanding that you aren't alone. Great post and I wish all you (and other loved ones) all the best with their journey :)

  8. Loubear
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    Loubear , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Thanks for your interest and sharing your story. Sorry to hear about the death in your family, it's never nice and is something I had a similar experience to you (my Grandma had a long term health issue). Also the dog thing hit me, whilst I haven't experienced what you have in this situation, I am a dog owner and I know that when her time comes, I will be devastated. Really great for you that you can lean on your fiancee and I wish this is something that I did a long time ago, because I find that once you know you have someone to talk to, who understands you, it becomes easier. :)

  9. Loubear
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    Loubear , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Firstly, thank you for your interest and respect. For me now, it is something that I feel needs to come out more often as a 'casual' discussion, like how we talk about life, family, sex, marriage etc. Whilst is is a sensitive subject, it needs to become more of an open and 'normal' subject for many people. Secondly, appreciate you sharing with us your story and I am sorry you had to go through what you went through. Completely agreed with your points about seeing a professional, I think for many it is hard to know what point to do this and more importantly, accepting that they need to as many (myself included) feel ashamed, scared, embarrassed or frightened etc. I am glad you managed to go through a process and found someone to lean on :)

  10. Loubear
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    Loubear , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Thank you for your interest and really sharing a detailed story. Firstly, I agree with your initial comments about 'sucking it up' etc. I remember growing up I was always told to 'man up' or 'grow up' in certain situations. Even today, I still hear the term 'man up' being used towards males but really, people have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. I think your points really sum up a lot about mental health and different approaches, to different people. Secondly, I am pleased to hear that you are recovering and have the support you need. It's interesting that you say you feel 'bless to have had this experience', as I somewhat agree with you, for pretty much the same reasons you suggested. It is hard and difficult, but you certainly gain A LOT from it. Wishing you all the best :)

  11. F_張東尼_DtSX
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

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  12. Dresa91
    User of the Year 2016 Jul 24, 2018

    Dresa91 , Jul 24, 2018 :
    I hope so too:)
    I love her so much:)

    well and enjoy every single minute with your dog:)
    having a dog is a gift:)

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  13. sabir.sayed
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    sabir.sayed , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Here is my story, which i actually like to share.

    As it's a one time life experience for me at least.
    Well to be frank i can relate to some of your points as well.

    For me 2016 was the worst year and at the same time I am happy that I got to learn so many things in that year. As i was about to get married to a person I loved after been into a relationship with her for more then 4 years i guess.

    But it's good all the truth came in front of me before wedding. I tried so hard to give a 2nd chance to the relation but it didn't worked. As the trust was broken and the person actions was not showing what actually her words use to be. Finally after thinking a lot about it I made up my mind and decided to end this. I was not ready to leave that relation but I manage some how to to convince myself that it's not going to work.

    That whole year when i was with her and when i left her was depressing and was mentally feeling a loser and even use to think now i won't be able to be happy with out her.

    But later on after few months I started realizing that I am going in a wrong direction and I should not feel lost or a loser because I know I was not wrong here and no need to regret for something which is right for u.

    Alhumdulillah now when I look back I feel how stupid I was and have wasted so much time, should have done it even earlier rather then covering things for a wrong person.

    Well this is my experience may be it's a boring story for some people out here but this is what i wanted to share.

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  14. Loubear
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    Loubear , Jul 24, 2018 :
    No story is boring, everyone has a different story and we are all on different journey's in our life, some happy and some sad. I'm sorry that you went through a hard decision in your life but I hope you are in a much better place now. Leaving someone is hard, I am sure many can relate to your story but like you say, once you get over the initial impact and realise why you did it, then you find your place again. I've learnt that life throws a number of hurdles at you, you just need to deal with each one in the best way for you. Thanks for sharing :)

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  15. sabir.sayed
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    sabir.sayed , Jul 24, 2018 :
    It's really nice to see these kind of gestures from people around the world.

    Thanks Buddy [e]1f60a[/e]

  16. keithnyc
    Marshmallow Moderator Jul 24, 2018

    keithnyc , Jul 24, 2018 :
    While overall I have had a blessed and wonderful life, I like others have also faced challenging times; times which left me feeling lonely, scared and full of self-doubt. Without getting into too many details, I can say that over the many years I've lived, I've learned that two things got me through these rough times:

    1. Good friends who listened and cared; friends I could lean on and would give me their unquestioned support, and

    2. Like @Ruby G. , my experience as a caretaker to my sick friends and much later in life, my ailing and frail mom. It helped me realize that there were other people going through rougher times that needed my friendship and my support. Only then I realized that when helping others, I would soon forget about my own, sometimes petty hardships and personal problems, and would instead focus my energies and thoughts on others who needed my help. Little did I realize that I was getting back so much more than I was giving.

    This is one of the reasons I decided to devote much of my early retirement time to philanthropy and helping others. It's really not what I'm giving, it's the happiness and inner peace I get when I realize I helped someone out and made a change in their life, even if only for a day.

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  17. Nikhil Seenivas
    Honeycomb Jul 24, 2018

    Nikhil Seenivas , Jul 24, 2018 :
    I'm in India where where the concept of " mental health" is not that prevalent and is only now slowly catching up.

    2 years ago, I was seriously depressed and almost suicidal and when i asked my parents to take me to a psychiatrist my mom's response was: grow up. i will pray to god and you will be fine. i can bet you that when she said that steam escaped my ears, but me being the typical me, silently walked away because if i say something it's titled "talking back" and im gonna get reprimanded by my dad for straight 3 hours and i didn't want that.

    This was during my 12 grade and my board exams where like 3 months away.Me and my parents aren't close and i was constantly bullied all through school from grade 4 till 8 where i changed schools, but the emotional damage had been done. In early 9th grade i almost showed no emotion and 6 years later, I'm still socially awkward and have very little friends and every time i asked my parents for help, they would take it up with the school, but no action would be taken and the bullying would become worse so i stopped reacting.

    Im sorry because this seems all over the place and not in an orderly fashion but feels good to have got it out.

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  18. toastytoast1234
    Marshmallow Jul 24, 2018

    toastytoast1234 , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Stress is just an excuse invented by weak willed, lily-livered slack-jawed f*****s fellows to make up for the deficiencies in their lives...

    ...is the line I used to trot out when I was 18, full of beans and ready to take on the world. Then I grew up. A little bit, but still every little helps.

    I still don't talk about my feelings, because I'm Scottish, but at least I'm aware that they actually exist now, and that they have a huge impact on how I conduct myself in the world, and how the world impacts me right back in the nutsack.

    Don't be a dick to others, mostly. Except when they deserve it and even then try to tone it down a bit, you never know what they're going through.

    I'm a work in progress.

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  19. Nick46
    Gingerbread Jul 24, 2018

    Nick46 , Jul 24, 2018 :
    Depression is the keyword for the past 8 years. With two major fases lasting both more than a year.

    I'm a men (25) who his life started like most of the kids, happy not to much to have to deal with. With other words, I did not have any shortages in life to start with.

    In high school is were things started to go the wrong way. Not that I've ever wanted it. I chose a technical school because my father drilled it in me that I had to work at 18. So me not knowing any better chose for a technical school. Which is the second lowest form of education were I live.
    In my third year it went bad, they started bullying me because I was skinny. It was more psychological bullying. Teachers did not notice it. So I kept quiet about it to everyone. My points were great because I made that mistake choosing technical school and it was to easy for me. On my fifth year I met my first love. She opend up my life, because it gave me a break from the bullying. But I developed a panic attack first time I went eating with here. My body literally shuts down. (at that time I did not knew it was a panic attack). With the years passing on it went from bad to worse. At a moment in live it was so bad that I got in in my own house when eating. Normally only when going out with my girlfriend. So I started getting depressed (not knowing that at that moment). I loved my ex to death, yet I could not fully be the guy I wanted to be because of the panic attacks.

    August 2013 my ex cheated on me. I found out, confronted here, and it was all my fault and she ended the relation after 3,5 year. I crashed and went in my first emotional crisis. I attempted 2 times to commit suicide. Both failed because I was saved by other people. The depression came through and is stuck by me till this day. I got in to the hospital for attempting suicide. Were I met a lot of people and nurses. At a point I decided to change my life. I was sick of my school, didn't want to do energy technology (final year college) any more. (my ex also went to the same college). I quited college because I was confronted with the question "what do you want to live for?" my answer was to help people, because knowing that I was bullied, I was always there to help them when needed. Not so they wouldn't bully me less. No, because I always wanted to help everyone were I could.

    This is why I chose to be a nurse. I went to another college for nursing. Started my year still with many bad depressed days. I got through. Went to my second year, I got through. Then at some moment in time, I got new medication. The side effects triggerd a 'tumor' inside my brain. I got epileptic episodes. Went under a MRI and they confirmed a rare condition "cavernome" inside my brain. Got new meds, depression kicked in again. Met a new girlfriend, it did not work out, I got my panic attacks back and so on. Went into my second crisis.
    Lasted 1 year. I took a break from school, 2016-2017. I went back previous year and knew a lot more about myself because of the new hospitalization for my second crisis.
    I learnt meditation (mindfulness) and much more. This one was in a psychiatric hospital. But it all ended very bad. I met someone the 'same' like me. It was the first time it was a perfect match for me. I went for it, so did she. Eventually they (the shrink) worked my out the hospital because of the relation. And putted the wrong diagnosis on my, I was a narcissist. Know that I went there for depression and panic attacks. But eventually my new shrink things otherwise.

    But for the more positive end. I went back to school, mad my year lighter so I could handle it. I succeeded all my examinations. I have only one year to go and I will be a bachelor in nursing. There are so much more details that happend, but it would take ages to write it all down. I covered the major events. At the moment I have a new girlfriend after 2 years being single. And it is working out great. I met here in my new nursing school. Next month I start to work in a palliative hospital as a vacation worker.

    Things that are helping me to stay pretty good emotional:
    - the right medication
    - mindfulness
    - music and playing guitar
    - making art
    - helping people
    - my girlfriend
    -... And so on

    No matter how bad your life gets, there is always a right way out, maybe you can't see it at that moment, but it is there! Believe it is there and you will find it. - Nick S.

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  20. Moin2200
    KitKat Jul 24, 2018

    Moin2200 , Jul 24, 2018 :
    I don't have a valid response for such a discussion or maybe i'm just not ready to face the demons.

    But i still wanted to thank you for sharing and starting such a discussion as its important to remember that there are rainy days as well as sunny ones.

    We need more threads like these.

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