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Living With a Mental Illness Like Depression

Updated on July 15, 2017

With the recent loss of top comic actor Robin Williams to suicide this article looks at ways to help sufferers of Depression and other Mental Illnesses.

Definition of Mental Illness

A person suffering from mental illness may seem normal from the outside at first and some times they may not even realize something is wrong themselves.

Mental illness's can manifest themselves in different ways and also affect the person and those around them in different ways to. Some people will suffer worse than others. But the main common factor in a lot of cases is the feeling of being useless or unwanted.

Is Depression a Mental Illness

No not in all cases. Most people will feel depressed at some point in their lives it does not mean that they are mentally ill, it just means you are normal. However if you suffer from frequent bouts then you should see your Doctor as it could be a sign that there is something wrong.

My Life Coping With Depression

I have suffered with forms of Depression since childhood but nothing was ever diagnosed until I was in my mid to late 20's.

I started out getting depressed when I was being bullied at school and my mam and dad did not understand what was going on. They knew about some of the bullying but did not realize what it was happening in my head. I struggled on through school with things getting worse and at home things started to go down hill to.

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When you first find out you have a Mental Illness it can be scary and at times make things worse. But it does not have to be that way.

A lot of people think that people with mental illness's cannot function as a useful member of society. This is not alway the case as there are many people who suffer from Mental Illness that hold down good jobs and live a normal life with a family.

I myself am one of those people. I have Bipolar Disorder and hold down a full time job and have a 5 year old daughter. She is the reason I am able to be normal. She is a great help and is starting to understand about this kind of thing.

A stable family life is a great help to sufferers. Being in a loving relationship with someone who understands you and your problems will always help you cope. However there are times when a sufferer will find it hard to be a normal parent and the slightest thing could cause them to flip out or drop into a depressive episode.

Pain-Depression Cycle

One of the biggest problems is the Pain - Depression cycle. This is where a sufferer of chronic pain feels depressed because they cannot do the things they want with their family or friends. This depression then leads to the pain getting worse. It can also lead to overdosing on and getting addicted to pain relief. This is a vicious cycle and can be hard to get out of.

It is also something that as you can see from the image above sufferers of Anxiety will suffer from at times. This is due to the symptoms often being pain.

But there are ways that you can cope and the information below will help sufferers of any mental illness to cope with what they have.

8 Hours of Relaxing Music

Treatment for Mental Illness

  • Medication

There are different forms of medication of each of the different illnesses.

One of the problems with mental illness is the stigma associated with some of the medication used to treat it. It is highly addictive and does not always work and when it does it can take a while to do so.

The thing is there are many other options to try if you do not wish to become dependent on Medication.

  • Meditation

I have always found Meditation and any form of relaxation to help me overcome my bouts of Depression. It also helps to calm me when I'm Manic.

  • Exercise

Exercise is always a great way to make you feel good. You may think that all it will do is tire you out but if you set yourself goals that you achieve you will feel great. Yoga is a great option as it is a great form of exercise that incorporates some relaxation as well.

  • Talking

Talking to people about your feelings will help you get through bouts of depression.

  • Writing down your feelings

This is a great way to help you if you suffer of Mental Illness, especially depression related.

  • Eating Healthily

Having a healthy diet is a must as eating food that is good for you will help to make you feel good inside and out.

You should try to avoid caffeine as this is known to destabilize your mood.

My Struggle Continued

My mam never worked out that there was something wrong and when I once confronted her as a teenager she just told me to pull myself together and stop being a big baby as there was nothing wrong with me.

I got to the point in my late teens/ early 20's of contemplating suicide but always managed to talk myself round. It was at this point I wrote my thoughts and feelings in a Diary which is what helped me.

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The Stigma of Mental Illness

With the Stigma that is Mental Illness people often find it hard to admit they have a problem or like in my case those around them don't believe there is a problem. However it does not have to be like this. There are a great many people who suffer from a form of mental illness who are ready and willing to help those who are in need of advice about there condition. It can be hard to talk to someone face to face but writing down your feelings will always get a weight off your chest and allow to to breathe. There are many great resources on the Internet that give help and advice.

Don't suffer alone, in silence. Speak up and be heard.

After a few up and down years and walking out of college I finally got a job and over the next few years after a few more false starts I started a job with a decent company and I've been there now for 11 years.

Although I've been with the company for a while I've had my ups and downs and moved around a bit. After things going wrong in my personal life I became addicted to Prescription meds and at times I would go to work high and even take them while working. I've even had an incident that nearly cost me my job. But thanks to a great supervisor who understands what I go through (She is a sufferer of depression herself) I kept my job.

My role withing the company has responsibility and although I do make mistakes (on one occasion during a flip from depression to manic mode I forgot to do something important) I am respected by my manager.

I am a believer in using Relaxation Techniques and writing down thoughts and feelings. I'm not a lover of medication due to my experiences with pain killer addiction.

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    • brutishspoon profile image
      Author

      Amy 3 years ago from Darlington, England

      Thank you for your comments denise. It must be hard for you having to cope with your own illness while caring for your children who suffer to. I have Mixed states Bipolar where you seem to be both depressed and elated at the same time. It can be Rapid Cycling as well.

      It is a chronic illness and does seem to run in families. I have a Cousin with Anxiety and another who has had a breakdown. There is also history of birth related Mental Disabilities which is why I try to look at life in a positive way and share my story to help others.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have suffered from mental illness for the past 25 years, specifically anxiety and depression. I was on medication until recently, when I was able to find employment that was not as stressful for me. I have several children that are on medication for mental illness. One daughter has bipolar, and the other has a number of issues, the worst of which is schizoaffective disorder. She is unable to be employed, and we have been able to get her on disability. She works around the house at home. You are right in that we have to manage our lives in such a way that we are able to function appropriately in the home and workplace. It is like a chronic illness. We must take care of ourselves, making sure that we eat right, exercise, get enough rest, and keep our stress level managed.